Giving to charity makes you feel good. And like I mentioned in my post of ways to reduce stress in your life, it’s hard to succumb to tension and stress when you’re feeling good. There are a TON of charities worthy of your donations, of course, so where do you even start? You can’t go wrong donating (or volunteering if you’re able) with a charity that is meaningful to you. Runners are already a charitable group, with many races offering free entry for those raising money for charities through fundraising. And since you’re reading a blog about running and fitness, why not consider fitness charities for philanthropy?
I’ve done some research for you and come up with 9 fitness charities that empower, inspire and improve the lives of children, disabled athletes and US veterans through running and fitness. If you’re looking for somewhere to make a charitable donation, these are some worthy causes.
9 INSPIRING FITNESS CHARITIES
Girls on the Run is a charity that aims to empower girls to reach their potential through the power of running. GOTR meets twice a week in small teams, with running coach volunteers leading girls through running workouts and training, while teaching life skills and building confidence through running. You can contribute by volunteering, or by donating.
Project Fit America provides grants for schools to foster a love of fitness and moving in school age kids. Selected schools receive $18,000 worth of assistance to make their schools fitness friendly, including outdoor and indoor fitness equipment, PE lesson plans and curriculums and teacher training. You can donate to the cause here.
Fresh Air Fund is a summer camp program for low-income NYC school kids, with a simple mission of giving city kids a chance to enjoy a free summer getaway in the country. This charity program was started in 1877 – yes, the nineteenth century – and is still going strong today. Donate here.
Achilles International. Begun by an above-the-knee amputee, Dick Traum, who was the first amputee to complete the NYC Marathon, Achilles International’s goal is to bring hope, joy and possibility to disabled people through providing them opportunities to run and compete within a community of support. The physical strength and sense of accomplishment Achilles members gain through running spills over into other areas of their life. While started in NYC, Achilles International is now in 65 locations in the USA and overseas and has offshoots Achilles Kids and the Achilles Freedom Team (for disabled veterans). You can contribute via their donations page here.
Operation Amped is an organization dedicated to bringing the love of surfing to ill, injured or disabled US Veterans and their families through free weekend surfing camps. With several surfer vets on its board of directors, this organization believes in the healing power of nature and the sense of community offered by surfing. You can make a donation here.
Bent on Learning is a non-profit committed to teaching yoga to NYC public school children within their schools, either as an elective, an after school activity, or as a gym class. Mats for each child are provided and students learn breathing, meditation and yoga poses and flows, all structured to their age group. Donations welcomed here.
Charity Miles is an app you should have downloaded if you walk, run, or bike on a regular basis. Using money from corporate sponsors, Charity Miles lets you choose a charity of your choice from their 37 charity partners and then uses GPS on your phone to verify your workout. For each mile spent walking or running, the app’s sponsors pledge up to 25 cents for your charity. It’s no cost to you (the app is free and the donations come from corporations), but you are essentially raising money for charity doing what you love. Download it for iPhone or Android here.
Challenged Athletes Foundation offers grants to individuals with physical challenges to provide opportunity and support for an active lifestyle through fitness and competitive athletics. Grants are offered for equipment, training, coaching and costs associated with competitions. The Challenged Athletes Foundations also offers special grants aimed at military veterans with physical challenges. As well as their grant program, the foundation also offers camps and clinics for disabled athletes. You can show your support by contributing here.
Good Sports provides fitness equipment, clothes and footwear to underprivileged kids throughout the USA. According to the Good Sports website, 48% of US high schools have no physical educations program and only six states in the country require PE for all grades from kindergarten to grade 12. In an effort to combat the growing rate of childhood obesity, Good Sports provides the essentials many community organizations and schools are lacking to give kids more opportunity for physical fitness. You can make a charitable contribution here.