Charity runners and fundraising have been part of the essential fabric of the Boston marathon for 25 of its 117 years. Since the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) began a partnership with the American Liver Foundation in 1989, the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program partners have raised more than $133 million for local charities.
Outside the United States, the London Marathon, which was just held on Sunday, has raised more than £500 million for charity since 1981. The race also holds the Guinness world record for largest annual fundraising event in the world, a title it has held since 2007.
Though several other US marathons include a higher percentage of charity runners, few rival Boston’s fundraising power – or its local connection. The BAA’s 35 official charity groups range from medical research foundations to youth organizations, and all are based in and benefit the greater Boston area. In total, they are expected to raise more than $11.5 million this year.
John Hancock, the Boston-based financial firm that sponsors the race, is working with Internet fundraising site Crowdrise to support its 109 nonprofit partners this year, which are expected to raise $7 million.