Charitable Giving

 (Contributed by Malinda Walker)

In 2012, Andy and Malinda dressed up in bras, walked a 10K and for our effort raised $2,165 with a huge proportion of the money given by Pamakid Runners. We were humbled and grateful. In 2013 we planned to do it again, and both felt a little intimidated and challenged by the amount of money we had raised. How could we fundraise to that level again? The charity and cause are just as important this year as they were last year, but seeing Andy in a bra? Been there. Done that.

However, again, you our running family, were there to support us. Yvonne Ou and Justin Mikecz, while making a donation decided to ask a funny question in the donor message section: “How much does the team have to donate to get you to coach track in a bra one night?”

Bras Workout 02

We immediately checked the numbers from 2012 and came up with a dollar amount. If Pamakids donated to either one of us, to reach a total of $1,500 (a number partly chosen because of Andy’s love for the track & field race, the 1500 meters) Andy would wear a bra to coach a Tuesday night workout.

Bras Workout 03

The donations started pouring in. The ones from the Pamakid Runners were kept in one tally to chart our progress towards the $1,500 goal. Someone from the Impalas, one of the other running clubs that works out at Kezar on Tuesday night got word of our fundraising effort (and the coach in a bra challenge) and she made a donation. There were also donations from other friends and family members. Every time we received a donation, it made us think about that person and our memories of spending time with that person. As many of you know, Andy cleverly e-mailed a thank you that included the wording: “Thanks for the SUPPORT!”

Bras Walk 01

The Pamakids were giving donations but it was unclear if the $1,500 mark would be reached. Suddenly Yvonne and Justin threw down the gauntlet again. For every new Pamakid that made a donation, they would donate $5 more. It was going to be close. On the actual day of the walk, just hours before we left the house, two anonymous donations came in, one for Andy and one for Malinda. We had good reason to suspect that these donations should be credited to the Pamakids’ “See Andy Coach in a Bra” account. Within the hour were able to confirm that it was so. The goal had been met. We were off to walk a 10K.

The event honoree was Denise Wolf, a colleague of Malinda’s. Denise was also the person who gave us the new additions to our family – guinea pigs that we named Sheldon and Leonard. This year’s bras were decorated with fur to look like a wolf (Denise WOLF!). Purple WolfPack shirts were made. And Andy supplemented his ensemble with a hat that some of you may remember from a Bay to Breakers centipede costume in 2011.

Bras Walk 04

After the walk, Denise gave a moving speech about fighting cancer. It was a reminder that cancer is an awful disease and that while it was fun to banter about seeing Andy coach in a bra, what really was important was to fight breast cancer.

In total, the event raised over $120,000 and with their other fundraising events the Tri Valley SOCKs were able to donate $150,000 to four charities. $70,000 was donated to UCSF, $30,000 to Axis Community Health, $30,000 Valley Care Breast Cancer Services and $20,000 to the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation.

Of this, we raised $2,645, almost $500 more than 2012. We received donations from over fifty different people. It’s a good feeling to have supported this cause. We truly believe that it’s these “small” donations that add up to the “big” dollar figures that make all the difference. It is people coming together to support a cause together. That’s community. That’s support. That’s our friends and family.

Bras Walk 02

We owe a huge thank you to Pamakid Running club family. Please let us know if you have ideas about how Andy can reach yet another new level of embarrassment in the name of a good cause next year.

Thank you for the wonderful support for the Bras for the Cause walk.


(Contributed by Danielle Bisho Jones, Pamakid member since 2006)

The Tenderloin. I’m down there at least weekly for my job, doing home visits. Driving or walking almost every street in this neighborhood, I see lots of people hanging out-alone, in groups, sitting, sleeping, talking to themselves, doing drugs, dealing drugs, you name it! I bring this up because I had the opportunity to go down there at night and witness the same activities, and more notably, the same amount of people. What’s my point? These people, who I pass by during the day, are there all day and all night. They don’t have a place to cook dinner or a warm bed to sleep in. They are homeless.

Jerry in fashion safety yellow. Photo by Noe.

Jerry in fashion safety yellow. Photo by Noe.

Just realizing the severity of San Francisco’s homeless problem made my experience of volunteering with the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center, worthwhile. But, being able to do this with my fellow Pamakids made it a sincerely positive experience. Groups of three to five traveled with a Salvation Army leader to various neighborhoods throughout the city: South of Market, Civic Center, and Haight Street to name a few. We passed out sandwiches, juices, granola bars, and the hot commodity of the evening (due to the day’s rain), was socks! Phyllis Nabhan, Danielle Hashem, and I had a unique experience of literally being swarmed by people in need of those items. We had to regroup several times by redirecting people to stay on the sidewalk and calm them down by trying to ensure them that they would receive something. At times it was intimidating, but in retrospect it shows how truly desperate these people are…for even juice. Most people expressed great appreciation for not only the items we passed out, but also for just chatting with them and asking how their night was going. The fact that we stuck around for a while, even after the food was gone, shows that Salvation Army Harbor Light Center is more than just giving tangible things; they make a connection with the individual.

We reconvened back at the Center and it was interesting to hear Pamakids’ experiences based on what neighborhood they went to. Ask someone who volunteered and they can share their story, which I hope encourages you to come out the next time we do this.

Our club has volunteered for running related events for years and years, but more recently because of our enthusiastic and creative charity committee, we are expanding our volunteer opportunities to non-running related causes. I feel very lucky to not only be running with Pamakids but also relating with members (new and old), doing non-running activities, which also make a positive impact on our community! Pamakid Runners Club is so dynamic and for that, we are the best club ever!

(Contributed by Justin Mikecz, Pamakid member since 2009)

How did I become a Runaway Pancake—I mean—a Pamakid? There is the story that when I moved to the Bay Area my sister-in-law Susan (another byproduct of the Andy Chan-coached Lowell High School teams in the 90s) introduced me to John Gieng, who in turn introduced me to the K-Stars and Pamakids. Sure, it really helped that the K-Stars Saturday morning run and the Pamakids track workouts were both within a half mile of my apartment. However, beyond geographic convenience, there is another reason I was drawn to the Pamakids: this running club also doubled as a non-profit charitable organization.

Given my busy schedule, I loved the fact that with the Pamakid Runners I could combine my passion for community service and charity with my passion for running. It didn’t take me long to realize that the money for the club’s charitable endeavors came largely from the annual Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon. I became interested in how the club distributed all the money raised from this event to charities.

So I joined the Charity Committee. Led by Ashley Rich Rodwick and supported by John Spriggs and Tomas Palermo (with the later additions of Kelly Haston and myself), the committee solicits and reviews grant applications looking for local charities that fit in with the club’s mission “to support a healthy lifestyle.” While there is a little bit of regret when we have to turn down charitable requests, it is always rewarding to be able to say ‘yes’ to an applicant because we determined that the organization’s charitable efforts fit in with our mission and that we felt our modest donation would make a difference.

Pamakid Runners Charity Committee. Photo by Justin.

Pamakid Runners Charity Committee. Photo by Justin.

Because of the efforts of Ashley and the rest of the committee, it is quite apparent that the charitable giving process is in good hands. As a committee, though, we want to take it a step further. We’d like to make a deeper connection with these great organizations that we financially support by engaging with them and offering human resources (volunteers) as well as monetary contributions.

As a start, John S, Kelly H, and I did a test ‘run’ with one of the major beneficiaries of the San Francisco Half Marathon: Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center. We spent an evening with other Salvation Army volunteers (including some former clients) delivering hundreds of sandwiches and performing general outreach to homeless people throughout the city. John and Kelly went to SoMa and the Civic Center while I went along with a group to the Haight/Ashbury neighborhood.

Haight/Ashbury was my neighborhood for the first 3½ years I lived in the city so it was especially eye-opening to make a connection with some of the many homeless people that I would walk or run by every day. While it would be the first time I had ever talked with some of them, I did recognize several of their faces. It was gratifying to tear down that wall we tend to defensively put up between ourselves and the downtrodden around us. The people we delivered to would often recognize us from a distance (with our Harbor Light reflective vests) as friends. If they didn’t see us at first, their faces would often perk up with a smile when we would ask the simple question, “would you like a sandwich?”

Not only would they graciously accept, many of the recipients would happily engage us in conversation. You see, the outreach efforts of Harbor Lights goes beyond delivering food. The organization’s no-strings-attached approach allowed us to connect more meaningfully with the recipients. Whether they wanted one, two, three, or zero sandwiches; whether they wanted to talk or not; and whether they wanted additional help, the idea was their wishes would be granted. The more experienced Salvation Army staff and volunteers were prepared to offer and connect people to the Salvation Army’s network of shelters and addiction counseling if needed, but nothing was forced and no judgments were given.

On the evening of Wednesday, March 20th, the Pamakid Runners Charity Committee would like to invite you to help us expand our efforts by joining us in another homeless outreach/delivery. We will meet at 7:00 pm at Salvation Army and should be done by 9:45 pm. If you’re interested in joining us or just want more information, you can email me directly or email the committee at With enough interest we can set up additional dates as well so even if you can’t make it March 20th, please let us know if you would be interested in joining another time.

This is just our first step in connecting more with the charities we support so stay tuned for future outreach opportunities.

For more information go to the Pamakid Runners Club Charity Committee Page.

[Author’s Note: I am engaged and did already know that prior to Yvonne’s blog. However, I did not know about her high cholesterol!]

(contributed by Ashley Rodwick)

Whether you are running to reach a goal, visit with friends, or try something new, know that your participation reaches beyond the finish line at Golden Gate Park—it supports worthy non-profit organizations that work very hard to make our community a better place for those in need. Giving back is important to the Pamakid Runners, so important that it is included in our mission statement:

“to promote a healthy lifestyle, support the running community and charitable causes by organizing, volunteering, and participating in running related and social events in the San Francisco Bay Area”

Every year, the proceeds from the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon and 5K Fun Run are given back into the community through donations to several local charities throughout the year. But most significantly, the race features 4 primary beneficiaries who will receive nearly $20,000 each.

So as you wash down that last PowerBar, retie your shoes, check your watch and think about your goal time, remember all the great things Sunday’s race stands for.  I know I will:

Meals on Wheels of San Francisco believes that all seniors have the right to live independently with dignity and respect in their own homes for as long as it is safely possible. For 40 years, it has been their mission to provide homebound seniors in San Francisco nutritious meals, daily human contact and supportive services.

Support for Families of Children with Disabilities  ensures that families of children with any kind of disability or special health care need have the knowledge and support to care for their children’s development and well being. They offer information, education, and parent-to-parent support free of charge to families in San Francisco.

Salvation Army Harbor Lighthouse has been providing comprehensive chemical dependency treatment for men, women, and families, has been successfully serving the San Francisco bay area for over 70 years. Through a program of progressive care, education, workforce development, and personal development, they transform people’s lives.

Family House is a non-profit guest house providing temporary housing to families of patients at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. As a home away from home for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, they provide physical comfort and emotional support, free from financial concerns.