CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Beach to Beacon 10K has been bringing world class runners to Maine for two decades now.
Not only does the race put the state in an international spotlight, it also gets the community involved on a local level. Each year, a nonprofit youth organization is selected to be the beneficiary of the race.
As runners make their way across the Beach to Beacon course, a local nonprofit is receiving a donation of $30,000 from the TD Bank Charitable Foundation. It was the idea of race founder Joan Benoit Samuelson and bank president Bill Ryan, who both had a soft spot for Maine kids.
"[We] really saw this as a way to give back to the community through a significant event," said TD Bank State President Larry Wold.
STRIVE is an agency that provides independence opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. When it was selected as the beneficiary in 2007, it was only a few years old.
"We weren’t very old and it helped us really shine a light on our programs," said STRIVE PSL Services Associate Director Pete Brown, "and tell a pretty wide audience about what we do."
At that point in the agencies development, the donation made an immediate impact.
"It let us make some renovations to our teen center, buy new equipment for individuals to be able to use, as well as educational supplies," Brown said.
The Maine Center for Grieving Children was the beneficiary five years ago. The organization provides support for children and families who have experienced death or life threatening illnesses.
"Tough work, satisfying. I was a family myself, so I came through the door like everybody else," said Executive Director Ann Heros.
The donation helped the center create a much-needed position of volunteer coordinator.
"Volunteers are the essence of what happens here," Heros said. "If we don’t have volunteers, we can’t do our work."
The benefits go well beyond that initial donation. In the years that follow, each of the nonprofits are allowed 25 spots in the race, which they use as fundraising opportunities. At the Center for Grieving children that has resulted in an additional $135,000 over the past five years. They say being named a beneficiary of the Beach to Beacon is a gift that keeps on giving.
Joining the group of beneficiaries is this year’s selection, Let's Go! Maine. It's a childhood obesity prevention program run by The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.f