Runners will be at the starting line at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26, for Foundation 153’s annual 5K Fund Run.
This year the attendees will be in person, although virtual runs are encouraged for those who want to support the nonprofit’s work but not be in a crowd.
Money raised at the Fund Run will help Foundation 153 provide grants to staff and programs at District 153’s Willow, Churchill and James Hart Schools in Homewood.
Runners can register here on Foundation 153’s website. The cost is $25 per person plus a small processing fee.
To receive a complimentary Fund Run T-shirt, attendees must register by Sept. 8, but runners can register up until the time of the race.
A crowd of runners will start the run near the corner of Aberdeen Street and Hickory Road and the District 153 Dale Mitchell Administrative Office.
These funds are so “they can fulfill their wish list or their needs that maybe can’t be covered under the [District] 153 budget,” said Melissa Jacobsen, president of Foundation 153. “These are little extras that the teachers may want. It’s some of those small things that maybe don’t make it into the budget. Because they’re like the cherry on top.”
Foundation 153 funds have allowed teachers to attend conferences for professional development, Jacobsen said. It’s helped provide furniture for students with special needs and 3D printers for James Hart’s technology lab.
When all students were virtual during the beginning of the pandemic, Foundation 153 provided a grant to help the district cover the cost of providing every student with a laptop or iPad, Jacobsen said.
She sees the work of the foundation as essential to District 153 operations because “the school isn’t just paying for programming. They’re paying to keep buildings open. They’re paying to provide competitive salaries so that they can get employees who are worth having at the schools.”
For those concerned about running in a crowd of people during a pandemic, the Fund Run has the option of a virtual run.
“If they’d rather run it on Saturday morning or Tuesday afternoon, it just gives them the opportunity to do it at a different time,” Jacobsen, explaining the virtual run option. “Obviously, there’s less of a splash. They just sort of do it on their own.”
In years past, the Fund Run had short relays and dashes for kids in District 153. Jacobsen said she expects this to be canceled this year.
"With the COVID numbers increasing and the variant particularly affecting children, we are re-considering that part of it," said Jacobsen. "It's really hard to control children wearing their masks. Although it's supposed to happen, we are really considering pulling that part of the Fund Run.
“If people have any interest in being a part of it and any questions, we’re going to try and be at the upcoming Farmers Market on Saturdays,” Jacobsen said. “We can answer questions and help sign people up.”