In the past year, we supported 500 girls in need with the right shoes to give each girl an opportunity to embrace who she is, define who she wants to be, rise to any challenge, and change the world.
We distributed $13,750 worth of Payless Gift Cards to 8 GOTR Councils to be used exclusively to purchase shoes for girls with demonstrated financial need.
Estimated girls & women affected
The mothers, coaches and GOTR Councils staff that are connected to the girls that received shoes were all impacted.
Estimated community members affected
It has been one year since you chose to support 500 pre-teen girls get new running shoes so that they could participate in the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program. Our program is 12 weeks long with a fun, experience-based curriculum, which creatively integrates training for a 5K run. Throughout the program, 8-12 year olds learn to identify and understand their individual strengths, and explore and discuss their own beliefs around the experiences and challenges they face. Physical activity is woven throughout the curriculum to inspire an appreciation of fitness and build habits that lead to a lifetime of healthy choices.
At the end of the program, the girls participate in a celebratory, non-competitive 5K event. Completing the 5K run gives the girls the experience and confidence that comes through accomplishment, and serves as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible. Each year, over 120,000 girls from 3rd to 8th grade, from 47 states, D.C. and Canada, participate in the this program.
In total 40% of participants require some scholarship assistance and many girls cannot afford a pair of running shoes. In the past year, we supported 500 girls in need, with the right shoes to give each girl an opportunity to embrace who she is, define who she wants to be, rise to any challenge, and change the world.
One GOTR Council expressed the gratitude it received from being able to support so many girls with shoes so that they could be a Girl on the Run, "Without these shoes, so many of our girls can't learn how to enjoy running and can't feel the depth of the impact that the program can have in making running a healthy and empowering habit of a life time."
Risks and challenges
The project’s biggest challenges were:
- Ensuring that each girl was fitted properly for her new shoes was not guaranteed and our staff had to rely on parents or coaches, not professionals, to determine the shoe size.
- We cannot reach all of the girls in need of assistance to purchase running shoes, since 40%, or approximately 66,000 girls, are on program scholarships and come from low-income populations. Only 8 out of 219 GOTR Councils were able to receive funding to purchase shoes for participants with the greatest need through your generous support.
- The turn around time had to be very quick to accommodate the process of selecting girls in need, have them fitted, purchase the shoes, and deliver the shoes to participants.
What we’ve learned
Your support allowed us the opportunity to provide GOTR Councils with gift cards from Payless Shoes. This turned out to be a significantly impactful way to support girls in need and would be a model that we would use for future shoe projects.
Because we were able to purchase the gift cards at a discount from Payless Shoes, we were able to provide an additional 20% more in gifts cards than if we had simply sent a check.
We see a great need for projects like this to continue, so that girls receiving the program scholarships can also have the proper running shoes to participate. Despite the large – and growing – demand for both program scholarship support and shoes, we believe that raising funds at all levels to serve as many girls as possible is paramount. As a result, we continue to build partnerships and raise funds from a variety of sources to support granting shoes to girls in need.
Although not a major variation from the intended budget, the Payless Gift Certificates were valued at $13,750, but purchased for $11,000 due to the 20% discount.
Amount spent so far
27 Payless Gift Certificates valued at $500 each and 1 Payless Gift Certificate valued at $250
Because of our generous $12,500 grant from Catapult, Girls on the Run International has funded eight of our councils with Payless gift cards to purchase shoes for girls. Nationally, 40% of our girls receive a scholarship to participate in the program.
Many of those girls also need running shoes to participate in the program.
Girls on the Run has a preferred vendor relationship with Payless which allows all GOTR councils to receive a 20% discount so they can maximize their grant dollars. We anticipate this grant will allow 500 girls to get shoes and participate in our transformative program which has lessons that promote competencies and values related to self-awareness and self-care, selecting healthy social relationships, and empowering girls to have a voice in their own well-being, as well as the well-being of their communities.
The following councils received shoe grants: Greater Tampa Bay, Nashville, Greater Chesapeake (Annapolis), South Louisiana, Northeast Wisconsin, Mountain State (Elkins, West VA), Washington County (Hagerstown, MD ) and Sierras (Incline Village, NV). The councils have just received these gift cards and will begin purchasing shoes for girls on scholarship in the next few weeks. We anticipate this grant will allow us to purchase 500 pairs of shoes nationwide.
Risks and challenges
Since we have just awarded the grants, we have not had many challenges. As the councils begin to purchase shoes for the girls we will evaluate the process to see how we can improve it. Since Girls on the Run International is managing the grants as a "pass through" to our councils mentioned above we wouldn't know of any challenges unless we hear it directly from our councils.
Since the grants were just awarded, we don't have any stories about girls that were personally impacted from the shoe purchase yet. We are encouraging our councils to share this information with us, however.
As part of the grant process, Girls on the Run International required all grant recipients to report back how many shoes they purchased, the name of girls that received the shoes and the school that girl attends. We are requiring these reports and will report back the progress at the July 2014 progress update.
Inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident.
Why we care: Young women often receive unhealthy, unrealistic and limiting messages of what they should be.
How we’re solving this: Helping girls in 3rd to 8th grades learn to identify and understand their individual strengths and explore and discuss their own beliefs around the experiences and challenges they face by participating in Girls on the Run.
Girls on the Run is a 12-week program with a fun, experienced-based curriculum, which creatively integrates training for a 5K (3.1 miles) run. Physical activity is woven throughout the curriculum to inspire an appreciation of fitness and build habits that lead to a lifetime of healthy choices. At the end of the program, the girls participate in a celebratory, non-competitive 5K event. Completing in the 5K gives the girls the experience and confidence that comes through accomplishment, and serves as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible.
Each year, more than 120,000 girls in 3rd to 8th grade (47 states, D.C. and Canada) participate in Girls on the Run. 40% of participants require some scholarship assistance and many girls do not have and cannot afford a pair of running shoes. This funding allows us to provide running shoes to 500 girls, through grants to our councils in areas of the country where the need is greatest.
We believe that every girl can
- embrace who she is;
- define who she wants to be;
- rise to any challenge; and
- change the world.