This spring, RunningWorks reached a major milestone. We celebrated our sixth anniversary.
RunningWorks was founded in April of 2012 with 12 members. Flash-forward to 2018, that one program has now grown to five programs serving approximately 150 individual participants of all ages each week and over 450 annually.
As we look back over the past year, here are 12 milestones worth celebrating.
1. We opened the New RWHQ After five years at the Urban Ministry Center of Charlotte – The RunningWorks Team spread its wings and flew the coop to a new team headquarters, located at 901-E North Tryon Street. At the new RunningWorks HQ, our neighbors have access to the RW computer lab donated by our friends at Polypore, 50 individual storage cubbies, a shoe and clothing closet, a washer and dryer and ample meeting space for classes, group therapy and life skill sessions.
2. We made progress ‘On The Road to Housing’ – Last year, we launched our 30 for 30 On The Road to Housing community campaign and met our goal to raise $30,000 to provide a year of transportation to 30 individuals experiencing or transitioning out of homelessness.
Since launching our new point system for participants to earn monthly CATS bus passes through program participation, goal completion and volunteering, we have seen a significant increase in the number of neighbors securing employment and housing – including those who have been chronically homeless. In addition, we are now partnering with Social Serve and Housing CLT to connect those who are experiencing homelessness with affordable housing and access to social service agencies and other community resources.
3. We were featured in the 100 Word Film Festival – Our friends at Wells Fargo have supported our efforts in the community since the inception of RunningWorks. This past year, Wells Fargo chose RunningWorks as the nonprofit beneficiary for the 100 Words Film Festival. If you haven’t already, visit our YouTube Channel (link on our website) to see and hear Lamar tell his story as only he can in exactly 100 words. You’ll see, he is a shining example of how running works!
4. We ran for 12 Hours – Our team ran a collective 400+ miles to raise awareness of issues faced by individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the Carolinas as part of the second annual 12-Hour Run to End Homelessness in Uptown Charlotte. Please join us on National Race Day, June 6, 2018 for this year’s run.
5. We ran Four Wards –Two years ago, we launched a new initiative, #CLTRuns4Wards. Our team members, many who are experiencing homelessness take to the streets and deliver care packages to other homeless men, women and children. Each year, over 200 bags are delivered.
6. We helped Challenge the Stigma – We got a special visit when 10 high-level executives from Google Worldwide stopped by RWHQ as part of their own Leaders Quest. It’s just one of many companies we’ve had an opportunity to work with over the past year as part of our efforts to educate the public and create awareness about issues of poverty and homelessness in the Carolinas.
7. We were chosen for SEED20 – We are honored that Social Venture Partners named RunningWorks to the Social Entrepreneur Leadership Seed20 Class of 2018. That means they think we are among the best of the best nonprofit programs in the area for social innovation.
8. We helped launch a food program for teens and young adults – We partnered with Saint Mark’s Lutheran Church and The Relatives On Ramp Resource Center to deliver hot meals every Thursday to teens and young adults ages 16 to 24 who are experiencing homelessness or extreme poverty and food insecurity.
9. We took a road trip to the Great Smokey Mountains – We crossed a few more finish lines the past year. Last September, we added the Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon to the mix.
10. Our RunningWorks youth clubs reached record numbers – The RunningWorks Clubs at Charlotte Country and Providence Day Schools (founded by Meredith Dolhare’s sons, Watson and Noah) now boast nearly 200 members in total.
11. We were named MVP for SHARE Charlotte Giving Tuesday CLT Campaign – RunningWorks participated in the SHARE Charlotte Giving Tuesday CLT Campaign for the first time last year. We were named the MVP of the entire campaign, which featured 400+ nonprofits from the Charlotte area.
12. Our friends at Polypore Technology were nominated for a Blue Diamond Award for Community Impact in Technology – Words cannot express our gratitude for the dedication shown by our friends at Polypore. We were connected to Polypore through Apparo.org. They agreed to help us upgrade our technology, but the relationship has blossomed to so much more. We now consider them part of our RW family!