On November 5, 2017, 840 runners stood at the starting line on Worthen Road in Lexington, Massachusetts. Some were there because this is something they’ve done on the first Sunday in November every year since 1996. Others were there with an additional goal in mind: to raise funds for a charity that had meaning for them. After Rene Rancourt, tenor for the Boston Bruins, sang the national anthem, the Lexington Minutemen fired their muskets, and the race was on. After the races were finished, food was served, bands finished performing, it was a race for the record books.
Under the auspices of the Battlegreen Run Foundation, Genesis HR Solutions has been the lead sponsor of this race for 22 years. In the early years, raising $9,000-15,000 was the goal. In recent years, $15,000-20,000 was raised.
In 2016, that all changed. That is when a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) model was applied.
The PEO Model & The Battlegreen Run
One of the many things a PEO does is provide a human resource department the framework for the small business community. PEO clients are able to take advantage of the resources available through their PEO and ultimately run a more efficient and more profitable business.
The Battlegreen Run Foundation applied a similar model to the road race. A fundraising website was set up for each nonprofit organization. The nonprofits, in turn, recruited runners who used the website to raise funds. The Foundation paid all fees associated with fundraising, bore all costs associated with the day’s events, and shared all proceeds with the participating nonprofits.
The results were astounding.
Last year, the Battlegreen Run Foundation distributed $57,000. This year, more than $80,000 will go to support Special Needs Arts Program (SNAP), Northeast Organic Farming, the New England Innocence Project, Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston, Lighthouse Animal Shelter, Lexington Special Education Parents, Lexington’s Genesis Community Fund and some local PTAs.
The most notable team was a group of young parents who came together in support of one of their children, who was diagnosed with San Filippo Syndrome. San Filippo Syndrome is considered by many to be an “orphan disease.” They hoped to raise awareness, and they certainly did that. 73 runners ran as “Spencer’s Sprinters” and raised the most money of any group.
The synergy the fundraising runners brought had an effect on corporate sponsorships as well. The record corporate fundraising record set in 2016 was exceeded in 2017.
When a few hundred runners stood at the starting line in 1996, none of us at Genesis ever dreamed that, 22 years later, we’d be the lead sponsor of one of the top fundraising road races in New England.
Clearly the model works. As for the record fundraising total set in 2017, every board member of the Battlegreen Run Foundation would be quick to say that records were meant to be broken. We have every reason to think that will happen again in 2018.