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​About Our Work


The Chicago Area Runners Association, CARA, is a non-profit organization committed to serving and advocating for the local running community. We are Chicagoland’s running club, providing accessible opportunities for all runners to train, race, learn, be social and volunteer. 

Your support of CARA makes the following impacts on our local community:

  • Advocacy: CARA has a mission to serve and advocate for the running community. We've been the voice of Chicagoland running since 1978 with countless successes including successfully calling for the re-opening of the Lakefront Trail and 606 Trail in 2020, and the Lakefront Trail separation project completed in 2018.

  • Community Service: From park clean-ups, trail improvements, community events, and volunteering, CARA serves Chicagoland's entire community.

  • Removing Barriers: Making running more accessible through the neighborhood park-based ‘Go Run program, which provides free and welcoming 5K and 1 Mile events in underserved parks and our CARA Run Crews which are expanding opportunities to connect with organized running groups around Chicagoland.

  • Charity Running: Providing resources and support for charity teams, including over $65,000 in subsidized training for charity runners. CARA charity runners raise over $1-million per year for local and national charities.

  • Hydration: Hydration stations along the Lakefront Trail and at six different suburban trailheads serve up to 20,000 cups of water and Gatorade Endurance on a given weekend.

  • Better Races: CARA Race Certification and race director clinics and education, helping local races improve their safety and operational standards.

  • Education: Clinics and resources from top experts to help runners gain the knowledge to take their running to new levels.

  • Programs & Events: CARA produces high-quality programs and events that inspire runners of all levels to reach personal goals, improve their mental and physical health, and to experience the community and camaraderie that CARA has long been known for.   

Ways to Give

Online Giving: Give online by credit card HERE.

Giving By Mail: Mail your gift to CARA, checks payable to Chicago Area Runners Association, to 1540 S Ashland Avenue, Suite 201, Chicago, IL 60608.

Giving By Phone: Speak to one of our staff, and giving over the phone by credit card. Call 312-666-9836.

Wire Transfer: Transfer money by wire transfer. For account/routing details email

Donations of Stock or Securities: Donors may gift stocks or securities to CARA through our William Blair account. Contact Jason Friske at for details.

Matching Gifts: When you donate to CARA, check with your employer about matching gift opportunities. CARA is a 501c3 not-for-profit and meets most employer's matching gift requirements. 


Corporate Partnerships: CARA will partner with companies looking to reach runners through our events, programs, and communications through corporate partnerships. E-mail with inquiries.

Charity Running: Make your miles more meaningful by running and fundraising for Team CARA 'Go Run at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Learn more HERE.

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