Despite the cold temperature and gusty winds, the 18th annual Bright Beginnings 5K Race, held on Saturday, March 2, 2013, had the largest turnout on record. With over 900 registered participants—almost twice as many as last year—the 5K race raised nearly $47,000. That is $10,000 more than last year! D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser even joined in the fun and ran the 5K. Without a doubt, this was a banner year for the Junior League of Washington (JLW) volunteers on the Bright Beginnings Committee who plan the race.
The annual 5K race is the largest single fundraiser for Bright Beginnings, Inc., a nonprofit child and family development center that supports homeless children of preschool age and their families. Bright Beginnings was founded by the JLW in 1991 as an independent 501(c)(3) developmental day center. In addition to volunteering with Bright Beginnings throughout the year and hosting special events focusing on literacy, JLW committee members spend their time planning, preparing and fundraising for the 5K race. Bright Beginnings committee members Laura Shull and Liz Cassady individually raised $1,435 and $900 respectively.
Although the 5K race has typically taken place in May, it was moved to March this year to take advantage of a new, larger 5K course and less competition with sporting and other events that traditionally take place in May. The earlier race date meant that JLW committee members had less time to promote the 5K race, but chair Natalie Hardy and co-chairs Sasha Strohm and Starling Marshall, worked hard to ensure the event’s success. The 5K race added a number of new features this year, including a virtual 5K option, a stroller brigade, and the ability for participants to raise funds through CrowdRise, an online fundraising platform. Nancy Register, a JLW member since 1993 and current President of the Bright Beginnings’ Board of Directors, spoke at the start of the 5K race on Bright Beginnings’ impact on the local DC community.
The Washington Post sponsored the Start/Finish line and named Bright Beginnings a PostPoints nonprofit partner, enabling PostPoints members to earn points for participating in the 5K race. Other sponsors included Danya International, Inc.; Dominion; Deloitte; Duff and Phelps; Luminpoint; the United States Chamber of Commerce; TDI; New Editions Consulting Inc.; XML Financial Group; the National Academies of Sciences; SilverStar Consulting, and a number of individual sponsors.
The Bright Beginnings Committee is already looking ahead to the 2013-2014 year, and hopes to break the 1,000 participant mark next spring. Please share your favorite story from the Bright Beginnings 5K race with us in the comments.