Fitness & Philanthropy

Hi Dreamers,

Happy September! Today’s post will take a slightly different angle from my usual posts. It’s seldom that people correlate healthy living with sound financial planning. What if I told you there was a way?

Remember that summer body you were committed to last Spring? You got to show it off all summer with every visit to the pool or beach. The fall and winter season does not mean you have to pack back on those old pounds.  I happen to have a lot of active friends that compete in marathons, triathlons, Iron Man, Tough Mudders, and Spartan Races.  I’m always impressed by the time and dedication that my peers devote to staying in shape and doing their best in these various athletic pursuits. These same friends also tend to be very philanthropic.  What if the time and dedication that is devoted to athletic competitions can be used for a good cause?

How to Do It

Endurance sports and athletic competitions are great ways to galvanize support to fundraise for a particular cause or organization that you care about. You don’t have to do anything different as you train to compete. All you need to do is set up an email or online campaign and ask friends (or complete strangers) to donate to a cause or charitable organization on your behalf in support of your athletic endeavor. To provide a little challenge, it’s best to add an incentive. (Perhaps try to beat your best time or compete in a longer distance competition, for example) Some good choices for competitions:

  • Running Races: 5k, 10k, Half Marathons and Marathon distances
  • Triathlons: Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman, Ironman distances
  • Obstacle races: Tough MuddersSpartan Races, Urbanatholons

As an example, recently I embarked on a campaign titled “Chasinge the D.R.E.AM. ’13.  This fall, I will be competing in two endurance competitions:  the NYC Civilian Military Combine and the NYC Urbanatholon.  I am competing to raise capital for the D.R.E.A.M. Endowment Fund to expand our services across the country.  For more information on my campaign, click here.

Chasing the dream.JPG

The advent of online crowd funding has made it extremely easy to create campaigns to raise money for causes you care about. Campaigns can be created in less than five minutes.  Here’s a list of the top 10 crowd funding sites, according to Forbes.

Join a Team

It’s sometimes more enjoyable to do things with friends, colleagues, or people who have interests similar to yours. Already signed up to compete in a competition and want to start raising funds? Or want to compete in a competition to raise funds but not sure where to begin? You don’t always have to create a new campaign from scratch. Many organizations have teams set up for various races in cities all across the country. Research your favorite charity or nonprofit organization and see if they have a team organized for an upcoming race. Joining a team is usually pretty simple. Within minutes you can be set up and ready to raise funds! For example, if you want to join my team for Chasing the D.R.E.A.M. ’13, simply email me at

The Benefits

In addition to being in really good shape and the envy of all your friends, there are financial benefits to raising funds via competitions. Philanthropy should be a main component of a sound financial plan. In addition to helping the world be a better place you are also eligible for tax deductions.  All financial donations to charitable organizations can be deducted on your annual tax bill! By having others donate to the charitable cause you select, you are effectively helping them lower their tax liability for the year. Everyone likes the person that helps them save money!

So if you are competing in the Chicago Marathon in October, the NYC Marathon in November, or any other upcoming race or competition this fall, think about creating a fundraiser in conjunction with your participation. Of course, one cause you can raise funds for is D.R.E.A.M. (shameless plug)

About the Author:  Femi Faoye is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of D.R.E.A.M. He's also the Founder of Millennial Capital Management, an investment management firm based in New York City. He’s a staunch and passionate financial literacy education advocate. 



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