Since 2009, Race for the Kids series has raised millions of dollars for children's charities.
One summer morning, thousands of runners and skaters set off from the starting line of the RBC Race for the Kids-Twin Cities. Traveling along the Mississippi River, each and every one of the participants was racing for somebody other than themselves. They were racing for children in need—kids like Nolan Mearon Beauvais.
Mearon Beauvais was born four months early in 2013, when his mom, Nicole Beauvais, was only 23 weeks pregnant. He weighed only a pound and a half and measured just over 12 inches long. His eyes were fused shut and he needed a tube in his mouth in order to breathe.
Originally from Chicago, Beauvais and her husband, Donte Mearon, were in Minnesota for Christmas when Beauvais went into labor. After Mearon Beauvais was born, they stayed at Ronald McDonald Houses in and near the Minneapolis hospital where he received care. Ronald McDonald Houses serve as a home-away-from-home for families with hospitalized children, providing home-cooked meals, private bedrooms, and the support to keep a family together when it matters most.
For Mearon and Beauvais, the Ronald McDonald House offered them comfort and stability during a difficult time.
“Being 30 minutes or 60 minutes away, that’s too far when you’ve got a child who’s critically ill,” Beauvais says. “What the Ronald McDonald House allows and gives to families is the ability not to worry about things you don’t have to worry about when you have a sick kid.”
That important work done by Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest (RMHC) attracted the support of RBC Wealth Management-U.S. When the firm sponsored a race called the Minnesota Half Marathon in 2014, it used the opportunity to enhance its relationship with RMHC that was already built on employee volunteerism and financial support. RBC named RMHC the charitable partner of the race, with a portion of all race proceeds going to the organization, in addition to an individual and team fundraising element.
Through that support, RBC Race for the Kids-Twin Cities is helping ensure that kids like Mearon Beauvais and their families receive the support they need.
The Twin Cities RBC race, held for several years in St. Paul and now taking place in Minneapolis, is just one of 19 races around the world sponsored by RBC that support children’s causes. The first RBC Race for the Kids took place in New York City in 2009, and quickly expanded to become a global fundraising initiative. Internationally, races will also take place in Sydney, London, Singapore, Toronto and more.
To date, the race series has raised more than $57 million for children’s charities, thanks to 325,000 global participants. And the series isn’t slowing down anytime soon, with more races introduced every year. Virtual race options were added in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to allow more people to participate and fundraise. That year, even as in-person races weren’t possible, the RBC Race for the Kids series still raised more than $13 million for nonprofits and charities at a time when those organizations needed the support more than ever.
“Race for the Kids is a tremendous example of our community focus and strong culture,” says Tom Sagissor, president of RBC Wealth Management. “I’m proud of the support that employees show for Race for the Kids and for charities like Ronald McDonald House every year.”
Mearon and Beauvais participated in the first RBC Race for the Kids-Twin Cities in August 2014, just a few months after Mearon Beauvais was discharged from a five-month hospital stay. They saw the race as a way to give back to RMHC, and to celebrate how far their son and their family had come.
“We ran the race to remember that when the going gets tough (like at mile 12!), the really tough can push through, just like our son did,” Beauvais said at the time.
They ran again the following year, and throughout the years since. They and thousands of other runners have helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for RMHC, which has allowed the organization to cover lodging, meals, school programs and many other services for thousands of families in need, says Jill Evenocheck, president and CEO of RMHC.
Nicole Beauvais and Donte Mearon completed the RBC Race for the Kids-Twin Cities.
“People who come to a Ronald McDonald House never expect to be here,” Evenocheck says. “Childhood illness has no demographic – it doesn’t matter how much education you have, what job you have. It just hits people and it hits them right out of the blue.”
“The people who stay with us, they consider this a home,” Evenocheck adds. “The race gives people the opportunity to bring friends and family, and see people they haven’t seen for a long time. It’s a great way for everyone to come together.”
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