A Virtual Walking Success

L. The Conley family, l.-r.: Dave; daughters, Diana and Elena; and wife, Tina, with pooch, Lucy. R. Chris throws a celebratory fist-bump after completing his 5k.

June 25, 2021

Since the pandemic, we’ve had to create ways to continue our fundraising efforts – even outdoor events – in a virtual environment.​

A great example is the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio’s 19th Annual Walk, Rock, Run virtual fundraiser race. Participants could choose their own course, such as a treadmill, neighborhood streets, hiking trails and more. Those who navigate the world on wheels, whether by chair, bike or rollerblades, also participated. Employees who couldn’t commit to the race could make a donation.

The FirstEnergy team surpassed our $2,000 goal — raising $2,864 through direct donations and pending FirstEnergy Foundation Matching Gifts contributions. We helped the Diversity Center surpass its goal of $200,000 and raise a total of $252,432.

“I’m extremely grateful and thankful to all who participated, along with their families and friends, and those who donated,” said Laura Redenshek, director, FEU Safety & Human Performance, and member of the Diversity Center’s Executive Leadership Committee and board of directors. “I can’t wait until next year. Hopefully, we can do this event in person and walk, run or roll together as a team.”

The good thing about a virtual fundraiser is that employees can participate from any location. For example, West Virginia employee Christopher Walker took part while vacationing at Walt Disney World in Bay Lake, Fla. He completed his 5k run in the parking lots of Animal Kingdom Lodge.

“The start date of the event coincided with the first day of my trip to Walt Disney World. Running this virtually at the Animal Kingdom Lodge worked perfectly,” said Chris, a project scheduler IV at the Parkersburg Service Center. “The Diversity Center is doing a great job in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. I was very happy to support this worthwhile event. Next year I’m planning to travel to Cleveland and participate in person!”

Dave Conley, consultant, Regional External Affairs, served on the event planning team and participated with his family.

“During our family walks we have great conversation, and this event provided the opportunity to not only do an activity we love, but also discuss bigotry and racism on a level that my young children could understand,” said Dave. “I think the Diversity Center’s programs which expose people, especially our youth, to the diversity of our neighbors and colleagues are so very important.”

The Diversity Center promotes understanding, respect and institutional equality on matters of race, age, religion, sex, ethnicity, culture, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. The center achieves this through youth programming and by promoting diversity and addressing institutional bias in the workplace.

Proceeds from Walk, Rock, Run will enable the center to empower more than 14,000 youth and educators in 11 counties during the 2021-2022 academic year.