Hopkinton Selectmen Vote to Recognize and Support Mission of the 26.2 Foundation

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The 26.2 Foundation on June 24, 2014 received the full support of the Hopkinton Board of Selectmen with a unanimous 5-0 vote for a motion that recognized the Foundation as a community asset and expressed the board’s support for the Foundation’s mission - to promote and support marathoning, as well as health, wellness and economic development initiatives through strategic investments in innovative, multi-generational programs on local, regional, national, and global levels - for the benefit of Hopkinton.

The vote came after a presentation by 26.2 Foundation board members that provided selectmen with an update of the organization’s activities to date and its plans for the future.

Founded in 1995 as the Hopkinton Athletic Association with a collaborative partnership with the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) and the Hopkinton Board of Selectmen, the 26.2 Foundation initially focused on local initiatives, including an $110,000 donation to help fund the Hopkinton High School track. By leveraging Hopkinton’s unique sports history and connections to the Boston Marathon, the scope of the foundation’s influence expanded to include the establishment of a sister-city relationship with Marathon, Greece followed by connections to the Marine Corps Marathon and several marathons in China.

26.2 Foundation President Michael Neece elaborated on the Foundation’s expanded focus of education, wellness and economic development, citing examples of several successful local programs such as the Marathon Fitness Challenge and the Reading Marathon which was ultimately replicated in Greece.

“We use the marathon as a framework for incubating these programs,” said Neece. “And we’re not just about creating programs, but supporting programs both with volunteerism and financial resources.”

Neece went on to say that while using the marathon and the Hopkinton community as an incubator, the goal is to create a collaboration of shared interests that involves public figures and celebrities, community and political leaders as well as non-profit and government organizations and the media.

Looking to the future, 26.2 Foundation Founder and Executive Director Tim Kilduff spoke about planned deliverables including managing and enhancing the relationship between Hopkinton and Marathon, Greece, creating funds to maintain the Spirit of the Marathon, George V. Brown and Team Hoyt sculptures located in Hopkinton, exploring and recommending programs, relationships, and initiatives that expand Hopkinton’s Marathon Footprint and representing Hopkinton on non-logistical marathon related matters
Specific goals for 2015 include establishing a Kenya connection, designing a portable marathon exhibit, furthering educational initiative introduced this year at the Hopkinton Middle School, and producing a book for Hopkinton’s 300th anniversary that captures Hopkinton’s marathon history and footprint.

“Thank you so much for coming in and showing us all this great work,” said Selectman Michelle Gates who summarized what she got out of the presentation. “Your group, unlike the logistical teams that put on the event [Boston Marathon], wants to extract the opportunity of making connections and encouraging military, schools, the arts and inspiring connections around the globe . . . being ambassadors for Hopkinton, Boston, Massachusetts and around the globe, and you want us to encourage you in that and support you in that, but also help in any way that we can so that this center [International Marathon Center]can happen and as a result make these programs flourish and grow.”

“That’s exactly what we are looking for,” said Kilduff.

“For the first time, I actually understand exactly what you do,” said Selectman Ben Palleiko. “I am actually thrilled to learn more about this. I think the mission is valid. I love the broad scope of it.”

At the presentation’s end, the motion to recognize the 26.2 Foundation as a community asset and to support their efforts going forward was passed unanimously by Hopkinton’s Board of Selectmen.

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ABOUT THE 26.2 FOUNDATION
The 26.2 Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization founded in 1996. Its mission is to promote and support the sport of marathoning, as well as health, wellness and economic development initiatives through strategic investments in innovative, multi-generational programs on local, regional, national and global levels. For more information about the 26.2 Foundation and the International Marathon Center, visit http://www.26-2.org/.