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Sports Backers Blog

Sports Backers surpasses fundraising goal in 'Building an Active Future' campaign

RICHMOND, VA – Sports Backers, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring residents from all corners of the Richmond community to live actively, recently surpassed the fundraising goal in their five-year, $2.5 million ‘Building an Active Future’ campaign, raising a total of $2.52 million. With this successful campaign, Sports Backers aims to take the Richmond region’s active community to a new level by making the area safer for biking and walking, expanding efforts to provide underserved residents with daily and weekly fitness opportunities, and creating innovative events that market and showcase the region’s active lifestyle. The Building an Active Future campaign paid particular attention to spreading programs that provide fitness programming in the region’s most underserved communities.

“As a longtime Sports Backers volunteer, participant, and donor, I’ve seen over the past decade how our region’s active, outdoor culture has been enhanced and promoted by Sports Backers,” said campaign chairman Roy Grier. “Sports Backers’ staff and volunteers are already hard at work using the funds raised through this campaign to build a more active future for all residents of our region and bring physical activity to all corners of our community.”

Building an Active Future Campaign Goals

Specific goals of the Building an Active Future campaign over the next five years include:

  • Expanding economic impact of sports tourism through Sports Backers-owned and operated events and other organizations’ athletic events supported by Sports Backers, with a five-year goal of 387,000 event participants and an economic impact of $241 million
  • Continuing advocacy to significantly increase the amount of bike and pedestrian infrastructure, adding 70 miles to the region’s bike infrastructure network, helping to secure $15 million a year in infrastructure funding, and reducing injuries and fatalities by 25 percent for people riding bikes and walking on area streets
  • Increasing accessible fitness programs in underserved areas by offering 120 classes in underserved communities every week and training 175 people to be certified group fitness instructors
  • Strengthening the active living partner network in the region by expanding Sports Backers’ partnership network to 487 partners through education, grant funding and in-kind support, scholarships to outstanding high school student athletes, and advocacy programs

Sports Backers will work towards these goals in accordance with the organization’s five-year strategic plan and community activity and health initiatives, including Bike Walk RVA, Fitness Warriors, Kids Run RVA, and Active RVA.

“The Richmond region is a healthier, more active, and more vibrant place to live and work as a result of the activities at Sports Backers,” said Lindsay Wortham, co-chair of the campaign. “This fundraising initiative shows the broad community support for Sports Backers and will allow the organization to ensure there are active living opportunities for residents for years to come.”

“The funds from the Building an Active Future campaign allow us to double down on our most impactful work and expand our reach even further into underserved communities,” added Maureen Ackerly, Chair of the Board of Directors for Sports Backers. “Through this campaign, we are able to continue to provide residents of greater Richmond with access to safe and affordable active living opportunities on a daily and weekly basis.”

The success of the Building an Active Future campaign is thanks to contribution pledges from corporations, foundations, community leaders, and regional governments. A total of 108 individuals, 34 corporations, 21 foundations, and four government entities contributed to the campaign, and the full list of contributors can be found at https://www.sportsbackers.org/building-an-active-future/.

Building an Active Future Campaign Committee

The campaign is led by Chairman Roy S. Grier, Vice President for Workplace Development, Dominion Energy. The Campaign Committee also includes Maureen Ackerly, Partner, Armstrong Bristow Farley & Schwarzschild; Daniel Gecker, Partner, Urban Development Associates; Lindsay Wortham, Community Volunteer; Sam Young, President, Astyra; C. Burke King, Community Volunteer; Bobby Ukrop, CEO and President, Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods; Sam Mintz, Financial Advisor, BB&T Scott & Stringfellow; Lee Warfield, CEO, Cushman & Wakefield |Thalhimer; Tyler Hutchens, Director of Financial Services, UBS Financial Services, Inc.; Courtney Moates Paulk, Shareholder, Hirschler Fleischer; and Neil Amin, CEO, Shamin Hotels.

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About Sports Backers
With a key message of Let’s Go, RVA, the mission of Sports Backers is to inspire people from all corners of our community to live actively. A non-profit organization, Sports Backers is dedicated to producing nationally recognized quality sporting events and programs that motivate residents and visitors alike to be more active, supporting youth running and fitness programs, and advocating for safe and connected networks of bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Learn more at www.sportsbackers.org.