It is with deep gratitude that we recognize and acknowledge our donors for their continued dedication and support of Interfaith Neighbor’s mission, programs and services across Monmouth County. Together we are committed to giving young people the resources to reach their potential, providing individuals with the access and support to lead successful lives and connecting neighbors so they can come together for the common good.
Donor Highlight | Friends of the Spring Lake Five
The growth of the highly popular Spring Lake Five Mile Run from 500 runners in 1977 to the 12,500 today has seen the event’s proceeds not only benefit the town’s recreation program, local clubs and volunteer organizations but neighborhoods, youth and families beyond Spring Lake’s borders. Interfaith Neighbors is one of many beneficiaries of the race and the link to how that came about in the past eight years is Interfaith Neighbors’ Trustee, Walter “Chip” Craig, who has lived with his family in Spring Lake since 1995.
In 2001, Craig and four other town residents formed the not-for-profit Friends of the Spring Lake 5, donating all net proceeds from the annual event to worthy organizations and programs. “As trustees of the event, we felt very fortunate to live in a town like Spring Lake,” he said. “You don’t have to look too far from our town to see that what we do through the race could help other communities. We wanted to reach out and broaden our giving to other communities,’’ Craig said.
Craig says he first learned of Interfaith Neighbors in 2009 at his church, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Spring Lake. After an initial meeting with Interfaith directors Joe Marmora and Paul McEvily, Chip scheduled a meeting for the Friends of the Spring Lake 5 trustees to hear more about Interfaith. “It was easy to understand their mission and the purpose of their activities,” he remembers. “Interfaith had such a track record of performance, achievement and integrity that they were a perfect spot for our support.”
As a result, the Friends made their first donation to enable the purchase of a replacement delivery truck for Interfaith’s Meals On Wheels program. “That was our first step out – our first meaningful donation outside what had been our traditional pattern of donations,” Craig said. McEvily says, “And that was the start of this beautiful, supportive friendship with the Race.”
Following that initial donation, the Spring Lake 5 has continued to support Interfaith Neighbors. Their next donation helped to equip the Kula Café kitchen. “We also made a significant donation to help complete the construction of the Kula Farm greenhouse,” Craig said. “We followed that donation with a donation for the Kula delivery truck and for a security system at Springwood Center. Just this past year, we made a donation to enable Interfaith to start the Farm Without Borders program, which is the community garden created on Springwood Avenue.” The group also recently provided seed money to start developing the program model for Career Corp, an expansion of the workforce development program operated at the Kula Café into other industries.
“They’ve consistently supported the Business Development Center, café and farm as they like to support the innovative and new social enterprise initiatives, particularly if it benefits youth or young adults,” McEvily said.
Interfaith Neighbors is just one of dozens of groups supported in and outside of Spring Lake by the road race, which has become one of the largest runs in the country. The list of other organizations benefitting from their support includes, among others, the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County, Lunch Break and Collier Youth Services, Craig said.
Since 2001, it is estimated that the Friends of the Spring Lake 5 have donated over $2.1 million to local charities, volunteer organizations, town initiatives and Spring Lake Recreation. “We plan on continuing our support of Interfaith Neighbors,” Craig said. “It has been one a remarkable organization to work with. The creative community programs they initiate and carry through to impact are the kind of programs and organizations we want to support.”
Mr. Craig is an attorney and the managing partner of Coast Capital Partners LLC.
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