Top 10 Most Successful Athletic Fundraising Events in America

The Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council (formerly known as the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum) has become an invaluable resource to those professionals seeking information on the top athletic fundraising events in the nation. American Charities which collect over $1 billion annually are acknowledged to help professionals become more successful in their trade. Conferences, workshops, webinars and online services are provided to educate and guide them toward outstanding achievement. Not only that, but those charities that excel are noticed and given recognition for their philanthropic approach to supporting those in need and helping find cures for the most death-defying illnesses that are wreaking havoc throughout the world.

The Peer-to-Peer Fundraising 30, which is revised and published annually, makes note of those organizations by which contribute the most revenue for their said charity. Based on these rankings I was able to comprise a list of the top 10 most successful athletic fundraising events in America. Enough said, let's get down to it. Enclosed is a list based on the rankings of 2013.

10 $57.3 million,  Walk to End Alzheimer, Alzheimer's Association

In 1979, Jerome H. Stone founded the Alzheimer's Association. As President, Mr. Stone and supporters formed an alliance with Federal efforts to create an organization that would help not only find a cure to end Alzheimer's, but would support those suffering and their families. At present, there are 75 chapters that expand over the whole of the nation.

Alzheimer's is the nation's sixth leading cause of death. The Walk to End Alzheimer's gathers participants annually in over 650 communities to help raise funds for care and research to find a cure. Supporters, family, friends, volunteers and those suffering from the disease join in hopes that someday there will be a cure. Last year there was a remarkable turnout. 409,687 people gathered at 650 events raising a grand total of $57.3 million. That's $57.3 million closer to a "world without Alzheimer's!"

9 $58.5 million, Light the Night Walk, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Participants from over 200 communities join annually in the fall to walk to help raise funds to find a cure for blood cancer. 2013 was an astounding year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. After all, 200,000 inspiring walkers in 177 events raised $58.5 million to support those in need of care, their families and friends, and to help fund research to find a cure for the many children who are diagnosed with the disease yearly.

Champions for the Cure are those who raise over $200. During the walk these men and women carry illuminated balloons in honor of those who have past, supporters and survivors. The red balloons represent supporters, white (survivors) and gold, those who have been taken from us. To be a member of the Bright Lights Club you have to raise over $1,000. However, everyone is appreciated for their hard work and efforts during this inspiring event for there is live music, celebration and remembrance of those who have past.

8 $66.2 million, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, American Cancer Society

In the past, the American Cancer Society has taken strides to help people better understand the devastation of cancer. It is an organization comprised of people who genuinely care and want to make a difference in the health of the many who are affected by this disease. The event held annually in over 300 communities, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, is one of the many inspiring group efforts to end the war on cancer that the organization holds nationwide.

Last year, 1,200,000 participants joined in 288 events to help end the war. These courageous men and women brought in a total of $66.2 million which will help people better understand the disease. Prevention plans, protection and screening guidelines are among the resources distributed for free in lieu of the money the American Cancer Society receives. Other resources include transport assistance to and from treatment, free lodging, beauty workshops, and support programs. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a great way to show your support. You don't have to be an athlete to complete this 3.5 mile event. You don't even have to train. All you need is a reason.

7 $71.8 million, Team in Training, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

It was 1988 when Bruce Cleveland decided to act on his daughter's illness,she was diagnosed with Leukemia at a very young age, so he gathered a group of like-minded individuals and formed a team to run in the New York City marathon. Together they raised funds to give to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's efforts to help find a cure. In the end, 38 runners raised $322,000 to give back.

Every four minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer and sadly, every ten minutes someone dies. Team In Training is a well-established sports program designed to raise funds to find cures for Leukemia. The program had thousands of runners, walkers, cyclists, hikers and triathletes come together and train hard for various events in support of finding a cure. Half marathons, triathlons, marathons and hiking expeditions are to name a few. Last year, 2013, Team In Training raised a successful $71.8 million. With 35,353 participants and 240 events, the team endured one of the most gratifying years in its history. More on the subject, in its 25 years of existence, the program has coached and mentored over 570,000 participants and has raised nearly $875,000,000 to which is distributed to new grants and to research in academics.

6 $78 million, Walk to Cure Diabetes, JDFR

"Turning Type I Into Type None," so the saying goes. What would a world be like without Type I Diabetes (T1D)? The JDFR Walk to Cure Diabetes' mission is just that; to help find a cure for T1D.

What is T1D? It is by definition, "an autoimmune disease where a person's pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin." It, unlike Type II Diabetes, is unrelated to diet and lifestyle.

This call for help has been answered through over 200 walks, in various states across the country. The Walk for Diabetes has raised over $1 billion dollars since it started and $78 million alone was raised in 2013. Last year, 127,000 participants answered the call for help in 227 communities. These participants came together for one common cause. In a day of remembrance, step by step, they walked to support and raise funds for themselves, their loved ones, and their co-workers.

5 $83.1 million, Bike MS, National MS Society

Bike MS (Multiple Sclerosis) made it fifth on the list of the most successful fundraising events in the nation due to its recognition by so many participants who trained throughout the year in support of the 100 events across the country.

Thirty years ago a man named Will Munger and his ten year old son decided to bike their trip home from Duluth to Minneapolis (a total of 150 miles). In two days, they made the hike. Their thoughts on the venture took them to new heights and before long, Bike MS was born. That was thirty years ago. Now, over 996,643 participants and 96 events later, the National MS Society has raised over $1 billion since 1980, the first official ride. Today there is at least one ride in every state.

$83.1 million was raised last year to fund research to help find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This money is by no means a waste. After all, $0.79 of every dollar raised goes to programs to educate people living with MS on how to live the best they can, services and research. The remaining $.21 goes to administration and fundraising.

4 $100.7 million, March for Babies, March of Dimes

March for Babies has been around since 1970, eleven years after Dr. Apga joined the March of Dimes. As Vice President for Medical Affairs and a leading publicist for birth defects, Dr. Apga struck a chord after devising a campaign that reached out to the medical field. The campaign ordered for immunization for rubella, an establishment of birth defect registries, and insisted genetic and pregnancy history be made routine of medical keeping for pregnant women. These days, after reinventing the mission numerous times, the March of Dimes and the March for Babies provides support for community programs helping mothers have happy, healthy pregnancies. Not only that, but the money raised through the organization and through the March for Babies helps expecting mothers and mothers to be become hopeful that their babies won't be born too soon.

Since 1970, $2.3 billion has been raised. 2013 marked an landmark for the March for Babies in that $100.7 million was raised to benefit all babies. With 165,000 participants last year and 692 events, the March for Babies makes the number 4 spot in being one of the most successful athletic fundraising events.

3 $105.6 million, Heart Walk, American Heart Association

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the number one killer of all Americans. Stroke is number 4. These are the reasons why the Heart Walk is ranked number 3 on the list. So many people suffer from cardiovascular disease and many people have the potential to receive it through their genetic history, poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. The American Heart Association needs your help!

Through the walk and the association, their promise to you is to promote healthy living and physical activity. How have they fulfilled this promise in the past and how do they continue to do so? All the money raised, in the nearly 350 events nationwide, goes to putting up-to-the-minute research into professional's hands, research and information on how to live and remain healthy.

2 $106.8 million, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen was born in Peoria, Illinois - home of the original Race for the Cure, 1986. From there it grew into a worldwide phenomenon where over 1,000,000 participants and 100,000 volunteers (2011) would come together in over 4 continents to fight for a common cause; to help put an end to breast cancer. At present, 2014, the Race for the Cure is, by far, the largest series of 5k races in the world. Last year alone, participants raised $106.8 million to achieve their goal and to help find a way to see the world, in our future, without breast cancer.

1 $380 million, Relay for Life, American Cancer Society

In honor of cancer survivors and to remember loved ones lost, the Relay for Life was developed. It is an exuberating event that takes place on a track, in the woods, on a trail, or at a park or fairground. An overnight extravaganza, the Relay for Life unites individuals one night, for 24 hours, as teams take turns walking the distance in honor of their loved ones, friends, families and co-workers who have been devastated by this horrific disease.

The Survivor's Lap is the first lap around the course. This is the lap that which honors all cancer survivors. Following is the Luminaria Lap. This takes place after dark to remember those we have lost, those who have fought the battle and those who are fighting. During this ceremonious trip, candles are lit inside personalized bags. Finally, there is the Fight Back Ceremony. This rally brings everyone in to kick cancer in its butt. It is a symbol of our strength ad courage to move forward and commit to help end the war on cancer.


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