Fleet Feet Sports Partners With buildOn to Help Nike Half Marathon Runners Train, Raise Money to Build School

Our supporters in the Bay Area are raising money and getting fit at the same time! With a little help from specialty retail store Fleet Feet Sports in San Francisco, four people are training to run the Nike Half Marathon on October 14 in San Francisco. At the same time, they’re each raising $2,500 to send one Bay Area youth to construct a buildOn school in a developing country.

This is the first time buildOn has collaborated with Fleet Feet Sports, and this unique partnership includes intensive training plus a group outing to a San Francisco Giants game and to a wine tasting at Bin 38 for everyone involved.

The Fleet Feet Sports team is a group of passionate runners who are excited to spread their love of running to the rest of the Bay Area, and frequently organize events throughout the year to” inspire and entertain the running community,” says Brett Lamb, who owns the store with his wife Kim Holt. We asked Brett about his commitment to service and why Fleet Feet Sports is passionate about giving back to the community.

Time affiliated with buildOn:
Kim (my wife) and I are relatively new to buildOn. One of our long-time customers reached out to us in early 2012 and correctly thought it would be an organization that we would connect with. After a little research and one meeting with a buildOn employee, we were hooked.

What other philanthropic endeavors has Fleet Feet Sports San Francisco been a part of?
This year, most of the events that we host/produce require a donation of $5 to $20 per person, which goes directly towards a school in South Africa called the Ethembeni School. We were introduced to the school through a vendor partner of ours, Balega, which is based in South Africa and donates a portion of its profits to the school. The Ethembeni School is a boarding school for 300 children between the ages of three and 18-years-old who are living with cerebral palsy, visual impairments, albinism, or other physical disabilities. It is located in a rural area just north of Durban, in a community that struggles with poverty and unemployment. The school provides a safe place with resources and health care to help these students live a fulfilled childhood.

We have been lucky enough to visit the school twice since we began supporting them, and it’s been amazing to see first-hand the impact our customers’ donations have had on the school. In 2009, the Ethembeni School was able to purchase an accessible bus, custom-equipped to transport students in wheelchairs to sporting events, the beach, and other outings that they were previously unable to attend. In 2011, the money raised went to build a therapy park on the school grounds. Currently, the money we are raising is going towards scholarships to enable new students to attend the school.

Over the past five years we have also used our events to support other nonprofits, such as Students Run Oakland, L’Athletiques d’Haiti, The Red Cross, and The Livestrong Foundation. We also provide a shoe-recycling program through our store. Our customers are encouraged to donate their old running shoes, and we pass them along to various charities in San Francisco, including The Homeless Youth Alliance and Walden House.

How were you introduced to buildOn and what is your relationship with buildOn?
We were introduced through a customer of ours, Rebecca Phillips. She knew about the fundraising and events we hosted in honor of the Ethembeni School and thought that we might be interested in working with buildOn. Thanks to Rebecca’s introduction, Fleet Feet and buildOn are now partnering on our first fundraising project: a training team for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in October.

What buildOn initiatives mean the most to you?
Being able to help create educational opportunities in under-served and underdeveloped areas is one of the most important goals for Kim and me and our business. There are few ways to get out of the cycle of poverty, and building and funding new schools is a very important step to bridging that gap. Someone with a formal education has a better chance at success after high school, through college, and in their future than without that education. Future success begins with accessibility to a quality, stable education as a child.