Walkers raise $56,974 for 13 Fort Bend charities
Thirteen Fort Bend non-profit groups received donations totaling $56,974 from the second annual TelfairLife Charity of Your Choice Walk, held March 28 at the Telfair community in Sugar Land.
Coming at a time when many charities are struggling to raise money, the $56,974 raised represented a 26 percent increase over the amount raised in the first TelfairLife Charity of Your Choice Walk, held last spring. With 566 walkers registered for this year's event, the number of participants was up by 53 percent over last year.
"We had hoped to exceed last year's numbers for the Charity of Your Choice Walk, and we were thrilled by the very high level of involvement from the Fort Bend community," said Kiva Mann, TelfairLife coordinator. "The event was a great example of the community coming together to support worthy causes and make an impact in our Fort Bend area."
Money was raised through registration fees paid by walkers, with 100 percent of each fee going to the charity chosen by the registrant. TelfairLife, a community service organization in Telfair, provided an additional $20,000in challenge prizes.
In addition to individual walkers, more than 20 organized teams engaged in a spirited competition for the prize money offered by TelfairLife. Teams were formed by local businesses, churches, schools and neighborhood groups, such as the Telfair Tamales, a team formed by the Telfair Women's Association. The Kempner Kruisers, a team of 37 sophomore student council members at Kempner High School, raised $940 for its charity, Child Advocates of Fort Bend.
In the Charity Challenge, prizes were awarded to the charities with the most pre-registered walkers. The top prize of $5,000 went to the Second Mile Mission Center, and Child Advocates of Fort Bend won $3,500 in second place. The Fort Bend Community Partners Rainbow Room won third place, a prize of $1,500.
The Rainbow Room, which supports social service caseworkers by providing basic necessities such as diapers and school supplies to families in crisis, received an additional $5,000 for winning the Team Challenge, which rewarded the team that raised the most money.
In the Walker Challenge, $1,000 prizes were awarded to the top five individual walkers who raised the most money for their charities. The Rainbow Room also scored big in this category, with first-place Wende Lewis (raising $2,800), third-place Ronald Booker ($2,190) and fifth-place Rita Sosebee ($1,295) each winning $1,000 for the charity.
Additional Walker Challenge prizes went to Larry Davis, who ranked in second place for raising $2,190 for National Alliance on Mental Illness Fort Bend. In fourth place, Marisa Liang raised $1,505 for the Second Mile Mission Center.
The Rainbow Room was the single largest beneficiary from the Charity of Your Choice Walk, raising over $22,826 in prize money, proceeds from registration fees and sponsor donations.
"The proceeds from the walk come at a time when they are greatly needed to help us purchase major items such as beds, cribs and strollers for our clients," said Tonya Lewis, executive director of The Rainbow Room.
The morning kicked off with a pre-walk warm-up led by Shape Up Sugar Land, another participating non-profit. After the race, everyone enjoyed a post-walk party with snacks and refreshments, rock-climbing wall, inflatable games, music and massage chairs. Sugar Land City Council member Jacquie Chaumette, who served as the MC for the event, helped Mann hand out prizes to charity officials. Mayor pro-tem Micheal Schiff and council member Donald Olson also attended.
Events such as the Charity of Your Choice Walk were exactly what Travis Stone, senior vice president for Newland Communities, had in mind when TelfairLife was created.
"As a developer, we invest a lot to provide recreation centers, parks, landscaping and the entire amenity package, and this investment is very meaningful to residents," Stone said. "A community service organization such as TelfairLife, helps us to capture that intangible but most precious 'amenity' - a vibrant sense of community that makes each resident feel like they are part of something greater than their own household or street. When it works - and we think it works wonderfully at Telfair - it enhances not only the community but the entire surrounding region."
Other groups benefitting from the TelfairLife Charity of Your Choice Walk included Fort Bend Family Promise, East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry, Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels, Keep Sugar Land Beautiful, Literacy Council of Fort Bend County, the Arc of Fort Bend County, Fort Bend County Women's Center and Asians Against Domestic Abuse.