Hartford Business Journal

October 5, 2015

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www.HartfordBusiness.com October 5, 2015 • Hartford Business Journal 3 Hartford Marathon aims to boost charitable giving By David Medina Special to the Hartford Business Journal T he Hartford Marathon has so established itself as a sig- nature event in Connecticut that its organizers at the Hartford Marathon Foundation want to leverage that position to provide additional help to local charities. Beth Shluger, executive direc- tor of the foundation and a life- long runner, biker and swimmer, acknowledges that it's now a lot easier to raise sponsorship money, than it was in 1994, when she launched the first marathon with $30,000 and 352 runners. Today, she can comfortably count on the presence of 16,000 people to run the marathon and several shorter races originating in Bushnell Park Oct. 10. The run- ners, moreover, will be joined by 60,000 spectators and volunteers. "We have a high-quality prod- uct that appeals to all age groups and all nationalities," Shluger said. "We're recognizable. We don't have to explain who we are." The marathon's 60 sponsors are headed by Eversource, the energy company formerly known as Northeast Utilities, which signed a three-year agreement in 2014 to be the title contributor. The sponsors include numerous other corporations seeking to raise their profile and connect with their employees and the community. Race sponsorship packages now range from $2,500 to $50,000 with varying benefits, such as hav- ing customized event programs. According to foundation spokes- woman Elizabeth Cowles, revenues from those packages increased 20 percent in the last year alone and 34 percent since 2011. This year, the foundation is ask- ing sponsors to step up the exper- tise and promotional services that they typically offer to the "official" charities that help stage the race, with an eye toward increasing their donations from $325,000 in 2014 to more than $500,000. "We're not so concerned with our own survival because we're strong," Shluger said. "So we're now focusing on what more we can do for our community. Our sponsors are completely on board with it." The perks associated with becoming an official charity of what is now the Eversource Hart- ford Marathon are significant: fundraising assistance, exposure on the marathon website and on all printed materials distributed at the race, and the opportunity to have a display table in the Bushnell Park Charity Village on race day. Eversource even hired a video production crew to cre- ate promotional spots for the five charities that do the most to help with race management. The charities, in turn, are required to provide a minimum number of volunteers and run- ners for the event and to set a specific dollar amount in dona- tions that they want to raise for their own organizations. Premier-tier charities must deliver no less than 45 volunteers, a team of at least 75 runners and raise at least $20,000 through their affiliation with the mara- thon. Gold-tier charities have a 30-50-$10,000 requirement and silver-tier charities must make a 20-20-$5,000 commitment. The new emphasis on helping the official charities raise more money has been well received. Foundation officials say that the number of runners raising money for the official charities has increased 10 percent from last year's total of 1,200. Continued 860.871.1111 Toll Free: 800.741.6367 nemsi.com License #'s: E1-104939 • S1-302974 • P1-203519 • F1-10498 • SM1-192 • MC-1134 MECHANICAL • ELECTRICAL • PLUMBING • SHEET METAL • BUILDING AUTOMATION • FACILITIES SERVICES FACILITY SOLUTIONS…ONE SOURCE Only one company can build, power, protect, and maintain the critical systems in virtually every type of facility. Our clients trust us to deliver end-to-end facilities solutions, so they can focus on their core business. We design, install, maintain, and protect systems in: Industrial Facilities Manufacturing Facilities Commercial Facilities Higher Education Facilities Healthcare Facilities Pharmaceutical Facilities Last year, Hartford Marathon runners (shown below) had to contend with the rain, which nega- tively impacted the overall economic impact of the event because it attracted fewer patrons. P H O T O | C O N T R I B U T E D

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