Human Race brings runners together to support local causes

  • As many as 1,800 runners and walkers are expected to take part Saturday, April 30, in the DuPage Human Race, each hitting the pavement to benefit the nonprofit of their choice at work in DuPage County.

      As many as 1,800 runners and walkers are expected to take part Saturday, April 30, in the DuPage Human Race, each hitting the pavement to benefit the nonprofit of their choice at work in DuPage County. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/25/2016 10:33 AM

Saturday could be all about the numbers.

An expected 1,800 runners and walkers will set out in the fifth running of the DuPage Human Race on April 30, raising thousands of dollars for 72 nonprofit organizations working to make life better in DuPage County. Volunteer clearinghouse Giving DuPage, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, organizes the race to bring money and attention to nonprofits without their own races.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Since starting in 2012, the DuPage Human Race has raised $255,545 and attracted 5,277 participants supporting 75 organizations.

But Saturday is about something that can't be captured in numbers, says Shefali Trivedi, Giving DuPage executive director.

"Can you imagine how remarkable it feels to come on race day and see all the charity organizations that participate and run into other like-minded, caring friends, each there to run or walk for their favorite cause?" she said. "It's a real shot in the arm and makes you feel good about everyone coming together on a Saturday morning."

Today and tomorrow on the pages of Neighbor, we'll introduce you to some of the people running and walking in the DuPage Human Race and the causes they're passionate about. And here, Trivedi tells us more about Giving DuPage and the race that brings organizations and people together.

Q. How and why did Giving DuPage start the DuPage Human Race? Specifically, why did you choose a fundraiser that helps multiple groups?

A. The Human Race 5K idea was started by volunteer centers similar to Giving DuPage more than 20 years ago. They realized organizations struggled with hosting their own race events without adequate staff and necessary resources. The Human Race was the answer, a way for multiple charitable organizations to have a 5K race under one umbrella.

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The McHenry County Volunteer Center was able to host a Human Race event successfully, so we decided to try it. I think they had gotten the idea from the Appleton (Wisconsin) Volunteer Center.

Q. How does the race fit with the mission of Giving DuPage?

A. The Giving DuPage mission is to promote giving and volunteering in DuPage County. In a broader sense, Giving DuPage offers capacity-building resources to more than 300 local nonprofit partners. These include volunteer resources, fundraising opportunities and professional development training. The DuPage Human Race is an opportunity for the community to come together for a fundraiser that supports more than 70 local charities.

In a perfect world, a DuPage nonprofit organization with well-trained staffed, sufficient funding and ample volunteers is in a position to best respond to community needs and improve the lives of residents in DuPage County. Giving DuPage contributes to that healthy and sustainable mix for a nonprofit organization.

Q. What do you think of the race's growth and success in its first five years?

A. The growth is probably the most amazing part of our Human Race journey. In our first year, there were 28 participating charities with 982 participants. This year, we have 72 participating race charity organizations and are expecting 1,800 runners and walkers, each supporting their favorite cause.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

At Giving DuPage, we witness the tremendous generosity of the DuPage community first hand through voluntarism, but it's pretty remarkable when we see it reflected in numbers.

Q. What comments have you received from leaders of the nonprofits that benefit and the impact the race has on their budgets?

A. This was another lesson that participating race charities taught us. Some organizations have super ambitious fundraising goals of $10,000 or more, while others only want to raise a couple hundred dollars. The nonprofit organizations told us that the awareness created is why they participate in the race. It's about exposure. One person runs for their favorite cause, but when they get to the race site, they learn about all the other organizations at the race too.

Q. Can the race continue to grow, both in terms of the number of organizations that benefit and the number of participants and the money they raise?

A. This is a good question and one we examine every year, especially given that someone can attend a 5K charity race in DuPage nearly every weekend from May to October. We imagine an upper limit exists but don't know it yet. Charity races saturate the fundraiser marketplace, but so do wine tasting events or charity golf events, so who knows?

It's hard to say how much we can grow the DuPage Human Race, but race charities have given feedback that they want Giving DuPage to continue hosting it year after year.

Q. The Human Race creates exposure for Giving DuPage as well. What else do you do?

A. After the race, Giving DuPage will launch a yearlong public engagement campaign centered on service as a way to celebrate its 15-year anniversary. We will ask 150,000 people countywide to get engaged as a volunteer, donate items in-kind, advocate for a favorite cause and recognize volunteers who are giving back.

If you're interested in volunteering, visit givingdupage.org to search the more than 500 volunteer opportunities with 275 DuPage nonprofit organizations. Select the "Volunteer Portal" icon to search by cause, keywords or geography.

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