B.A.A. to distribute $125,000 in unrestricted grants in coordination with collaborative
BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has announced the creation of the Boston Running Collaborative. The Boston Running Collaborative is led by representatives from Greater Boston’s running and non-profit communities and will provide leadership, oversight, guidance, and support in the formation of the Boston Running Collaborative Steering Committee.
Expected to launch in January 2022, the Boston Running Collaborative is a new initiative that will be comprised of organizations and individuals committed to building a diverse Boston running community, improving health and wellness, and expanding access to running and walking in Boston with a focus on communities of color. It is the culmination of a year-long dialogue with community leaders.
“The B.A.A. has a long history of community programming that engages athletes of all ages and abilities,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. President and C.E.O. “The Boston Running Collaborative builds on our commitment to racial justice and our vision of a world where all people can access and benefit from running and an active lifestyle. We must be intentional to bring greater representation and diversity to the sport and we recognize our role as conveners of the collaborative to support that.”
In addition to Grilk, the Boston Running Collaborative Steering Committee includes the B.A.A.’s Director of Youth and Community Engagement, Suzanne Walmsley, and Director of Athletic Programs, Wayne Levy. The Steering Committee is also comprised of five community leaders:
- Adrienne Benton, Member of the National Black Marathoners Association and Black Girls Run!
- Sherman Hart, Manager of Track & Field, Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center
- Thaddeus Miles, Director of Community Services at MassHousing and founder of Hood Fit
- Kamilah Rowe, Former Head Track and Field Coach at John D. O’Bryant High School
- Ruben Sança, 2012 Olympian and Assistant Athletics Director for Administration at UMass Lowell
The Steering Committee will guide the development of the Boston Running Collaborative, engaging individuals and community organizations in identifying, developing, and prioritizing running and walking initiatives.
“During these times of increased diversity, equity, and inclusion awareness, we often talk about being invited to the dance and being asked to dance. This collaborative takes it a step further,” said Thaddeus Miles. “Providing a sense of belonging, where others and I get to plan the dance and decide if we should have a dance. I’m excited about the substantial impact and change we can make as a collective.”
The B.A.A. will also increase financial support for organizations whose missions focus on expanding access to running and walking for youth and/or adults of color. In honor of the running of the 125th Boston Marathon, and in consultation with the Boston Running Collaborative Steering Committee, the B.A.A. will give $125,000 in unrestricted grants to organizations that have engaged with the B.A.A. in this work. The grants will be announced leading up to the 125th Boston Marathon.
Additionally, the B.A.A. is proud to support the Road to Wellness 5K for the seventh year through a contribution of $30,000. A community-based collaboration between the Dimock Center, Hood Fit, and the B.A.A., the Road to Wellness 5K is aimed at inspiring mind, body, and spiritual health through fitness and exercise, while also celebrating Roxbury’s history and diverse culture.
“We’re proud to be a founding partner of the Road to Wellness 5K, and have watched the event grow over time,” said Grilk. “The B.A.A. endeavors to harness the spirit of the Boston Running Collaborative to identify models like the Road to Wellness so we can continue to engage diverse communities in running and walking.”
Since 2015, the B.A.A. has partnered with The Dimock Center and Hood Fit to help support the Road to Wellness 5K. The race is free for all participants, helping break down any potential cost barriers that would prohibit members of the community from participating. The 2021 Road to Wellness is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 11.