A year ago at this time, I was really unsure of what the next step for Runnin’ Not Walken would end up being. I had made the devastating decision to walk away from Kate’s Kart, the board there, and all that the team and I had built that had revolved around them. I felt then that it was the right decision to make and still do. There were things as they were growing that just didn’t line up any longer with what we were doing. I felt like the runway there was pretty lengthy but it all came to a head so suddenly that in many ways, it was heart breaking to step away from something that the team and I cared about so much.
It was also really scary. Change can be that way. It also presented a great opportunity to regroup. Kate’s Kart is an amazing story and I’d suggest anyone take a look at them because their mission and impact with the community is great. Part of that hesitation on my part was because I was concerned that because they benefit children in the hospital, something people can really get behind, was the success we had a direct result of them or did we really have something?
Enter Andrew Hoffman and NeighborLink Fort Wayne. I’ve told the story before but I met with 3 different people prior to making my decision on who the running team would work to benefit next. One had reached out to meet me to learn more about the team and I and I felt it was a good networking opportunity to learn more about a group he represented. Another was an Executive Director of another great local charity. Both asked about who else I was looking at. I mentioned NeighborLink and they gushed about how great of a person that Andrew is and what they’re doing there. You could tell they felt we were better off going with NeighborLink and then I met Andrew and felt the same.
Andrew has been nothing but supportive of our group. We tried to hook up in the spring to do a video but timing of things just didn’t work out. Everything that he promised to do, he did. He provided opportunities for us to leverage their social media presence like during the race when we took over their Instagram Stories. It really helped aid us in doing what we had always been successful doing, but more and the results where there as we had our best year ever, continuing the growth pattern that was evolving for our team.
The team and I also attended a Night Moves race and were blown away by the NeighborLink community. Everyone was so genuine and nice. It was truly a testament to the culture, not just of the organization, but of everyone that supported them, that they have fostered. At their soul, they are an outward looking group of loving, generous, and caring people who seek those who need a hand. “Work Hard. Do Good. Love Wins.” It is a simple yet deeply meaningful approach.
So as I look at 2020, it is with an outward looking approach. NeighborLink Fort Wayne will ALWAYS be a charity that we look to benefit annually. I just have too much belief in what they do that there’s no way I can turn my back on them but my hope is to ultimately do more for more charities both locally and beyond.
There’s just so many that are amazing that when this feeling of needing to dare greatly to do “more” it’s difficult to discern who we should help and how many besides NeighborLink should be included but here’s a list of groups, and their missions, that are great places to start. If you have any you believe we should add to the list, leave them in the comments below!
Erin’s House for Grieving Children – to provide support for children, teens, and their families who have suffered the death of a loved one.
Community Harvest Foodbank – Founded in 1983, now serving 9 counties, with the mission to alleviate hunger through the full use of donated food and other resources.
Healthier Moms and Babies – to reduce infant mortality and improve the outcome of pregnancy in Allen County by offering health education and case management services to low-income, high-risk pregnant women and their families.
Ray of Hope Medical Missions – Founded in 2012, with a mission of securing medical services in the US for international children in need of medical intervention.
Passages – Based in Columbia City, IN, Passages has been dedicated to helping people with intellectual disabilities or other challenges thrive in the community at work, at home, and at play since 1954.
Mad Anthony’s Children’s Hope House – Their mission is to offer temporary, minimal-cost lodging to parents and families of children receiving medical care away from home.
Cass Housing -The mission of CASS Housing is to create and maintain Customizable, Affordable, Sustainable, and Safe living arrangements for individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities that promote independent living skills.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fort Wayne –Founded in 1972, the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana is to create and support one to one mentoring relationships that ignte the power and promise of youth.
Brave Like Gabe -Support rare cancer research and empower all cancer survivors through physical activity.
Team Red, White, and Blue – Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – LLS’s mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital – The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.
Run Freely -Run Freely was founded with the mission to provide financial support for veterans with limb salvage conditions and in need of a solution to avoid amputation.
So as we dare greatly and look outwardly towards where we can help, inspiration is not something the team is short on. While this isn’t announcing anything concrete, I hope it provides a bit of insight into the thought process that the changes aren’t just being made to take more control of the team.
These things are happening so that going forward, we can be as flexible as possible so that we can ultimately make a greater impact than what we’ve already done. There’s a lot of work to do but this is truly exciting. Thanks for coming along for the ride.