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Looking for a Creative, Healthy School Fundraiser? Try a Color Run!



The Albert Einstein Middle School Associated Student Body (ASB) located in Shoreline, Washington, just north of Seattle, organizes and supports many of the school’s student activities. Throughout the year this group of elected 7th and 8th grade students plans events such as assemblies, movie nights, school dances and after-school clubs. All of these activities – plus ensuring that the after-school activity bus runs - cost money.

In previous years, they coordinated a “pass-the-hat” donation drive, and through parent donations, they typically raised around $2,000. This year, school Principal Nyla Fritz encouraged the students to try something different: a 3K Color Run. The students took on the challenge and “ran” with the idea! Along with their faculty sponsors, Adrienne Janacek and Tamara DuBois, the ASB members developed their plan. They did some online research (and watched some great YouTube videos) on what a color run looks like, determined all the pieces they would need to coordinate to make it happen, and set goals. 

The ASB hoped to have 100 participants, each paying $20 entry fee to receive a t-shirt and participate in the run. They promoted the event through flyers sent home with students and emails to middle school parents. They also invited the students currently in 6th grade and their families to participate. This had the added benefit of engaging the rising students into this school activity.

The students broke up into committees to plan the event, and they all pitched in to make the powder used in the run. The school’s cross country coach laid out the event course, and worked with the city to gain use of the park adjoining the school grounds.

“The students were the leaders in making the run happen. They held five committee meetings, invested around 10 to 15 hours making powder, and volunteered another 6 hours the day of the run from set-up to clean-up,” said Ms. Janacek.

Although the ASB didn’t promote the color run to the community, information about it made its way onto Facebook and registrations continued to come in. The day before the registration deadline, they had received 40 entries, but ended up with 304 registrations prior to the event, and another 30 registered on site the day of the run. With all of the last minute registrations, the students made the decision to buy additional powder for the run since there just wasn’t time to make more.

Parents and ASB students volunteered at the event running registration, staffing the concession stand (with healthier snacks being sold), tossing color, and ensuring the runners stayed on course and out of the streets. Balloons and music made the day even more colorful and festive.

According to Ms. Janacek, the most challenging part of the process was ensuring that everyone was registered and that every participant had a waiver form on file prior to the start of the event. After all expenses were paid, the students raise more than $4700 for ASB activities for the 2016-17 school year!

Following the run, they sent out a survey to the faculty and staff who participated to ask how they could improve the run in future years. Most agreed they would be willing to pay up to $25 to participate in the future, but that overall the color run had been a great experience.

The students and faculty agree that there is tremendous opportunity for this event to grow in its second year, and that in addition to being a great ASB fundraiser, it could also be a way for the students to connect with others living in the neighborhood.

Take Action: Learn more about healthy fundraisers you can adopt in your school district.