Who We Are
Brooke Sydnor Curran founded RunningBrooke in May of 2009 as a philanthropic fund under ACT for Alexandria. The goals were to prepare children for kindergarten by funding early childhood education programs, support children already in school by funding literacy, mentoring and life-skills programs and encourage kids to get outside and moving by funding after-school physical activities and renovations of playgrounds. Brooke pledged to raise money by doing something she excelled at – running marathons. The first grant cycle in 2010 awarded $20,000 to fund bilingual, preschool education for at risk children.
Nine Years Later
We are now an independent nonprofit, and our goals have shifted some as we’ve focused our efforts to inspire underserved children to be more active and spark academic learning in the classroom. RunningBrooke works with educators, as well as non-profit and community leaders to influence and encourage physical activity within existing programs. In February 2017, RunningBrooke awarded $92,000 to 15 Alexandria partners who collectively serve more than 5,000 children. A competitive grant application process requires mid-year reports, site visits, impact measurements, and final evaluations.
In 2016, we held our first Move2Learn Summit, hosting nationally known health and physical education expert, Tim McCord to learn about how physical exercise fuels the brain and accelerates learning in children. In June 2017, we built on the previous year’s program to look at how high-level changes within schools and grassroots organizations alike can make a real difference in child outcomes. Joined by Charlene Burgeson, Executive Director of Active Schools, a Michelle Obama initiative, NCAA athlete and youth fitness specialist Preston Blackburn, and experts from Alexandria City Public Schools and local government, the Summit explored simple steps that you can take to get kids moving and spark learning. You can read more about the Summits on the Move2Learn page.
Starting in 2013, we coordinated on the renovation and building of neighborhood playgrounds in underserved areas to bring kids and communities out to play. You can read more about our past projects on the Playgrounds pages. In 2017, we were very excited to be a part of the renovation of a futsol (a fast-paced form of soccer) court in the Arlandria neighborhood of Alexandria. In June 2017, volunteers helped build two pollinator gardens at the site. Up next is the renovation of the futsol court, and in Fall 2018, an adjacent playground will be built. Stay up to date on this exciting project by subscribing to our newsletter.
Every year, RunningBrooke inspires thousands of children to be more active, which sparks focus and enables learning. To date, RunningBrooke has provided support to over 10,000 children. We raise money from generous donations from the community, community events and milestone celebrations, and the wonderful support of our sponsors – dedicated businesses whose leaders recognize the power of philanthropy on positive outcomes. To learn more, visit Your Impact.
We are a primarily an all-volunteer organization with a part-time staff of two. We count on a dedicated group of volunteers who serve on our board, plan our events, distribute grant funds and conduct site visits, mentor our charity partners, and compete in running races. Our Board members are active in the community outside of their commitment to RunningBrooke, serving Alexandria in multiple roles.
RunningBrooke.org is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our Form 990, is available upon request.