How Advance Partners Employees Have Championed Fundraising for Local Cancer Charity for over 15 Years and Counting
Since first getting involved in 2007, Advance Partners employees have collectively raised over $130,000 for The Gathering Place, a local charity that supports individuals and families affected by cancer through free services and programs. Their annual ‘Race for the Place 5K’ is a big part of how they fund those free programs, and Advance has been a major participant.
Jeremy Bilsky, current Senior Director and General Manager, says this has everything to do with the passion and commitment of the Advance team. “At this point, it’s a huge part of our identity as a company and the employees who have been here know the deal. January through June, it’s Race for the Place time. It’s amazing and inspiring to see the creativity and generosity at play every year.”
Lillian Rucker and Nancy Imes, longtime champions of the Race for the Place initiative, may look sweet – but they know how to part you with your money! For a good cause, of course.
“It’s fun to come up with new ideas for to raise funds for Race for the Place. 50/50 raffles, bake sales, silent auctions, “jeans weeks” – you name it, we have tried it! But we’re always looking for new ways to get people excited about this cause,” says Nancy.
Nancy and Lillian also recall some humorous fundraising attempts over the years.
“Once we had a gourmet grilled cheese station which, while very popular, did knock out power for the Accounting team for a few minutes” interjects Lillian. “The head of the department wasn’t thrilled but hey – those sandwiches were good and we made a few bucks!”
The reason Advance employees are passionate about this cause is often close to home. Lillian recollects about current and past employees affected by cancer. “We have had several employees and family members that beat the odds and kicked cancer in the can! We do it for them. And we do it for the ones we have lost to cancer-related illnesses. Those are the ones we will forever keep with us in spirit.”
Nancy recalls a special year honoring one such colleague. “One year that really goes down as special in my heart was when we went purple to honor our friend and colleague Lynda Lacey who lost her battle to cancer in 2018. We love and miss her very much!”
The global COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 definitely changed things up for fundraising that year.
“It was tough going from being able to walk around the office and do fun fundraising events to going completely virtual. But like we always do, we found a way!” said Nancy. “We had to get creative, and so we did.”
Instead of the usual in person 5K, the team from Advance suggested the idea for a socially distant “car parade” when officials from The Gathering Place were looking for alternatives.
Advance employees drove out from their homes and in total, 120 cars draped in messages of support and led by a police escort drove through the streets on the Sunday of the Race.
Keeping up the Momentum
“Advance and Race for the Place go hand in hand. At this point, we have a legacy to uphold! And we want to keep doing just that,” said Bilsky.
Lillian, who has played a huge role in planning and fundraising since Advance started contributing in 2007, says that it’s all about building excitement and momentum.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time now, but it always makes me excited to support such a great cause and organization. And to see our teammates come through and open their hearts,” says Lillian. “I hope we participate for another 15 years, and beyond.”
Bilsky is committed to participating into the future. “We have a passionate, generous, creative team and I’m excited to keep up this charitable work now into the future.”
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