Foundation sprints through Jog-A-Thon record

The La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation had already blown past its financial goal for this year's Jog-A-Thon before the second phase of the event was held last week.

La Cañada High School 7/8 students ran, jogged or walked in the second half of the Educational Foundation's Jog-A-Thon on Friday. La Cañada Unified School District's elementary schools hosted their own events on Nov. 17. The Foundation's goal for this year's two-phase Jog-A-Thon was to raise $180,000 and break the previous Jog-A-Thon record of $179,000, which was set last year.

Tracy Stewart, chairman of the Jog-A-Thon, started calculating the numbers and realized the Foundation more than met its goal in the first half of the fundraiser, generating $230,000 in the elementary Jog-A-Thon on Nov. 17.

"We underestimated ourselves — it's been around $180,000 the past few years," Stewart said. "When we started doing the calculations this year, we were amazingly surprised."

The Jog-A-Thon is the Foundation's second-largest fundraiser. The event puts district students in charge of garnering donations, whether per-lap or via flat pledges, during the month leading up to the event.

Instead of coasting to the finish line, Stewart set his sights on another mark. His goal for Friday was to raise an additional $20,000 and bring the Jog-A-Thon total to $250,000. Friday's results won't be known until some time next week, he said.

"That's way more than ever before," Stewart said. "We've already broken the record — the 7/8 [total] now is just gravy."

The Jog-A-Thon's success has been in line with the Foundation's early results so far this year, Educational Foundation President Valerie Aenlle-Rocha said.

"I believe that, even before the district task force is taken into consideration, if our numbers per month continue, our donation to the district will be significantly higher next year than it has been in the past," said Rocha, adding that the Foundation usually cuts the district a check for $1.1 to $1.2 million.

Rocha credits improved communication and community awareness as the reasons why the Foundation's numbers have been up so far.

"The community has responded wonderfully to our plea to get the district more money this year," Rocha said. "More money won't come from the government or the state. Now is the time to support us. If the community doesn't do it, it won't be done."

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