Greetings Grace Race friends,
Thanks to your support and participation, we raised $2250 in 2014 (net, after race expenses) through the 11th Annual Grace Race, held on October 4th. That money will be used by the leaders at the One27 Academy in Naivasha, Kenya to purchase laboratory equipment for the secondary school science program taught there. It is not a big amount of money by American standards, but goes a lot farther in Kenya than you might imagine. Added to the amount we have raised over the previous 10 years, that brings the total over our 11-year history to over $242,000. Not bad for a dinky little race in Chelmsford! Some or all of the money collected through the 2014 Advent Calendar fund-raiser held at Grace Community Church (the host of the Grace Race) will be combined with our Grace Race dollars for a total of close to $4000 to send to Kenya next week. The kids at the Academy will now be equipped to learn chemistry and physics because of your enthusiasm and participation.
Which brings me to the second piece of news to share … Because some faithful Grace Race runners have already started to ask about the 12th Annual, we need to get the word out now that it’s not happening - there will not be a race in 2015. Yes, it’s true – I’m not changing my mind this time! This was a bit of an agonizing decision because this annual shindig has become a labor of love, especially for Kenny Mitchell (Course Directory, Volunteer Coordinator, and Treasurer) and me. We share a love for running and have been working closely with each other on this event since that first race in the snow in 2004. We’ve learned all about race directing and all of its joys and headaches. We will miss it, big time. But we had to take a hard look at our numbers – the number of runners and walkers (which has dwindled recently due to competition from other races in the area), the number of dollars raised after paying the various fees to put on the race, and the number of hours our team was investing in planning and fund-raising.
The reality is that putting on a high-quality road race, even a little one that draws just 100-200 people, is a huge undertaking. Using a road race as the primary fund-raising vehicle for a distant cause adds yet another dimension of complexity in marketing and promotion. We developed into a well-tuned machine over the years and thank all of the many many volunteers who came out with smiles to help year after year. We also appreciated the help that OnYourMarxRacing provided to offload much of the race logistics. The Grace Race Fund board members met last November to talk about these issues and decided that we need to take a breather and explore simpler ways to fund-raise to help the kids in Kenya. We are all volunteers with busy families, jobs, and other volunteer commitments. We are, however, committed to those kids in Kenya, and believe there are other creative ways to raise several thousand dollars a year for them that do not involve as much work. We’ll be discussing some ideas in the months ahead. For you runners … one idea we have tossed around is to form a Grace Race racing team whose members would gather pledge money from a set of family and friends, run local races together, and collect the money to send to the One27 Academy in Naivasha. Who’s in?! Let me or Kenny know – firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
If you have ideas about fund-raising, we’d be happy to hear them. For those who want to continue financial support for our mission, you can always donate online through Paypal (use the DONATE button in the upper right corner of our web site – click on it), or write a check to The Grace Race Fund Inc., 275 Billerica Rd., Chelmsford MA 01824.
Thank you very much (“Asante sana” in Swahili) once again to all of you who have helped to make this event possible, and more importantly helped to improve the lives of Kenyan orphans, “One Step at a Time!” This is certainly a unique and wonderful community that has formed over the last 11 years, and we hope the Grace Race experience has been fun and has enriched each of your lives in some small way. Best wishes to you!