CVS Caremark Downtown 5K celebrated the race's 22nd anniversary at a dinner ceremony Tuesday, presenting approximately $75,000 in grants to nearly 50 youth-focused nonprofit organizations and schools from Southern New England, including $500 grants for physical education programs at Woonsocket High School and Mount St. Charles Academy.
More than 150 youths and adults – including track and field coaches, student runners, and representatives from area nonprofit organizations – convened in Woonsocket at the CVS Caremark Customer Support Center for the special celebration. Most of the schools and organizations that received grants provided volunteers to assist with tasks that helped make the 2011 a success.
It is CVS Caremark’s 12th year as title sponsor of the race, and the Woonsocket-based company has raised more than $1.3 million through the event since their first sponsorship in 2000.
“We are so pleased to be able to continue to support such meaningful causes in such a challenging economic climate,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications & Community Relations for CVS Caremark. “It is important to help sustain the important work being done in our communities by nonprofit organizations and help to advance the athletic and physical education programs in our schools.”
For the third year, the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K was joined by Tufts Health Plan as the sponsor of the 3K High School Inspirational.
Representatives from the schools, track clubs and nonprofit groups that provided volunteers for the race were honored by the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K and presented with grants at the gathering.
“The people joining us this evening are instrumental in making the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K so special each year and we thank them for their efforts," said Howard Boone. "When you have a race of this magnitude that caters to everyone from elite runners vying for a national 5K championship, to amateur runners, and to athletes with disabilities, it’s important that all elements of the race run smoothly. The volunteerism demonstrated at this year’s race made the event a tremendous success.”
The groups that received grants include: Cumberland Track Team, LaSalle Girls Basketball, North Kingstown High School Cross Country, North Kingstown Indoor Track Team, East Greenwich High School, Lincoln High School, Bishop Hendricken, Chariho High School, Toll Gate High School, Attleboro Jaguars Track Club, Sentinel Striders, Civil Air Patrol, RI Track and Field Guild, RI Scholastic League, RI Girls and Boys Track Association, Tollman High School, Rhode Island College, eco RI, Knights of Columbus, A Wish Come True, American Red Cross, Autism Project of Rhode Island, Camp Ruggles, Exeter/West Greenwich Sports for Kids, Project Undercover, Johnson & Wales African Charities, Tots Cooperative Nursery School, American Heart Association, Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation, Sean Duarte Scholarship Fund, and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
To further promote health care and to emphasize the importance of physical activity for children, CVS Caremark Downtown 5K also awarded $500 grants to 10 schools that won random drawings. Elementary, middle and high school teams with 25 or more children who participated in the 2011 CVS Caremark Youth Races or High School Inspirational 3K qualified for the drawings, which were earmarked to assist physical education programs. The winners of these grants are: Bishop Hendricken High School, the Bradford Huskies, Cranston East High School, Dream Team Lincoln, Lincoln High School, , North Smithfield Middle School, Our Lady of Mercy, Vartan Gregorian Elementary School (Running Foxes) and .
The awards dinner also included the announcement by Tufts Health Plan of the High School Inspirational 3K grant winners. To be eligible for these grants, any high school with 25 or more youths participating in the 3K could be entered to win one of 10 $500 grants. The winners of these grants are: Burrillville High School, Coventry High School, Cumberland High School, East Greenwich High School, Juanita Sanchez High School, Mount Hope High School, North Smithfield High School, Toll Gate High School, Portsmouth High School and The Prout School.
At the dinner and grant presentation event hosted by Larry Merlo, President & CEO of CVS Caremark, he acknowledged the children with special needs who participated in the CVS Caremark All Kids Can Inspirational segment of the 2011 race. “When you watch these special athletes participate in this event, you witness both joy and determination. They are truly an inspiration to all of us and are a reminder that all kids can learn, play and succeed in life. We thank them and their family members for their involvement and extend our gratitude to Special Olympics, Meeting Street, RI Parent Information Network (RIPIN) and the Autism Project for partnering with us to recruit these special athletes,” he said. “The CVS Caremark All Kids Can Inspirational event is an important extension of our All Kids Can program, which focuses on helping children with disabilities learn, play and succeed in life.”