Saturday’s Human Race a fund raiser for non-profits

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan's Human Race is an effort to create more with less.
The race is also a fundraising event designed to benefit the community of local not-for-profit agencies, Kathy Rossow, executive director of the volunteer center, said.
It takes place Saturday at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Buchanan.
The race consists of a 5K run, 5K walk and a one-mile fun walk.
Rossow said close to 20 local not-for-profit organizations have signed up to take part in the race so far.
She said the Human Race project was started by the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan a few years back, but this is the first year the race is held.
She said smaller not-for-profit agencies who try to organize fundraising events, soon realize how much time organizing and implementing a fundraiser takes.
With the volunteer center organizing this fundraiser, the different local agencies can instead concentrate on collecting money that will benefit their own organization, she said.
Although the volunteer center receives 10 percent of the money collected by agencies participating in the Human Race, 90 percent of the money goes to the local agencies.
Rossow said deadline for registration is Friday.
However, runners and walkers are not required to participate in the contribution aspect of the race, Rossow said.
Rossow said the event will take place regardless of the weather. The 5K will begin near the entrance to Fernwood.
All registered participants will receive Race t-shirts until supplies are gone, she said.
She said participants will also receive a two-day pass to the botanical garden.
Rossow encourages those who haven't signed up yet to be at Fernwood by 8 a.m. Saturday.
Although not too many individuals have signed up to run or walk in the race, Rossow is expecting a good turn out Saturday. Corporate sponsors of the event are Lakeland Regional Health System, Meijer of Benton Harbor and Tyler's Automotive in Niles. Prizes will be awarded to the first place male and female runners, but the top finisher in each age group will also be recognized, Rossow said.

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