Charity Running

2019_CARA_Spring_sum_4c_F_logo (2).png

press to zoom

press to zoom


Every year, the Chicago Area Runners Association provides support and resources for charity teams and their runners who choose to make their miles more meaningful by running on behalf of a charity. This year, charities need our help more than ever. Help support and run with a charity you are passionate about.


CARA provides over $65,000 per year in training program fee subsidies to support its charity team partners, allow for charity teams to provide CARA training programs for free to reduced rates.

Need help choosing a charity team? Contact Mary at to learn more about our charity partners.

Are you a charity team leader interested in partnering with CARA? Go HERE.

Charity Partners

Achilles International

Achilles International was founded by Dick Traum, the first amputee to run a marathon in 1976. Seeking to provide the same opportunity to other people with disabilities, Dick created the Achilles Track Club in 1983, now called Achilles International. Today, Achilles International is a non-profit organization with chapters and members in over 65 locations within the United States and abroad. Every day, in parks, gyms, and tracks all over the world, Achilles provides athletes with disabilities with a community of support. Able-bodied volunteers and disabled runners come together to train in an environment of support and community. Within this community, runners gain measurable physical strength and build confidence through their sense of accomplishment, which often transfers to other parts of their life. Achilles Chicago is a chapter of Achilles International which reaches out to Chicagoland athletes with disabilities and supports them with training, race entry fees, and socials. All funds raised through the Chicago Marathon for Achilles International go directly to enabling athletes with disabilities to compete in mainstream athletics.
Contact: Ashley | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon TCS New York City Marathon

Advocate Health Care

Join Advocate Health Care’s Inspired to Run team and help ensure that more than one million people have access to world-class care close to their home. Running for charity can be the motivation you need to get through the race—you are not just running for yourself, you are running to make a difference in the lives of others. Not only will you support those in need, but you will also inspire your friends, family and coworkers to give back to cancer research, help children and adults with Down syndrome, support the nurses and physicians who save lives each day and much more. Our team members receive a FREE entry to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, FREE CARA training and access to our day-of-marathon team hospitality tent for gear check and a place for your loved ones to meet you post-race to celebrate. Contact: Paige Vranas | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

After School Matters

After School Matters is a non-profit organization that provides life-changing after-school and summer program opportunities to nearly 19,000 Chicago high school teens each year. In 2016, TEAM After School Matters began with a mission to provide life-changing opportunities for Chicago teenagers. Since our first race, nearly 150 athletes have dedicated their miles while raising over $100,000. TEAM After School Matters will be an experience that expands beyond crossing the finish line. You will be part of a network of individuals dedicated to raising funds for the future of Chicago – our teens. Contact: Beth Bentley | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Alive Rescue

ALIVE Rescue is a Chicago-based rescue that protects the lives and rights of all animals. We believe every animal has the right to a well-balanced, socialized and fulfilled life. We take on the responsibility to save, rehabilitate and place abandoned, abused and stray animals. We provide medical, behavioral and physical support for animals despite age, health and/or breed. ALIVE Rescue promotes sustainable living and caregiving by building awareness, appreciation, and respect for all animals and the environment.
Alive and Running aims to intertwine the running community with the animal community. We allow runners the opportunity to save the lives of animals in need with every step, every mile and every race. Alive and Running embraces teamwork, compassion and respect among its team of runners. Supporting ALIVE Rescue earns runners the title of Hero, as they truly help save lives. Take a run, rescue a life and be a hero! Contact: Kristen Gerali | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Alzheimer's Association

In the United States, an estimated 5.4 million people are living with Alzheimer's disease, and someone develops the disease every 67 seconds. Unless something is done, as many as 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer's in 2050 and someone will develop the disease every 33 seconds. The end of Alzheimer's starts with you! Today, the Association reaches millions of people affected by Alzheimer’s across the globe through our headquarters in Chicago, a public policy office in Washington, D.C., and a presence in communities across the country. We are the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Contact: Tracy Collings | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter

The mission of the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter is to discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest. The ALS community needs your help to put an end to this devastating disease. When you participate, advocate, and donate, you advance the fight to find the cure and lead us toward a world without ALS!

The ALS Association helps patients and families cope with the day to day challenges of living with ALS by providing information, resources, and referrals to many sources, including a wide variety of community services. The ALS Association's nation-wide network of chapters and other partners provide localized patient and family support in communities across the country.

Contact: Sarah Brandt | sarah@alsachicago.or


Opportunities / Bibs Available:

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

TCS NYC Marathon

America Needs You

Founded on the belief that socioeconomic status should never be a barrier to college persistence and career success, America Needs You (ANY) fights for economic mobility for ambitious, first-generation college students. We do this by providing transformative mentorship and intensive career development opportunities. Our two-year program offers 200+ hours of in-person professional development, one-on-one mentoring and coaching, internship planning and placement support, and targeted case management to support students most in need. Since 2009 ANY has opened educational and economic doors for over 1,400 low-income students at sites across the US. This year 550 Fellows are enrolled in ANY, with more than 900 alumni supported through our network nationwide. Contact: Satori Bailey | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

American Brain Tumor Association

The American Brain Tumor Association’s (ABTA) Team Breakthrough endurance program. Team Breakthrough allows runners from beginners to the more advanced to participate in endurance events nationwide. Currently, more than 700,000 people in the U.S. are living with a brain tumor diagnosis. Your support allows the ABTA to fund desperately needed brain tumor research, patient programs and support services. Contact: Kitty Snow |
Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

American Cancer Society Team DetermiNation

The American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer. The American Cancer Society DetermiNation program will help you do the unthinkable, achieve what seems impossible, and change the course of cancer forever. With access to professional training, an unparalleled community of support, and inspiration every step of the way, the American Cancer Society will help you finish a half-marathon, marathon, or triathlon. Your personal race victory will change your life, but the finish line will be just the beginning. Because your triumph also means a triumph over cancer - where every step you take and every mile you conquer will create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Contact: Chris Bowles | | 312-279-7255 Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon TCS NYC Marathon BMW Berlin Marathon Virgin Money London Marathon Marine Corps Marathon Big Sur Marathon Rock n Roll Marathon Series Dozens of other races all throughout the world, visit for a full list

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies: Funding scientific research, Educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention, Advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention, Supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide in our mission, Through their fundraising, members of the AFSP Race Team help support AFSP’s activities, raise awareness of suicide and mental health issues and help remove their stigma. Contact: Steve Moore | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

The Anti-Cruelty Society

Welcome to Team Anti-Cruelty! We are extremely grateful to you for your heartwarming commitment to run on behalf of the 20,000 animals that we care for each year. Because of your dedication, dogs that were victims of horrible abuse and neglect will finally discover their second chances in life. Cats that were left in the cold will find happiness and comfort in the warmth of their new families. You will make an immediate and a significant difference to all of them. With each mile, each footfall, and each ragged breath, you do more good, you make more of an impact, and you save more lives. And we will be with you every step of the way. If you have a question or concern, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. If you need help with fundraising tips or suggestions, or would like us to promote you on social media, we will gladly do so. We are thankful for your friendship, and we are excited for the journey that we will take together. On behalf of all the animals, we thank you. Contact: Allison Johnson | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Apna Ghar

Apna Ghar provides holistic services and conducts outreach and advocacy across immigrant communities to end gender violence. At Apna Ghar we recognize that immigrant survivors of gender violence in the United States face unique challenges, including limited access to legal, social, protective and support services. Apna Ghar provides comprehensive and holistic services to survivors as they begin their journeys of healing and empowerment. We also conduct community education and address systemic barriers that immigrant survivors face. Contact: Uneza Akhtar | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Best Buddies

Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The IDD community that Best Buddies serves includes, but is not limited to, people with Down syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and other undiagnosed disabilities.
Contact: Alexis DeJulio | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Big Shoulders Fund

Big Shoulders Fund: Big Shoulders Fund is an independent 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization that serves inner-city Chicago Catholic schools which provide a quality, values-based education for Chicago’s children, thereby contributing to stronger communities. Today we support 76 schools –63 elementary and 13 high schools—educating 20,000 students –80 percent minority, 65 percent living in poverty, and a third not Catholic—and are investing $18 million a year. One hundred percent of funds currently raised support four major areas – scholarships and enrichment, operational improvements, academic programs, and leadership development – with the goal of not just strengthening schools, but whole communities, and preparing students for life-long success. This investment is paying off with 96 percent of students graduating high school and 86 percent of scholars going on to college.

Contact: Kevin Pitts |


Opportunities / Bibs Available:

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Center for Independent Futures

We uphold a vision for the future where individuals with disabilities have access to all opportunities of a full life. We create innovative product and service models that give individuals with disabilities and their families the skills and opportunities to realize full lives. Center for Independent Futures creates opportunities for individuals to access choice, experience, responsibility, and relationships through their own processes. Our goal is for each individual to reach his or her greatest potential and become a contributing member of the community. Contact: Niki Moe | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Chicago Area Runners Association

At CARA we know running is more than simply sport, running changes lives!. The funds you raise as a Team CARA Charity Runner allow CARA to bring programming to runners of all ages and galvanize neighborhoods around community focussed running events like 'Go Run. CARA also works hard to support the entire running community through a variety of advocacy and volunteer programs that protect and support running throughout Chicagoland.
Contact: Jill Andrada | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is the only non-profit in Illinois dedicated to advocating for public policies that curb and can ultimately end homelessness. Our organization leads strategic campaigns, community outreach, and public policy initiatives that target the lack of affordable housing in metropolitan Chicago and across Illinois. In addition, CCH presses for access to jobs, training, and public schools. Our community organizers, policy specialists, and public interest attorneys advocate with people hurt by homelessness, including mothers with children, students, unaccompanied youth, ex-offenders, prostitution survivors, and low-wage workers. To preserve our independent voice, CCH does not accept government funding. Instead, we advocate for funds to create housing and improve services and opportunities for people who are homeless or at-risk, and to support the programs that serve homeless families, youths and adults. Contact: Claire Sloss | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Diabetes Project

Cellmates on the Run is a running team that brings individuals together to achieve a common goal: cure diabetes. When you join the official running team of the Chicago Diabetes Project you’ll be raising money to advance diabetes research and a functional cure through islet cell transplants. Together, every mile brings us closer to a functional cure for diabetes. To date we have raised over $1 million to fund life-changing diabetes research. Will you choose to challenge yourself and help outrun diabetes? Please join us. With your help, we’ll be 26.2 miles closer to a cure. Contact: Jill Dine | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon TCS NYC Marathon

The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation

The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation is the only non-profit organization in North America exclusively dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected by cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer). Approximately 10,000 people in the United States are diagnosed each year with this hard-to-diagnose, difficult-to-treat, fatal type of cancer. Cholangiocarcinoma is a rare but deadly cancer that has very little name recognition or awareness. Due to this lack of visibility, it is often overlooked as symptoms can mimic those of other illnesses and diagnosis comes too late. Conventional cancer treatments remain ineffective against cholangiocarcinoma, and most people diagnosed with advanced disease have less than a 5% chance of surviving at least five years. While almost 2 out of 3 people with bile duct cancer are 65 or older, people of nearly any age can be diagnosed. There has been an alarming increase in the past decade of young individuals being diagnosed in their 20’s, 30’s or 40’s. Your support of Team CCF will significantly enhance awareness and recognition of bile duct cancer and raise critical funds for research, outreach and education to serve all those affected by cholangiocarcinoma. Contact: Meredith McGuffage | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon TCS NYC Marathon

Cornerstone Community Outreach

Cornerstone Community Outreach has a long standing commitment to providing shelter and finding homes for families and individuals who are at the greatest risk of being excluded from necessary services. Ready to join Team CCO to make a greater difference with your efforts and help end homelessness? We are ready for you! Contact: Andrew Winter | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Chicago Parks Foundation

The mission of the Chicago Parks Foundation is to build a stronger community dedicated to supporting and conserving parks in Chicago. Without Chicago's 600+ parks and 26 miles of Lakefront Trail, where would you run? Thousands of runners choose to make their Chicago Marathon experience more meaningful by running on behalf of a charity. Team ChiParks members share a passion for our amazing Chicago parks and help to raise important funds that directly support our mission. Since 2014, Team ChiParks has raised more than $250,000 for the Chicago Parks Foundation. Join us! Contact: Brandy Freeland Kuhl | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Chicago Police Memorial Foundation

The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to honorg the lives of our fallen heroes. The Foundation provides support and assistance to the families of Chicago police officers who are killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty. Established in 2004, the Foundation strengthens the relationship between the Chicago Police, its business and civic leaders, and its citizenry. It allows us to express our gratitude to the fallen officers' families for the ultimate sacrifice of their loved one.
Contact: Bridget Schuda | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Danny Did Foundation

Team Danny Did supports the Danny Did Foundation (DDF) and its work to protect kids who face epilepsy, a disease that will impact 1 in 26 Americans. Founded in Chicago by two parents who lost their son Danny at age 4 following a seizure in his sleep, the DDF works to advance awareness, spread education and inspire hope for people who are touched by epilepsy. We offer our marathon team members a FREE race entry, plus FREE access to the CARA training program. The funds raised by runners make a direct impact on families facing seizures by enabling them access to devices that alert a caregiver when a seizure takes place. These resources are critical because Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is less likely to happen after a seizure if somebody is present. Run for a cause that knows how important it is to enjoy life! Contact: Mary Duffy | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Girls in the Game

At Girls in the Game every girl finds her voice, discovers her strength and leads with confidence through fun and active sports, health and leadership programs. Contact: Jessica Larson | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association

Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association’s (GLASA) motto is to “Let No One Sit on the Sidelines!” GLASA believes that individuals with physical or visual disabilities should have the same opportunities and access to inclusive recreation, fitness and competitive sports activities. GLASA offers opportunities for empowerment through education, leadership and training in collaboration with community-based organizations. By becoming a charity runner with Team GLASA you are helping to provide programs and improve the health and wellness of these individuals. Started with less than a dozen participants, GLASA now serves over 1020 individuals in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin each year through direct programming. Over 3,000 youth and adults are also served each year through education and outreach initiatives. Educational clinics and elite level competitions bring in athletes, teams and families from around the country. Become a charity runner and go the distance with Team GLASA. Contact: Cherie Hrusovsky | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Greater Chicago Food Depository

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is Chicago’s food bank. We provide food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. We do this in partnership with 700 agencies and programs including pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and responses for children, older adults and veterans. This network distributes food where it is needed most throughout Cook County. Since 1979, the Food Depository has made a daily impact on hunger across Cook County. Last year, the Food Depository distributed nearly 70 million pounds of food, 38% of which was fresh produce. Every day we distribute the equivalent of 159,000 meals. Contact: Jessica Yung | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

GRIP Outreach for Youth

GRIP Outreach For Youth is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization created to address the needs of fatherless teenagers in Chicago’s inner city. Connecting these youth with caring Christian mentors to build “life-on-life” relationships, GRIP provides programs and recreation to develop young people spiritually, mentally, and physically. Many of our teens are from neighborhoods where very few have a father figure in their lives and far too many end up in jail, addicted to drugs, or even dead before they turn 25. Since its founding in 2004, GRIP has introduced a father-figure and the hope of Jesus Christ into the lives of hundreds of at-risk teens who desperately need someone to love them and walk life alongside them. Contact: Natoshia Portis | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Illinois Spina Bifida Association

Illinois Spina Bifida Association works to improve the quality of life of children, adults, and families living with spina bifida. Spina bifida is the failure of the spine to close properly during pregnancy. ISBA works to: promote skills development and independence, improve family resilience and access to resources through outreach, education and advocacy, and provide targeted financial assistance.

ISBA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1969 by a group of parents. We work in partnership with families, service providers, volunteers, and funders throughout the state. ISBA serves more than 900 families and has outreach collaborations with spina bifida clinics at local hospitals. Our programs include: social workers who can do home visits, Camp Independence run by the YMCA, GoBabyGo – electric cars for young kids to improve their mobility, conferences, resource referrals, support groups, play dates, adult groups, scholarships, equipment fund, and research awards.

Contact: Matt Larsen |


Opportunities / Bibs Available:

Bank of America Chicago Marathon


JDRF funds research that transforms the lives of people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). We want a cure, and we won’t stop until we find one. Along the way, we will continue to drive scientific progress that delivers new treatments and therapies that make day-to-day life with T1D easier, safer and healthier. JDRF works every day to change the reality of this disease for millions of people—and to prevent anyone else from ever knowing it—by funding research, advocating for government support of research and new therapies, ensuring new therapies come to market and connecting and engaging the T1D community.

Contact: Libby Winter |


Opportunities / Bibs Available:

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

TCS NYC Marathon

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Team In Training is the flagship fundraising program for LLS and the only endurance sports training program for charity that raises money for blood cancer research. Started In 1988, Team In Training is now the largest charity endurance training program in the world – powered by 650,000 athletes who have raised over $1 billion. It doesn't matter if you're not an athlete or in perfect shape. Our coaches will train you to cross the finish line at a marathon, half marathon, cycling event, triathlon, climb or hike adventure. Contact: Amy Ketchum | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon Boston Marathon Virgin Money London Marathon TCS New York City Marathon

March of Dimes

March of Dimes fights for the health of all moms and babies. We're advocating for policies to protect them. We're working to radically improve the healthcare they receive. We're pioneering research to find solutions. We're empowering families with the knowledge and tools to have healthier pregnancies. By uniting communities, we're building a brighter future for us all. For 80 years, March of Dimes has helped millions of babies survive and thrive. Now we’re building on that legacy to level the playing field for all moms and babies, no matter their age, socio-economic background or demographics. We support moms throughout their pregnancy, even when everything doesn’t go according to plan. We advocate for policies that prioritize their health. We support radical improvements to the care they receive. And we pioneer research to find solutions to the biggest health threats to moms and babies. Contact: Alexandra Ziolko | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Mercy Home for Boys and Girls

Since 1887, Mercy Home has been a solution for kids in crisis. With your support, we can continue the legacy of bringing healing and opportunity to hurting kids for years to come. Our team provides a guaranteed entry, free training, fundraising support, Heroes gear and a pre-race pasta dinner. But the biggest perks come on race day. You will get a Hero's welcome from the children you're helping as you run past Mercy Home at Mile 17. And our Hero HQ provides you with real indoor bathrooms, gear check, food, postrace massages and more! We will even shuttle your cheer squad from HQ to Mercy Home and back via trolley. Our homes are 99.9% privately funded, so money raised by our Heroes is critical. In 2019, 319 participants raised more than $850,000 that provided shelter, food, and clothing, as well as therapeutic, academic, and vocational support. Contact: Jim Harding | Website:

Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

The Morton Arboretum

Team Morton Arboretum runners will achieve an incredible athletic al while championing trees here and around the world. Team Morton Arboretum is furthering the mission of The Morton Arboretum to plan and protect trees for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Team members fundraise to ensure threatened trees here, and around the globe, are conserved and protected. Contact: Natalie Knight | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

National MS Society

When you join the Finish MS Chicago Marathon team, you are changing the world for people affected by MS. Symptoms of MS range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million worldwide, and there is not yet a cure. Every dollar raised matters to those affected by MS. So, lace up your running shoes and support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society! Participate in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon AND Raise awareness and funds for programs and resources for people with MS. It’s easy, it’s fun and you’ll feel good from head to toe! Contact: Shannon Feeny | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

One Tail at a Time

End pet homelessness by making pet ownership a joyful and accessible experience for all. We accomplish this by rescuing animals from overcrowded shelters, placing them in loving forever homes and providing support and resources to pet owners in need. As of 2019 One Tail at a Time hosts a bustling dog adoption program at the Adoption Center, an ISO Program focusing on Chicago’s dogs, a Kitten Team that cares for neonate kittens, vaccine clinics in low income neighborhoods, and leads the Chicagoland Rescue Intervention & Support Program (“CRISP”) which keeps pets intending to be surrendered at the city shelter with their loving families. Contact: Laura Slivka | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Open Heart Magic

Open Heart Magic (OHM) trains and certifies volunteers who work to improve the hospital experience for kids in Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Cleveland. By engaging these patients with specially developed magic tricks performed and taught at their bedside, OHM volunteer Hospital Magicians can engage patients regardless of their age, condition, diagnosis, or background. In 2017, our volunteers engaged over 12,000 patients, one at a time, as well as nearly 17,000 friends and family members. Our volunteers' work can turn a scary experience into an exciting one, as patients learn tricks they perform for family and friends (and often, medical staff at the hospital!). Our volunteers’ magic transforms the patients into kids again. Contact: Becky Evans | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Organization for Austim Research

OAR was founded in December 2001 by seven individuals whose lives and families had been directly impacted by autism. They shared a common vision and set out on a singular mission – to apply science to answer the daily questions and challenges that autism presents to individuals with autism, their families, teachers, and caregivers.

There are many organizations dedicated to autism. What distinguishes us from other organizations is our singular focus on applied research and the quality and practical value of its resource materials. The studies we fund and the information resources we provide have meaning in the day-to-day lives of persons with autism and their families. Rather than fund research relative to cause and cure, we funds pilot studies on topics of more every day relevance such as education, parent and teacher training, communication, self-care, social skills, employment, behavior and adult and community issues. In pursuing its efforts to change lives, our ultimate focus is quality of life.

Contact: Sean Flynn |


Opportunities / Bibs Available:

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

TCS NYC Marathon

PAWS Chicago

The Mission of PAWS Chicago is to build No Kill communities, starting with Chicago, that respect and value the life of every cat and dog. It is only by engaging people in the cause of homeless pets that we will build No Kill communities. People adopt. People spay or neuter their pets and prevent them from breeding. People volunteer their time, donate financially and spread awareness in their network. By inspiring and mobilizing people, we are able to create collective impact that brings about change. This is why community engagement is the foundation of what we do at PAWS Chicago. Contact: Carrie Cihasky | | 773-475-3308 Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon Virgin Money London Marathon BMW Berlin Marathon TCS NYC Marathon Schneider Electric Paris Marathon

Respiratory Health Association

Run for Healthy Lungs & Clean Air! Whether it’s your first triathlon or your 100th 5K, dedicate your efforts to healthy lungs and clean air as a member of Respiratory Health Association’s Lung Power Team. Asthma, COPD, lung cancer and other lung diseases may have touched you personally and clean air affects us all. Make every stride more meaningful in the race of your choice, by raising funds for education, research and policy changes that help people live better. Contact: Rebecca Weingberg-Doptis | Website: Opportunities / Bib Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Salute, Inc

SALUTE, INC. is dedicated to meeting the financial, physical and emotional needs of injured veterans and their families. SALUTE works individually with each veteran applicant to assess their current situation and determine how we might offer assistance. The most common requests are for help with housing, car, grocery and utility bills. However, sometimes the financial assistance is more specialized, e.g. an adaptive bike so the veteran can rehabilitate or compete, textbooks or tuition assistance to continue their education, or a laptop to facilitate a job search. SALUTE works one on one with every veteran applicant to meet their specific needs, tailoring our response so it will have the greatest impact on their lives. Contact: Sue Hussey | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Smile Train

Team EMPOWER is the endurance fundraising program of Smile Train that gives athletes the opportunity to make their race count toward providing free cleft surgery and comprehensive care to children in need. Many children with clefts around the world live in isolation, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking. Smile Train provides training and financial support for the treatment of clefts, empowering local medical professionals to treat cleft patients with life-changing surgery and related comprehensive cleft care that they would not otherwise be able to access. Every step, every lap, and every mile means more than crossing the finish line — it means more smiles, new beginnings, and the opportunity for children with clefts to live full and productive lives. Join us and change the world one smile at a time. Contact: Bridget Lively l Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon United Airlines NYC Half Big Sur International Marathon Virgin Money London Marathon BMW Berlin Marathon TCS NYC Marathon

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.

As a Hero, you'll raise funds for the kids of St. Jude while you train for your race. The dollars that Heroes raise help ensure that families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Do more with your race. Be a Hero, and run for the kids of St. Jude.

Contact: Kristine Paca | kristine.paca@stjude.or


Opportunities / Bibs Available:

Bank of America Chicago Marathon TCS NYC Marathon

Taller de Jose

Taller de José is a community resource center located in the Little Village Neighborhood of Chicago. Its mission is to connect people to services and services to people so that all may be one. Contact: Melissa Salinas | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Urban Initiatives

Founded in 2003, Urban Initiatives' mission is to empower Chicago's youth to become agents of community change through academic success, healthy living and leadership development. We amplify the inherent power of sports and teamwork to unify diverse stakeholders and strengthen communities. Our structured, incentive-based programs provide opportunities for kids to grow and learn by starting young and serving the needs of the whole child from elementary school to high school and beyond. By utilizing soccer as a vehicle for programming, participants are able to grow from Player to Captain to Coach, roles that increase in responsibility, leadership opportunities and ownership over time. Urban Initiatives currently serves 17,000 participants in 57 Chicago Public Schools from 38 diverse communities. Contact: Mary Grace Pankratz | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

UPS for Downs Chicago

UPS for DownS is a parent directed, non-profit organization offering support, education, and encouragement for parents, families and others who love and care about persons with Down syndrome. We inspire community acceptance by sharing with others the presence, potential and abilities of people with Down syndrome. Contact: Terri Devine | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Ronald McDonald House Charities

Every day, families face the emotional and economic toll of having a child in the hospital. Together with the support of our community, we provide housing to keep families together, and provide a comfortable, warm, and loving home away from home. For over four decades, Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana has helped more than 100,000 families stay together with their hospitalized children. Our programs have grown as families of children with complex medical issues continue to need comfort and care. Contact: Katie Marchetti | Website: Opportunities / Bib Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is to cure cystic fibrosis and to provide all people with CF the opportunity to lead long, fulfilling lives by funding research and drug development, partnering with the CF community, and advancing high-quality, specialized care. The CF Foundation is the world's leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis, and nearly every CF-specific drug available today was made possible with our financial support. We are a donor-funded, 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is fully accredited by the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance program. Contact: Hannah Tolman | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos

NPH USA transforms the lives of vulnerable children in Latin America and the Caribbean by supporting the homes, health services and educational programs of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH, Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”). Together, we help children overcome poverty and become leaders in their own communities. NPH is fully supporting nearly 3,300 boys and girls in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. An additional 2,800 community children receive scholarships, meals, health care and other support. More than 107,000 services were provided through community outreach programs in 2019. Contact: Casey Guevara-Lehker | Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

The Salvation Army

Make your miles meaningful. Join The Salvation Army in Doing the Most Good in greater Chicagoland, northern Illinois, and northwestern Indiana. Team Salvation Army runners of all backgrounds will further the mission of The Salvation Army locally by raising funds to relieve hunger, provide shelter, combat addiction, prevent evictions, nurture children, and more to help our neighbors in need. Team Salvation Army runners will receive fundraising tips, technical race shirt, tickets to pre-race pasta party, access to CARA training, and more! Contact: Suzie Brashler | | 773-853-5331 Website: Opportunities / Bibs Available: Bank of America Chicago Marathon


Charity Partnerships

The Chicago Area Runners Association's (CARA) charity partnership program allows charitable organizations of all sizes and interests to partner with CARA as they raise funds through charity running fundraising. Running for charity allows runners to make their miles more meaningful. CARA charity partners are able to connect with CARA's community of runners through a variety of resources, including training programs that help runners reach the finish line and stay on target for their fundraising goals. CARA provides over $65,000 per year in training program fee subsidies to support its charity team partners.

Charity team leaders, contact Mary at to learn more about how a CARA partnership can support your team and its fundraising efforts.