Organizers of the 2020 virtual Portland Kids Duathlon recently presented $8,000 to Xavier Botana, Portland Superintendent of Schools and Andrea Weisman-Summers, Executive Director for the Foundation for Portland Public Schools. In its third year, the Portland Kids Duathlon, presented by Benchmark Real Estate, has raised a total of $23,000 for the Foundation.
While many kids and adult races cancelled in 2020, Race Director Amy Landry chose to move forward. “More than ever, the schools needed the funds, the kids needed something to look forward to, the families needed a sense of normalcy, and everyone needed to continue habits to keep us as healthy as possible,” she said. “Our sponsors stuck with us and we were thrilled with the outpouring of support from our athletes and families despite moving to virtual.” She said she was pleased that even in a pandemic, the race raised 80% of what it did at last year’s live event and had 92 virtual participants.
According to Weisman-Summers, this year’s funds will be used to support students and educators with COVID related needs. “These include things like innovation grants to educators, extra academic support for students, providing no cost meals to supplement the federal free lunch and breakfast program, and urgent support to families in crisis,” she said.
Superintendent Xavier Botana said, “Thank you to Benchmark Real Estate for your commitment to Portland kids. The Portland Kids Duathlon is a wonderful event that benefits kids in two ways: It gives them a fun opportunity to participate in multisport racing, and the race’s proceeds are generously donated each year to benefit students in the Portland Public Schools. This contribution to the Foundation will help ensure that our students and their families don’t go hungry or become homeless, and that they get the academic support and innovative teaching that can help them succeed.”
Additionally, Hammond Lumber, CycleMania and Benchmark donated equipment for the East End Community School Bike Club. When Landry learned the club was in need of a place to store and protect their bikes and equipment, she reached out to race sponsor Hammond Lumber who agreed to donate a large, new shed. CycleMania donated a new bike and Benchmark donated a helmet and bike lock to go with it. Dan Nogar, Dean of Students at the school and bike club coordinator, said he’s always looking for donated bikes, helmets, and locks as many of his students come from families unable to purchase them.
“The donations to the East End Community School’s bike club will help encourage students to take up that healthy sport – and maybe participate in future Duathlons,” said Botana. Landry said she plans to give a number of free spots to the 2021 race to bike club members and offered to run duathlon training sessions for the bike club next spring.
The race is presented by Benchmark Real Estate, owned by Landry and her husband Tom. The company donates all race proceeds to the Foundation for Portland Public Schools, which provides philanthropic support to the city’s school district.