HAZARD — Thirteen local organizations received checks this week from the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky for their participation in the annual Run for the Hills Charity Challenge.
This year’s charity challenge was the second ever and marked growth in the event and in the organizations participating. Run for the Hills, which is one component of the challenge that combines a foot race with fund raising, had double the number of participants and two more organizations joining this year.
In just two years’ time, over $200,000 have been raised to benefit a number of local nonprofits.
Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky Chairman Danny Maggard compared the challenge to a local booth that used to set up on Main Street in Hazard around Christmas time. The booth would play music and people could donate dimes. This money was then donated to children’s charities.
Foundation Executive Director Gerry Roll said that like this booth, the charity challenge isn’t about who gives the most or the largest donations by single individuals, but what the community can do when they come together and give a little, or what they have. The largest group donation to the event was over $1,900 by Hazard Clinic. While this is a large amount, Roll pointed out that to get to $200,000 it took many donations.
This year, 13 organizations raised funds that were matched by the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky. Those organizations were: Community Ministries, The Housing Development Alliance, The Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter, Pathfinders of Perry County, The Care Cottage, The Individuals Supporting Bulldog Education, The Youth Leadership and Philanthropy Initiative, The Challenger Learning Center, the Buckhorn Children’s Center, The Hazard and Perry County Senior Citizen’s Center, Perry County 4H, Kentucky Infant Development Station, and the Little Flower Clinic.
The goal set by the foundation was for each organization for raise $10,000. While many met this goal, some surpassed it, including the Challenger Learning Center which raised more than any other organization for the second year in a row.
The money matched by the foundation is put into an endowment for the organizations to help create steady revenue from the interest collected to sustain the organizations for the long term. According to Roll, this money is an investment in the future of the area.
With such uncertain economic times, putting money in the hands of groups with the interest of the area at heart is important to create lasting growth and resilience in the county, according to Roll.
Following the growth of the event in the second year, Maggard said he would like to see it continue to grow and possibly see double the number of runners next year.