George Eastman House Photo Finish 5K hits the streets Oct. 6 — a single fundraiser benefitting more than 50 Rochester causes

This “Philanthropy Challenge” presented by MVP Health Care returns for its second year; info sessions July 10 and Aug. 14

For Release 2012-06-27

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Using social media to fundraise across generations — in the spirit of George Eastman’s philanthropic legacy — the George Eastman House Photo Finish 5K presented by MVP Health Care returns to the streets for its second year Saturday, Oct. 6, to raise funds for numerous non-profit causes. This “philanthropy challenge” allows dozens of organizations to raise funds via a single event, and Rochester has embraced it. Last year, more than 1,000 runners and walkers participated, ranging in age from 4 to 82, and raised close to $300,000 for more than 50 organizations and causes.

The 5K route, which is certified by USA Track & Field, begins and ends at Eastman House. It includes the Neighborhood of the Arts and ArtWalk and passes by numerous Rochester landmarks, many built or supported by George Eastman. The Photo Finish 5K embodies Eastman’s philanthropic spirit and his ideals of wellness and health. He often used his philanthropy to encourage others to give, resulting in the creation of Rochester’s United Way and Red Cross chapters as well as Strong Memorial Hospital. He wanted Rochester to be the healthiest and best city in the world in which to live and work, and gave most of his fortune to Rochester causes, hospitals, and universities.


How can several organizations benefit from one event?

The Photo Finish 5K allows organizations of any size to raise money while Eastman House staff and volunteers handle the event organization. While Eastman House raises money from registration fees, participants representing various organizations can raise money via pledges to run or walk in the Photo Finish 5K. Individuals or teams can sign up on behalf of their favorite non-profit organization. This type of philanthropy model has been successful in major cities, with this local race modeled after the London Marathon, which has raised millions of dollars for charity.

The dozens of Rochester area organizations that benefited from pledged funds in 2011 include the Autism Council, Friends of Ganondagan, Lollypop Farm, Open Door Mission, Palmyra Community Library, R.I.T. Young Professionals, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Wilmot Cancer Center, and Wilson Commencement Park.

“Not-for-profits must find new ways to both collaborate and generate revenue to support our various missions,” said Rod Cox-Cooper, CEO of Wilson Commencement Park. “We applaud George Eastman House for having the vision to bring the local community together, while benefitting the organizations — and people — who are in the greatest of need. In addition, a walk/run event provides an opportunity for a fun and fitness-focused event, which can be enjoyed by the staff, clients, board members and friends of our organization.”   


How to start fundraising/attend an info session

To facilitate fundraising, the Eastman House has teamed up with Crowdrise, an innovative, online fundraising site, which encourages donations of any denomination. Crowdrise was founded by actor and activist Ed Norton, film producer Shauna Robertson, and brothers Robert and Jeffro Wolfe.                                    

Charity teams and individuals can register online for the Photo Finish 5K at Eastman House is hosting info sessions Tuesday, July 10 and Aug. 14, to explain how to set up a charity page and create a team. Each session will run from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in Eastman House’s Curtis Theatre, which is accessible through the Eastman House Café entrance off the parking lot. The sessions are open to the public and one can RSVP by calling (585) 271-3361 ext. 445, or emailing Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptops, so they can get started during the session.

An additional component to the Photo Finish 5K is a global reach, since participants need not be in Rochester. The race can be run or walked anywhere, while still raising money for a chosen Rochester-based charity.  Numerous prizes will be offered to participants, for both top fundraisers and those with best finishing times, including cash for charities of choice.

The cause raising the most funds in 2011 was the Wish List Society for Wilmot Cancer Center.

“MVP Health Care is exceedingly proud to be the presenting sponsor of the George Eastman House Photo Finish 5K event which benefits not only Eastman House but also many other worthy community charitable organizations,” said David W. Oliker, president and CEO of MVP Health Care. “I can think of no better opportunity than this one to illustrate MVP’s commitment to support the programs that lead to healthier communities and overall community betterment.”

The two co-founders of the Photo Finish 5K are Victoria Cherry, representing the Eastman House Board of Trustees and Eastman House Council, and Rachel Pikus, representing the Eastman Young Professionals. MVP Health Care is the presenting sponsor, with Medved Running and Walking Outfitters and Monroe County Water Authority providing additional support. In-kind activities on race day include an outdoor area for children staffed by the YMCA of Greater Rochester, chair massages by students of Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, and musical inspiration from Bush Mango Drum & Dance.


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