The students at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Washington, have learned the valuable lesson that it’s often better to give than to receive. As Director of Development, Laura Rose, explains, the students and their families not only give their time but also share their good fortune each year simply because they care about their school. That giving took on an extra special meaning during this year’s annual Jog-A-Thon.
Charles Wright Academy has been using PledgeStar as it’s fundraising platform for several years. “It makes it really easy for families to participate,” Ms. Rose explains. “They only have to register once and don’t have to re-enter all of their information each year. The PledgeStar system gives them an option to send requests to everyone they did last year.”
Thanks in part to using the PledgeStar platform, Charles Wright Academy was able to surpass their goal of $20,000—raising almost $26,000 at this year’s event.
While many schools rely on prizes or incentives to motivate students, Charles Wright Academy takes a different approach with fundraising. “We’ve not done any big incentives [for the students] like prizes,” says Ms. Rose. “We’ve kept it focused on supporting their school. Everybody runs whether they’re participating in the fundraiser or not. It’s been a long-standing tradition for at least 30 years.”
Each year, the Academy designates Jog-A-Thon proceeds for a specific school need. Past projects have included new playground equipment, new bike racks, and even water bottle filling stations. This year, Jog-A-Thon proceeds helped with the extra expenses incurred to keep students safe and continue in-person learning on campus during the pandemic. Additionally, after witnessing so many food banks serving many more people than usual, the school made the decision to share their good fortune. “Normally all the money has gone toward the school for class parties or other special purchases,” Ms. Rose explains. “This year, we decided to give half of the revenue to one of our community partners, one of the local food banks [Emergency Food Network]. I think that fact contributed to people being much more generous this year,” says Ms. Rose. Charles Wright’s generous donation helped the food bank provide more than 60,000 meals to needy families in the community.
Charles Wright Academy parent, MarcKia Wilson, shared the school’s decision to pay it forward. “My son said, ‘Mom, if my family was in need, I hope that somebody in the community would step up to help us get back on our feet.’ He feels it’s our responsibility to give back to the community and help it grow because this is where we live.”
Ms. Wilson was also impressed with how easy it was to use PledgeStar. “A lot of parents have a lot going on—from work, to children—and the PledgeStar platform is simple. It was so easy that my son was able to pull email addresses from my contacts and put them in the system. It’s simple, quick, easy and I love that folks can leave little messages to support the kids.”