When Mike Hansen signed up with his wife and daughter to volunteer for the Detroit Free Press Marathon‘s 5K race on Oct. 14, he knew that the satisfaction of giving back to the community as a family was a great reason to wake up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday.
The promise of pastries didn’t hurt, either.
“I kind of bribed them with the promise of a trip to Greektown to visit Astoria bakery and to have breakfast at the Parthenon after the event,” said Mike, who works as a Business Systems Analyst at United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Despite the early morning, Mike said he and his family enjoyed the experience. They passed out water and Gatorade and cheered on 5K runners, and they would gladly do it again.
“It was a great opportunity to show my family what we do at United Way, and to get them involved,” he added. “We really enjoyed doing this together as a family.”
More than 60 volunteers came out with United Way during the weekend of running events. They handed out water, and they cheered on nearly 200 runners who were part of our Run United team. Those runners participated in the 5K, half marathon or marathon while raising funds for United Way.
United Way for Southeastern Michigan is a Gold Charity Partner of the Free Press marathon. By raising money for United Way, runners and walkers can use their race to raise funds to support our work in Education, Health and Economic Prosperity. Employees from our corporate partners FCA US LLC, DTE Energy and Bosch started their own teams, while individuals from the community also joined our team.
FCA has been hosting Team Jeep as part of Run United for two years. They led the way this year with 115 runners recruited and $70,000 raised. In addition to Run United benefits, Team Jeep runners who raise $500 have their race registration reimbursed by FCA.
“Our runners knocked it out of the park this year,” said Sarah Grutza, United Way Corporate Relations Director. Sarah is also organizer of the Run United team. “We’re so grateful for the support and enthusiasm all of our partners bring to our Run United effort.”
This year, because of that support, our Run United runners raised more than $83,000.
“We’re thrilled at how many people decided to run with United Way this year. We’re excited to expand the team in 2018,” said Mark Petroff, CEO of Marketing Associates and United Way for Southeastern Michigan Board Chairman.
Mark was one of two board members to run a half marathon with Run United this year. He was joined by DTE Energy COO and President of DTE Gas and United Way Board Treasurer Mark Stiers. He also encouraged Marketing Associates to sign up and fundraise, and offered to match the funds they raised.
Mark said he expects Run United to continue to grow as word gets out to United Way’s corporate partners. For employees—many of whom are already United Way supporters—it provides a chance to give in a fun and rewarding way. Hitting fundraising goals on our team also comes with some great benefits, like free parking, swag bags and access to our office on race day, just a few blocks from the start and finish lines.
“Run United makes race day even more fun and rewarding,” Mark Petroff added. “Running alongside 200 teammates and knowing that we’re making a difference in Southeastern Michigan is a great experience.”