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Human Race Picking Up Steam – NW Herald

To sign up for the Human Race, please visit: and be sure to choose Home of the Sparrow as your agency of choice! If you do not wish to participate, you can donate directly on this page.

With the first McHenry County Human Race 5k fundraising event approaching, organizations have been sprinting to sign up.

“It’s been exciting to see it grow,” said Rebecca Stiemke, executive director of the United Way of Greater McHenry County Volunteer Center. “And we do expect more.”

As of Wednesday, the race will benefit 30 organizations, although that number rapidly has been growing. Stiemke said the majority of the groups had signed up in the past two weeks. The 30 agencies signed up hope to raise a combined $86,300, based on each organization’s goal for the race.

The event, which will be at 9 a.m. April 16 in McHenry by the Volunteer Center, is the first in Illinois.

The concept of a “human race” collaborative fundraiser has been used for more than 20 years in other locations, asking area organizations to sign up and recruit participants.

The race is appealing to nonprofits for many different reasons, said Joe Kvidera, who signed up Turning Point of McHenry County, a nonprofit that combats domestic violence.

“We’re very excited they put it together,” Kvidera said. “Normally when we do a fundraiser, it’s people who already [know] Turning Point. This is a way that reaches a whole group of people.”

Turning Point hopes to raise $2,000 through the event, and already has seen 31 people sign up. His group also hopes the event will be easier financially than many fundraising events that involve overhead. “We really don’t have any gamble,” Kvidera said. “If we did this and nobody decided to participate, it would’ve been a shame, but it wouldn’t have cost us anything.”

Debbie DeGraw from Home of the Sparrow homeless shelter said she believed the event would be helpful as nonprofits struggle economically. “It’s pretty labor intensive to have your staff run an event,” DeGraw said. “Today, everybody is trying to save their staff time.”

The collaborative nature of the event will allow participating agencies to pocket 75 percent to 90 percent of what they raise, depending on how much they raise. It also helps put the entire McHenry County fundraising community in the same place at the same time.

“What’s really nice is there’s a synthesis,” Kvidera said. “It’s us, the volunteer center, the runners, it really brings together different aspects.”

DeGraw thinks that could appeal to potential runners, too. “There’s a million run-walks out there,” DeGraw said. “There’s so many things to go to. So you can go to this and support multiple agencies.”

Groups and individuals can sign up at



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