Press release from Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, Tammy VandenBusch

Like many running events, the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon took place virtually in 2021 with runners completing their chosen race miles on their own or in small groups. Despite the distance between runners this year, participants ultimately came together to make a big difference for local nonprofits and COVID-19 relief efforts. The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon is proud to award a total of $75,510 to its 2021 charity partners: Casa ALBA Melanie, New Community Shelter, Oneida Nation Emergency Food Pantry, Paul’s Pantry, Russel Leicht Disabled American Veterans Chapter 3, St. John’s Homeless Shelter and The Gathering Place.

“The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon has always aimed to help runners achieve their goals while giving back to the community. In the midst of a pandemic that put our in-person event on the sideline for a second year, we shifted focus from personal achievements to a collective mission to do something more for those in need. We encouraged participants to Run for Their Lives and raise money for organizations making a difference in our community. Their commitment, along with the support of our sponsors, allowed us to make this impactful donation,” said Dr. Ashok Rai, president and CEO of Prevea Health and board president of the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.

This year’s donation includes a $10,000 matching gift from CoBank’s Sharing Success program. Title sponsor Cellcom nominated the event and its charity partners for the donation. Sharing Success relies on CoBank’s customers to identify organizations and programs that are making a difference in rural communities.

Since its inception in 2000, the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon has donated more than $1.6 million to 24 local charity partners. Funds in 2021 are being directed toward COVID-19 relief efforts with a focus on areas of hunger, homelessness and mental health. Each of the partners not only saw an increase in need for its services during the pandemic, but also had to reimagine how to provide those services safely.

“Like so many in our community, St. John’s has felt the impact of COVID as we navigated our most difficult year to date,” Alexia Wood, Executive Director of St. John’s Homeless Shelter said. “However, as Mr. Rogers mother encouraged him: any time there’s disaster, always look for the helpers. This past year has highlighted the greatness that exists in our community. The helpers, the supporters, the neighbors. We could not do the work we do without the support of partners like the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. Their support allowed us to continue meeting the need, even growing our services to address gaps in our community, while navigating the pandemic. We are humbled to be part of a community committed to neighbor helping neighbor and grateful for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon for their commitment to creating a compassionate community for all.”

Mary Poppele Award recipients, given to the top fundraisers, were also announced today. The award is given in memory of Mary Poppele, an avid marathon fundraiser, who passed away in April 2004 while training for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. Paul Fischer was recognized as an individual fundraiser for raising $1,275 and the St. John’s Board of Running team, comprised of members of the St. John’s Homeless Shelter board of directors, was recognized for raising $1,645.