From left to right: GOTR International CEO Liz Kunz, Erin Skolte, Colleen Kelly Howard, our friend from GOTR Los Angeles, Alisha Rege, and Heather Plastaras.
In July of 2022, Girls on the Run Philadelphia and Los Angeles were honored as a finalist for a Pacesetter Award from Girls on the Run (GOTR) International. GOTR International is the parent organization of 170 individual councils located in all 50 states and Canada. The Pacesetter Awards highlight the enterprising and innovative initiatives councils have developed to help serve their communities and power the mission and vision of Girls on the Run.
The initiative was the "Coast to Coast Challenge", a virtual fitness and fundraising challenge that spanned the month of February 2021 and enabled some friendly competition between these two GOTR councils. The premise was that whichever team recruited the most team members, logged the most miles, and raised the most funds for their council would win. Not only did Team Philadelphia win the challenge in 2021, we returned in 2022 for a second victory!
So why was this an award-nominated initiative? The Coast to Coast Relay raised unrestricted funds, and the expansion of this contributed revenue stream is critical to achieving our development goals. With over 68% of our program participants receiving scholarship support each season, unrestricted funds provide critical support to the infrastructure which enables the program to grow, while meeting the financial needs of the community we serve. The nearly $11K in unrestricted funds helped our council recover from the loss of income related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 challenge took place prior to our third pandemic-impacted season, enabling us to raise and use funds to supplement our income during the smaller than usual spring season. It also gave us a new group of potential repeat donors/participants to engage with in future initiatives.
We are grateful to GOTR Los Angeles for their participation in this friendly competition, and to our Team Philadelphia supporters – Balance Chestnut Hill and Team Whetzel (Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty). We were honored to receive our finalist award from GOTR International CEO Liz Kunz in July 2022 at the GOTR council Summit in Minneapolis.