The Chiditarod Foundation
The Chiditarod is an Not For Profit organization created to help solve Chicago’s hunger challenges.
Food and food security is an essential and necessary ingredient in life; we believe in Chicago and that food has the power to build strong communities. The Foundation is the official nfp that provides funds raised during the Chiditarod to vetted 501c3 organizations in the Metropolitan Chicago area that are engaged in solving their community’s hunger challenges. Our mission is to help solve Chicago’s hunger challenges at a local grassroots level across many spectrums: food drives, community gardens, fresh produce, education, grants, and really fun events like Chiditarod.
The Chiditarod Foundation seeks to alleviate hunger and solve the root causes of hunger through creativity, engagement and direct action. We accomplish these goals by:
- creating unique, creative, participatory events that raise funds (like Chiditarod!)
- providing grants to local 501c3 organizations that share our hunger-fighting mission.
What is the Plan?
We are very excited about the Chiditarod Foundation and have plans in the works to partner with and discover local, vetted 501c3 organizations in the Chicago community that are fighting hunger and focused on local food sustainability. Instead of one yearly partnership we plan to make smaller, more frequent grants to a range of local organizations all year ’round. We will be announcing our first partner in the Spring.
What is the History?
Back before we teamed up with the Greater Chicago Food Depository we donated food and funds to the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation (CAHF), a 501c3 food pantry in Chicago. They were local and doing good things to help feed the hungry — which has always been our goal & mission, along with having a little fun. We organizers saw how Chiditarod’s teams and participants had been stepping up their game; we felt inspired to do the same by creating a not-for-profit that could have a larger, broader impact on hunger. To this effect, in 2012 we met with the good offices of Alderman Michelle Harris (8th) and Cottage Grove Heights to help create a community garden on Chicago’s south side. Around that same time we found out that CAHF had closed its doors, which reinforced our desire and intent to diversify the beneficiaries of all our racers hard work.
We’d had some learning experiences along the way. A potential partnership with a local not-for-profit fell through; we realized belatedly that what we thought would be matched funds for our racers’ fundraising efforts would not actually go towards the intended garden project; and there were some delays. Ultimately, all of the funds raised did indeed go directly towards the community garden project, located in a neighborhood where fresh fruits and vegetables have great value.
We are completely committed to transparency regarding our finances. First of all, your racer registration fees are used to create the Chiditarod year after year. Second, ALL of your fundraising dollars will go into our newly founded 501c3. As in years past, funds raised are safe and secure; we’ll report the totals in addition to getting your tax-deductible donations credited. Letters will arrive by the end of 2013 as normal. The most important thing that we want you to know is that your funds will not be put into anything that isn’t directly food/hunger related in the Metropolitan Chicago area.
Thank you for your trust, your creativity, and for your willingness to help the hungry.
The Board of Directors
Devin Breen, President
Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign. Founder and Executive Director of the Chiditarod Urban Iditarod. Co-Founder and President Emeritus of the Bold Urban Renaissance Network 501c3, a community arts organization based in Chicago. Co-founder and performer with the Pyrotechniq Fire Performance Troupe. Production Tools Engineer at Groupon, Inc. He is dedicated to the betterment of life for all people on this planet, but focuses his mission on improving his home town of Chicago.
Diane Back, Secretary
Masters of Social Work Candidate in Community Organizing & Child, Youth & Family; Minor in Interpersonal Practice & School Social Work Certificate, University of Michigan. Bachelor of Science/Family Studies, University of Maryland. Currently participates as a member of the School of Social Work Curriculum Committee; intern at Bright Futures, a 21st Century funded after-school program addressing youth voice and needs for at-risk youth; and works at the National Center for Institutional Diversity as a program assistant documenting funding collaborations and event coordinator for diversity conversations. Specializations include communications, event and project management, and business development. Her passions revolve around sustainability, youth voice and social justice issues and have entailed volunteer work in community gardens, local elections, and natural building.
Elizabeth Breen, Treasurer
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Lawrence University. Founder and President of the Full Moon Fire Jam, NFP. Manager and a performer of the Pyrotechniq Fire Performance Troupe. Her specialities include community building & leadership, event planning, networking, accounting, and social media. She is keenly interested in food, health and urban farming and actively maintains a large garden in Chicago.
The Chiditarod Foundation is an Illinois Not-For-Profit Corporation
IRS FEIN: 46-1053624