The Positive Tracks concept was conceived in 2009 at the CHaD Hero Half Marathon & Ripcord 5K, a fundraising event benefiting CHaD, the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. The first Positive Tracks Challenge originated as a community rally supporting a nine year-old young leukemia patient named Cameron Marshall.
It rained that year, hard. So hard that the inaugural Cam’s Course lost power and sound. But hundreds of families showed up to run for Cam, anyway. Cam – very ill – came too, and was carried through the finish line by his school principal to the sound of hundreds of his friends humming Chariots Of Fire. That heart-wrenching moment revealed how an athletic effort can be a powerful gesture of hope, a compelling means of supporting a friend and the worthy organization helping him.
The inaugural Cam’s Course evidenced how one small act of reaching out can lead to large-scale community action. The fact is: people want to help people. Kids want to help kids.
Sometimes all it takes is identifying a specific physical action that stands as proof of human compassion and proactivity. We’re talking about that happy, healthy, slightly stinky, totally exhausted, I-can’t-wait-to-do-it-again feeling you get when perspiration and inspiration meet. We’re talking about physicality that fuels an express train of do-gooderness for an individual, for a community, for a charity, for the globe.
Something this powerful deserves a name. We call it philanthletic glow. Cam’s Course, and community reaction to Cam’s Course, planted the seed for Positive Tracks and the glowmentum Positive Tracks builds inside the hearts of young people and their supporters.
The following year CHaD was awarded its first Positive Tracks Matching Challenge Grant that doubled funds raised by CHaD Hero Half Marathon participants age 23 or under. Young people were given “fundraising wings”, so their efforts made significant impact on a community – and an organization impacting that community – close to their hearts.
When CHaD Hero Half Marathon participants successfully met the $100,000 Positive Tracks Matching Challenge in 2010, enthusiasm and support grew to include additional partners receiving Positive Tracks Youth Challenge Grants.
In 2011, The Dempsey Challenge, benefiting The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing in Lewiston, ME, became the second founding Positive Tracks event partner. Levi Leipheimer’s GranFondo, in Santa Rosa, CA; and the Travis Roy Foundation Wiffle Ball Tournament in Jericho, VT, joined Positive Tracks as third and fourth charitable event partners in 2012.
In 2013, Positive Tracks enters five new partnerships with Grassroot Soccer, Lacrosse the Nations, Ride2Recovery, Turtle Ridge Foundation and Ukalene Productions. In 2014, we add Soccer Without Borders to the mix.
Positive Tracks still awards Youth Challenge Grants to every Charity Partner to match fundraising dollars of participants ages 23 and under, encouraging young people to turn athletic achievement into innovative, meaningful philanthropy.
We also empower donors to support youth-driven positive action, amplifying donor’s leverage and exponential, transformative impact. Positive Tracks connects kids, charities, athletic events, and donors to double the dollars, double the fitness, and double the impact. So Generation Next can make the world awesome: starting with themselves, starting in their own backyards.
And Millennials are rising to the challenge! Young participants are organizing youth-powered soccer tournaments and Scoop the Loot lacrosse games. They’re rock-climbing in Mozambique; cycling across the country; climbing all 48 4,000 ft. White Mountain peaks of NH; organizing Dodge Ball tournaments and tennis clinics; running 5Ks. Best news is: Young people are using their own creativity to meet fundraising goals with Battle of the Bands, art shows, jewelry design, Cupcake Warz, and dance-a-thons. Young people are using their own power to build community and connect to something larger than themselves. And Positive Tracks doubling youth impact by doubling youth dollars.
In 2013, Positive Tracks awarded another $428,500 in Positive Tracks Youth Challenge Grants to 8 charity partners – with new Positive Tracks Funding Partners joining the charge to raise these matches even further. Youth Positive Trackers have met 2013 challenges, and another 1,128,802 has been added to the dollars raised since 2010. This pushes the 4-year total raised for multiple Positive Tracks Charity Partners to $2,605,975. And 2013 fundraising isn’t over. . .
Positive Tracks is projected to raise another $1,560,000 in 2014, pushing total dollars raised for charity to $4,165,975. We’ve only just begun.