Social Good the Easy Way

On March 24th, the Ella Baker Center is participating in the Oakland Running Festival for the fourth year in a row. As the newest member of the Development Team here, I’ve been speaking with runners and reaching out to local businesses to ask for prize donations for our top fundraisers. In reflecting a bit on the process, I’ve become amazed by the way the Oakland Running Festival’s partnership with local nonprofits allows individuals and local businesses to magnify their ability to do social good with little extra effort.

Let’s take the runners for example. People who participate are generally already runners, are committed to their physical health in some way, or are using this event as an impetus to meet new health and exercise goals. They also already have a sense of care about brining equality to our communities. By running for a nonprofit like the Ella Baker Center, runners are able to carry out their exercise practice with fellow team members and simultaneously work towards making their values come alive.

And then there are the individuals who sponsor runners. I will venture to say that most of these donors feel good about supporting organizations doing social change work. Perhaps they even give annually to a charity. Yet by giving their donation through a friend, they support a good cause, encourage their friend in her running practice, give her a sense of pride and joy in meeting her fundraising goals, and strengthen a friendship. All this from a donation they may have been willing to give anyway!

Finally, take the local businesses and running clubs. When a business decides to give a gift certificate, or a gym or club refers runners to our team, the organization shows that they care about something beyond meeting the bottom line. They demonstrate their gratitude to people who genuinely care about making this community better, show their values, and make a new relationship with the recipient of the gift and with out online audience through our shout outs. The Ella Baker Center also feels grateful for the organization’s willingness to donate and it creates a positive relationship between our organization and theirs. 

The Oakland Running Festival of course takes a large degree of planning and work to get off the ground, but the rewards seem great for individual participants, nonprofits, businesses, and even the City of Oakland. In the next few weeks I’m going to interview members of Team Ella Baker Center and blog about how the run lets them exercise who they are.

In the meantime, ask yourself:

Will running or walking with Team Ella Baker Center or another nonprofit give you a chance to simultaneously satisfy many of your passions?

If your answer is yes! or you want to learn more go to!  Stay tuned!