Exercise for Good

May 2013 View more

N2013_05_01_002FITNEThe ebb and flow of motivation means the greatest of intentions often fall short. Think New Years resolutions. January triggers the motivation to exercise, but by February that motivation is long gone. However, imagine if motivation behind exercise had to do more with giving back than losing weight? A new mobile application, Charity Miles, may hold the secret to long-term motivation. This new app allows you to donate to a charity every time you exercise.

Charity Miles

Gene Gurkoff is a talented athlete. He is also good at seeking out ways to give back to the community. Gurkoff ran 35 marathons and six Ironman triathlons to raise money for Parkinson’s disease research in honor of his grandfather. He is also the co-founder of Team Fox, the grassroots fundraising arm of The Michael J. Fox Foundation that raised $20 million to date. However, it is his partnership with a close friend, combined with previous efforts in application development, which lead him to developing Charity Miles.

Charity Miles is a free iPhone and Android application that enables you to support a charity by running, biking, or walking. Simply download the app and select from a number of charitable organizations that can earn money based on your activity level. If you bike, you can earn 10 cents per mile, runners and walkers earn 25 cents per mile. The more you exercise, the more you raise money for charity. The list of charities to choose from continues to grow every month.

Charities Working Together

“This is a collaborative effort. All the charities are working together to aggregate an audience that is scalable and larger than any one charity could assemble by themselves,” said Gurkoff. “This is what will enable us to tap into the mobile advertising market which is much bigger than the current “charity” budgets that everyone is competing over.”

Gurkoff believes that by working together, each charity can expand and raise awareness far better than they could do on their own. However, Gurkoff acknowledges that they will only bring on as many charities as they can support. Additionally, it’s important that the charity share their collaborative vision while meeting certain criteria for expanded impact.

“Our goal is to completely redirect the $40 billion mobile advertising market all for a good cause. To date, things are going well. We launched in June with 50 people and currently we have more than 60,000 members who have walked, ran, and biked more than 750,000 miles to earn more than $160,000 for our charities,” said Gurkoff.

Award-winning Approach

The success of Charity Miles has not gone unnoticed. They will be honored with the Dewey Wilburne Award at SXSW, which is a cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity trade show. Additionally, Charity Miles has been awarded two Millennial Impact Grants in their Ignite Good Challenge, including their Director’s Choice Award from The Huffington Post and Heartfelt Foundation.

This new app has been a hit with charitable organizations as many are reaching out to Charity Miles aware of the positive impact this program can have on their organization and those that participate.

“Our charity partners love it. It’s not only raising money for their organization, but it’s raising awareness while building a great sense of community among their supporters. In the next year, I hope to scale up to over a million active members and move millions of dollars to charities,” said Gurkoff.

Getting started with Charity Miles is easy. Download the app, login, choose a charity, and press “START”. You have the option of walking, running or biking. The app tracks your distance, which earns money for your charity. When you’re done, press “STOP” and wrap up your workout. The more miles you exercise, the greater the contribution to your charity of choice.

For more information on Charity Miles, visit www.charitymiles.org.