Raising Funds and Awareness: It’s a Walk in the Park to Support Local Nonprofits

For nonprofit organizations, determining how to creatively and successfully meet annual fundraising goals can be difficult and time-consuming – and frequently not a lot of fun. With the dual intent of putting the “fun” back in “fundraising” and bringing together other local nonprofit organizations – including, educational, environmental, and youth-focused groups – Mount Madonna School (MMS) is again hosting its annual community walk-a-thon and celebration –a family event intended to make fundraising as easy as a walk in the park!

All nonprofit organizations are invited to participate in the 6th annual Summit for the Planet Walk-a-thon on April 28. Mount Madonna will coordinate the event and do most all the work, while participating groups are invited to organize a team of walkers to walk for their organization, and their walkers, in turn, are urged to gather pledges of support.

Depending on the number of walkers and amount pledged to each walker, organizations will have the opportunity to cover a hefty portion of their annual fundraising needs – without the hassle and expense of running their own fundraiser! There is no charge for organizations to sign up and participate; and organizations keep 70% of what they raise in pledge, and 30% is used to offset the costs of organizing and running the event.

 “It’s much better than selling cooking dough or wrapping paper,” comments Pamela Blunden, parent of an MMS senior and MMS’ Outreach and Special Events Coordinator. “Organizations are able to retain a higher percentage of the money raised, and it’s good for the environment. This format allows people of all ages to spend time together outdoors in a beautiful natural setting, while also raising money for a cause that is important to them!”

In talking with other schools and groups about fundraising, Blunden says she is repeatedly hearing how more and more families are steering away from having to participate in door-to-door sales. “With Summit for the Planet, walkers don’t have to go door to door! Instead they can utilize social media – or just make a phone call – to seek support from friends, family, or even grandma and grandpa who live on the East Coast. Pledging support is convenient and easy from any location via the Summit for the Planet website.”

The event will run from 9:00am to 1:30pm on April 28. Registration will begin at 9:00am, with the walk starting promptly at 10:00am. After the walk-a-thon participants are invited to join in the celebration, featuring a kids eco-carnival, solar car races, ‘trash fashion’ show, live music, and delicious, organic foods!

Celebration participants will spotlight sustainable ‘eco-living’ and education, and represent a broad range of environmentally-focused businesses and nonprofits, from the Sulphur Creek Nature Center to Save Open Space, Gilroy; the Bat Conservancy of Central California, Uvas Gold Apiary, and the Fitz Wetlands Education Resource Center. Attendance at this annual event has grown to some 500 people of all ages, from across south Silicon Valley and the Monterey Bay areas.

The support of key sponsors is essential to this event. Event organizers are honored that numerous local businesses have offered support, including Real Good Solar who’s 2008 solar installation on the school’s upper campus rendered the campus, and the event, 100% solar powered! – the Michael Lee Environmental Foundation and SunRidge Farms.

“We are proud to sponsor the 2012 Summit for the Planet festival,” comments Josh Lorey, solar power consultant for Real Goods. “As a leader in the sustainable energy industry for more than 30 years, Real Goods Solar is dedicated to working towards a healthier future and reducing the human ecological footprint on Earth. We appreciate Mount Madonna School’s commitment to education and environmental conservation, and we are looking forward to this fun and green family event!”

Other event sponsors include: the Santa Cruz Sentinel, KAZU 90.3FM. the Register-Pajaronian, and SantaCruzParent.com.

“The Summit for the Planet event has it all,” comments Parmalee Taff, publisher of SantaCruzParent.com. “Family-friendly activities involving children in the planning and execution, raising our consciousness about taking good care of our planet, dedicated adults working with children, fundraising for a worthy cause and entertainment.” 

Things to know when you go:
6th annual Summit for the Planet walk-a-thon and celebration, April 28 from 9:00am-1:30pm*. Hosted by Mount Madonna School, 491 Summit Road, Mount Madonna. Free event with $5 carbon offset parking (waived for participants of Summit for the Planet and alternative energy vehicles). For more information visit:
SummitforthePlanet.org and on Facebook at facebook.com/summitfortheplanet, or call Pamela Blunden at (408) 846-4035.

*Walk-a-thon participants must pre-register; registration begins at 9:00am; the walk begins at 10:00am.


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, Marketing & Communications,