The YMCA of Metro North has seen hundreds of runners participate in their charity virtual 5k races over the past few months.  The organization launched the virtual runs to fill a gap in its fundraising efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds support its emergency response to the public health crisis, such as meal distribution, emergency childcare for essential workers, temporary shelter for the homeless, infant supplies, and blood drives.

“Runners in our virtual charity 5ks have contributed more than $4,500 to the YMCA to help us continue our service to the community,” said Julie Gerraughty, Director of Development, YMCA of Metro North. “Usually, this time of year, we host several road races, a charity golf tournament, and other outdoor events. In lieu of an in-person race, we hope these virtual runs keep people active and healthy while supporting a great cause.”

Next up in the virtual 5k series is Beat the Heat 5k, scheduled from July 16-19, 2020. Participants need to register for the event, complete the 5k distance at any location between these dates, and share a photo or screenshot on the YMCA of Metro North social media pages. The runs are not timed, and no running experience is necessary- walkers are encouraged to join in the fun as well. Names of all participants are entered into a drawing for raffle prizes.

The YMCA has shifted its member engagement and fundraising in other ways as well. Since their facilities closed on March 16, 2020, the association has created other virtual opportunities for its members. These opportunities include an online group exercise community called Studio Y, resources to maintain mental health and wellness, a public service campaign with video instruction on water safety, and Zoom educational sessions with its Y Academy pre-school students to keep children engaged.

The association will also host its premier fundraiser, the Where in the World Auction and Gala virtually this Fall. The online event will be hosted in collaboration with lead sponsor GraVoc and will take place on September 17 at 7:00 pm. It will include entertainment and the opportunity to win raffle items, auction prize packages, and a chance at a $5,000 grand prize.

“Innovation and adaptability are key to nonprofit fundraising right now. We want to make these events as fun and engaging as possible for our supporters,” Kathleen Walsh, President and CEO, YMCA of Metro North. “We rely on our fundraising events every year to support our charitable work, provide summer camp and child care to families in need, and scholarships to members who need financial help. No one is ever turned away from the Y for an inability to pay. These events are vital to continuing that critical piece of our mission.”

Registration for the Beat the Heat charity virtual 5k is now open at