Old Bill's Fun Run For Charities (also commonly referred to as Old Bill’s) is an innovative fundraising event, administered by the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, which takes place annually in the town of Jackson, Wyoming. The first event of its kind in the nation, Old Bill's began in 1997 and to date has helped Jackson Hole charities raise over $53.5 million. Funds from the event are restricted for use in Teton County, Wyoming and Teton County, Idaho, however 2007 marked the last year of participation by charities from Idaho.
With the help of Old Bill's Fun Run, the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole was recognized in 2001 as the number one per capita granting community foundation in the United States, an honor it has consistently earned every year since.
The idea for Old Bill's Fun Run for Charities came from an anonymous couple affectionately known as Mr. and Mrs. Old Bill, whose vision was to expand the charitable pie in Jackson Hole by encouraging the entire community to participate in philanthropy.
With the help of the Community Foundation, they developed a fundraising structure whereby donors could contribute to as many organizations as they liked with one simple donation to the Community Foundation and the money would be matched by Mr. and Mrs. Old Bill and several other major contributors known as Co-Challengers. Additionally, Mr. and Mrs. Old Bill specified that $250,000 from the Match Fund be set aside each year for use in the Community Foundation’s biannual competitive grant allocations. To celebrate the community’s philanthropic spirit, the giving period concludes with a Fun run in the heart of town, probably the single most unifying event in the Jackson Hole community.
Each year, Mr. and Mrs. Old Bill donate $500,000 to the Match. The Community Foundation of Jackson Hole then solicits additional matching contributions from donors called Co-Challengers. Co-Challengers donate at five levels: Titanium ($100,000), Platinum ($75,000), Gold ($50,000), Silver ($35,000) and Bronze ($25,000).
In the months leading up to the event, donors make gifts of all sizes to their favorite nonprofits and charities. Old Bill's makes giving easy as donors need only fill out one form and write one check to give to as many local organizations as they like. Non-profits can raise as much money as they wish, of which the Community Foundation matches the first $25,000. They still receive 100% of donor contributions in excess of $25,000, but that money is not matched.
On the second Saturday of September, over 3,000 people come together for a giant celebration of community spirit and support. The day is filled with a Fun Run and Walk, entertainment, food and informational booths. The magic of a community celebration combined with ease of giving has increased awareness about the work of Jackson Hole organizations and has enabled them to raise over $53.5 million in the last eleven years (including a record-breaking $7.7 million in 2007). Along with the money, the ideal of a broadly philanthropic, caring community has enriched Jackson Hole and the lives of its citizens.
When the last contribution is tallied, the Community Foundation calculates the match percentage. From the total match money raised by the Co-Challengers, 20% is subtracted and distributed to local nonprofits through a twice-annual competitive grants process.
The remaining matching funds are compared to all eligible contributions made on behalf of local nonprofits. The ratio of matching funds to donor contributions provides the match percentage. The match is added to all funds raised by each participating non-profit allowing the donor's contribution to make an even larger impact!
For the first time, Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities was held on the Jackson Town Square, a move approved by the Town Council with the support of the Farmer’s Market. In addition, Old Bill’s has “gone green” with promotional materials printed on recycled paper using environmentally friendly inks. This critical upgrade more adequately reflects the environmentally conscious character of the Jackson Hole community. Finally, “Baby Bills” took part in the first ever Old Bill's diaper derby by crawling to the finish line clad in their Old Bill’s onesies.
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