The joie de vivre of Jackson never feels more palpable than on the day of Old Bill’s Fun Run For Charities. And best of all: All of the smiles are in support of community. Since the founding of Old Bill’s in 1997, the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole has raised more than $111 million. Last year alone, 3,230 donors contributed a whopping $10.4 million through Old Bill’s.
The staggering success of Old Bill’s started with a simple yet visionary idea. Eighteen years ago, an anonymous, magnanimous couple – belovedly dubbed Mr. and Mrs. Old Bill – set out to encourage the entire community to participate in philanthropy in one fell swoop. Their concept: Plan a community-wide celebration and in the days leading up to the event, collect a pool of donations to match the funds people give during the festivities. This event-based equation not only makes philanthropy a fun, social happening, but also makes every dollar donated go farther. Take 2014 for example: $7.7 million came from designated gifts, while the matching fund contributed $2.72 million, resulting in a match percentage of 54%. Thanks to Old Bill’s, the charitable heart of Jackson Hole has become greatly magnified. Visit the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole’s website to learn more about how Old Bill’s works.
The first charitable event of its kind in the country, Old Bill’s makes giving both fun and easy: one form allows donors to give to all of their favorite causes, and the run itself offers a friendly reminder to give. Always staged in early September – after the craze of summer subsides and the start of school – Old Bill’s has become a seasonal ritual whereby everyone turns out to celebrate the community spirit coursing through the Tetons. Nearly every Jacksonite participates in Old Bill’s in some form, whether running like the wind to win a competitive class, donning a costume and skipping along the downtown route as a team, or manning one of the nonprofit booths encircling Town Square. Immediately following the Fun Run and Walk, Town Square erupts in a community celebration with music, food and info booths about the plethora of charities participating in Old Bill’s.
There’s still time to join in the fun of Old Bill’s 2015 on Saturday, September 12: register (for free) to walk or run in advance online, or day-of (for $20). The athletic portion begins at 10am with festivities immediately following. Old Bill’s donations must be submitted by Friday, September 18. Peruse the missions of participating nonprofits on the Community Foundation’s website. And be sure to show up on Saturday to experience a truly only-in-the-Tetons community event.