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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
March 5, 2024

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WHY Community sets goal of providing 2,000 free race entries

Founder hopes to give at-risk people chance to participate

By , Columbian staff reporter

WHY Community provided a free opportunity for 1,647 individuals to train for and participate in around 15 local runs and triathlons in 2022.

“The individuals we serve include kids, veterans, breast cancer survivors and so many others,” said Sherri McMillan, founder and president of WHY Community. “We serve anyone who could just really benefit, and we provide them an incentive to just get out there and do it.”

McMillan started WHY Community in 2018, with a goal of providing at-risk populations the opportunity to prioritize their health by eliminating financial barriers to participating in runs and multi-sport events.

In 2022, more than 1,200 of the 1,647 individuals served through WHY Community were children, according to McMillan, who hopes to help prevent childhood obesity. She hopes to serve 2,000 this year.

“Kids of all levels, we need to teach them that being healthy is important … I hope to start them young so they develop a lifelong love of health and fitness,” McMillan said.

Not only does the funding from WHY Community go toward covering race entry fees for individuals, the organization also partners with local nonprofits to aid in fundraising efforts. In 2022, WHY Community raised more than $135,000 for local nonprofits including Pink Lemonade Project, Police Activities League, Share and Foundation for Vancouver Schools, among others, according to a press release.

“Many local nonprofits now rely on our peer-to-peer fundraising opportunities to raise funds for their important causes,” McMillan said in the release. “Our mission not only benefits the individuals we directly serve, but in addition, provides a wonderful fundraising opportunity for many other local nonprofits.”

Since WHY Community launched in 2018, the organization has funded race entries for 9,667 individuals and raised $2.2 million for local nonprofits, according to the release.

To learn more about WHY Community and how to donate or register for a free race visit whycommunity.org.

Columbian staff reporter