Raising money for charity can be hard work. Many of our members have participated in numerous charity runs and walks, and while it’s a rewarding experience, it’s not without its challenges.
Imagine taking all of the barriers to entry of a charity event – distance, time, fundraising minimums, travel, fixed beneficiaries – and throwing them out the window. In 2012, a small group of friends did just that by holding the first annual “Track Friday” on the day after Thanksgiving in Middletown, NJ.
The idea started when co-founder Eric Rubinson offered to run a marathon on the local High School Track – that’s over 105 laps – on Black Friday, if participants could raise $5,000 for local charities supporting relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy, which had severely impacted their hometown. But as more friends and family wanted to take part, both in Middletown and beyond, the event transformed into a movement to support any charity, raise any amount, and run or walk any distance, anywhere.
In four years, the movement has spread across the country and helped generate over $110,000 for over 80 charities. Rather than setting up another fund or collecting and redistributing donations, the Track Friday team uses existing charitable services like Charity Miles. It also encourages participants to make personal donations directly to their selected charities either on the non-profits website or by way of a team page run by a donor-advised fund.
This year, Track Friday co-founder Eric Rubinson is running 100 miles a month, each month for a different Charity Miles charity partner, to promote the movement and encourage more people to get moving for a cause they care about while turning the day after Thanksgiving into a day of giving and not just a day of getting.
“The Charity Miles app compliments the Track Friday mission perfectly,” says Eric. “I can turn it on to go for a long run or just a walk around the block, and every step helps a cause I care about. The app also allows our followers to extend their efforts past the annual one-day event and make a little difference every day.
”Black Friday is the perfect day for a charity running and walking event. Friends and family are home for the holidays, and folks are full of carbs from their Thanksgiving meal. Plus, what better day to gather to give back to charities than a day that has become synonymous with commercialism and big-box sales?” -Rubinson
You can join Eric and his movement on his Charity Miles team TrackFriday. And keep an eye out for a Track Friday Challenge starting early September!
Head over to www.trackfriday.org or Facebook (facebook.com/trackfriday) for updates, to find meet-up locations, and to connect with other participants.