If there's one thing nonprofits need more of, it's money. Saving the world doesn't come cheap, and shoestring budgets make things a lot harder for altruistic organizations.
This fact of life is the impetus behind the first 5K PARK Fest, a brand new fundraising platform and festival designed to bring in as much philanthropic pay dirt as possible to South Florida's worthy causes.
It's not just about the moolah, of course. PARK Project (the organization hosting PARK Fest) is based on the warm fuzzy notion of performing acts of random kindness (PARKing, as they call it) on a grand scale. Because South Florida could use
a little a lot more kindness and charitable giving.
What makes the 5K PARK Fest extra special is that half of each $40 registration fee goes straight to the participant's nonprofit of choice. That's $20 per person in the pocket of a cash-strapped charity. They're hoping to have 5,000 PARKticipants (as they're dubbed), which would total in the neighborhood of $200,000 for charitable causes.
Benefiting causes can run the gamut from non-profits to school groups to civic and/or faith-based organizations. It's free for the organizations to sign up. Once they do, race registrants can choose them as their cause.
And while this isn't PARK Project co-founder Marly Quincoces' first rodeo (she's been an event producer in South Florida for 15 years) it's a whole new ballgame this year.
The bubbly Quincoces (known as Marly Q) launched the organization's first 5K back in 2011 with fiancee Humberto Casanova in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Now, the 5K PARK Fest has expanded on that mission, and is embracing a whole new way of promoting kindness and service.
"We wanted to come up with a way to have our event be impactful to the greatest number of people." says Quincoces. "Ever since I've been young I've been involved with so many causes and organizations and philanthropic groups -- I kind of owed it to everybody to create an event that could support as many as possible, without me having to choose just one. To me it was one of those 'aha, Eureka!' moments."
Marly Q and crew are encouraging people of all ages and capabilities to sign up and show some philanthropic love. They can run, jog, walk, skip, hop, or just hold signs and cheer at the finish line.
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Anyone can create a team -- or join one that's pre-existing. Thus far, they have 26 teams in place and 50+ organizations signed up as benefiting causes supporting everything from cancer research, to animal advocacy, to environmental efforts. These include City Year Miami; the Humane Society of Broward County; the FIU Alumni Association and Center for Leadership and Service; Florida State University's Young Parents Project; TECHO; S.T.A.R.S. Autism School; Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, and lots more.
In addition to the 5K portion of the day, the festival will also feature a host of other stuff on site, including live music, sunrise yoga, art, beach volleyball, games and giveaways.
The 5K PARK Fest takes place on November 2 from 6 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. at the North Shore Bandshell, Collins Avenue and 73rd. Street. The family festival is free, and race registration is $40. Visit 5KPARKFest.org.