June 19, 2008
Run, Brad, Run!
A few years ago we announced our support of a charity called the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis (see the post about it here and learn more about Accelerated Cure here). While we have a strong culture of giving back to the community at Return Path and do that in several ways, we chose this charity as the main beneficiary of our corporate philanthropy efforts for three reasons:
- We wanted to support research into finding a cure for MS to honor and support one of our earliest colleagues, Sophie Miller Audette who was diagnosed with MS about 5 years ago (and is still going strong as one of our key sales directors!) – and since then, two other members of the Return Path extended family have also been diagnosed with MS
- We wanted to support an organization with a focused mission and one where our contributions could really make a difference
- Accelerated Cure has a very entrepreneurial, innovative culture that’s consistent with our own – and a solution-oriented approach to their cause that resonates with our business philosophy
We got introduced to Accelerated Cure by Brad Feld, one of Return Path’s venture investors, who is a friend of Art Mellor, Accelerated Cure’s founder and CEO. Brad’s an interesting guy for many reasons, but one reason is that he has a goal of running 50 marathons (one in each state) by the time he’s 50. He has eight years and 40 marathons to go, and to make it a little more significant he decided to try and drum up some sponsorships for his quest and donate the money to Accelerated Cure.
Return Path has decided to be one of Brad’s anchor tenant sponsors by pledging $1,000 for every race he completes. This is half of Brad’s goal of $2,000 per race, and we hope it will inspire others to donate so he can beat his goal. Of course, Brad wants to do more than just run these marathons – he wants to, well, accelerate his performance. So, taking a page out of the VC handbook, we’re setting up an incentive program for Brad of an additional $500 donation for every race that he completes in less than four hours.
Besides liking both Brad and Accelerated Cure, this particular vehicle for donating money is especially meaningful to us. A good number of Return Path employees past and present have run marathons and even competed in triathlons and Ironman competitions (including yours truly, but in a way that certainly makes me want to keep my day job). And Seth Matheson, Accelerated Cure’s new development director who has MS, is an avid marathoner who is contemplating an Ironman competition himself. And as I always tell our team members, running a startup is a marathon, not a sprint!
You can follow Brad’s progress – and make a donation yourself – here.