The first annual Walk to Hope began with an idea, sparked some amazing collaboration and then crossed the finish line by surpassing goals with 43K total miles logged and more than $126K funds raised across the Boys Hope Girls Hope Network.
It was Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore that first brought the idea to Network Headquarters. Executive Director Arlene Hackbarth and their Development Committee reasoned that a virtual walk could resonate at a time when people have been cooped up and missing travel by promoting fitness, facilitating fundraising and showcasing the 16 cities in the US, Mexico and Guatemala where Boys Hope Girls Hope has affiliates. Well, that got the creative juices going among our Network Headquarters team, inspired some ensuing calls with affiliates and voila – the Walk to Hope was born!
Along the way, there were many highlights: the creative digital postcards that went out spotlighting each affiliate city, the good-natured ribbing among colleagues at the Friday meetings as affiliates traded places in the fundraising standings, and of course all the walking, running, biking and dollars raised from April 1 to 30. Overall, there were 624 “walkers” and 1,018 donors from 32 US states plus the countries of Guatemala, Canada and Ireland. This awesome teamwork helped shatter the initial mileage goal of 12K and fundraising goal of $75K quite early in the endeavor.
The Virtual Finish Line Party on May 6 was a fun and festive celebration of the sponsors and top finishers.
Boys Hope Girls Hope President & CEO Kristin Ostby de Barillas kicked off the evening with welcome remarks thanking everyone who made the event successful and the major sponsors: BET and WayMaker, American Ultimate Disc League, Rob Hughes, CareFirst, Emerson, Chris & Michelle Growe, Hylant, Lockton, Salesforce, and Systems Graphics.
Two-time Super Bowl Champion Gregg Scruggs, a Boys Hope Girls Hope Board Member and Cincinnati affiliate alumnus, announced the winners along with scholars from the Detroit, Illinois, San Francisco and St. Louis affiliates.
Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore raised $25K to take home the Top Fundraising Affiliate honors, while its Scholars placed first as team with 966 miles and Ameenah claimed first place in the individual bracket.
Higher Stepper accolades went Scott Wilcoxen of Team Cisco who biked 623 miles and the team of BHGH Volunteer Alumni, Friends & Family, captained by Andy Hilger of Baltimore, who logged 6,092.
The Movers & Shaker fundraising honors were claimed by Dennis Bradley of Boys Hope Girls Hope of San Francisco with $4,535, and team honors went to World Wide Technology Arizona, captained by Lisa Nelson, at $7,076.
In addition to appearances by Olympic Medalists Jackie Joyner Kersee and Erick Barrondo, the 30-minute live broadcast featured moments of inspiration in the form of “Why I Walk” statements by Andy Hilger, a longtime Baltimore affiliate board member and former residential counselor at Boys Hope Girls Hope of Northeastern Ohio; Boys Hope Girls Hope of Colorado Board Member and Alumnus Kenneth Stable and Baltimore Scholar Novella. If you missed the broadcast or simply want to relive the experience, you can watch it below!
In the meantime, with one Walk to Hope under our belts, it would seem the sky’s the limit for next year. Here’s looking forward to Walk to Hope 2022!