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March 04, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, March 04, 2005

Two-way giving Two-way giving (March 04, 2005)

Cultural, financial resources shared between MV and Zimbabwe

By Allison Gerard

The children of Zimbabwe will not be the only ones benefiting this year from the Run for Zimbabwe Orphans on March 13.

"This year we have changed the focus of the foundation to not just raise funds but to have more inspired philanthropy by working and learning together," said Ellen Clark, president of the Sustainable Living Foundation, which was established last year and sponsors the run, now in its sixth year.

In the past, the run was about more of a one-way philanthropy, where the children of Zimbabwe were the only ones receiving, Clark said. She stressed that one group giving and one group receiving is not the most effective way to help and that the children of Zimbabwe also have a lot to offer.

"We are opening up to the gifts that Zimbabwe can give us," Clark said. "They have a lot to offer in the way of culture, music, food, fashion and art."

To showcase some of Zimbabwe's exports, culture booths will be set up at the run. The booths will be run by local children in the fourth through eighth grade.

The students involved in the culture booths realize the importance of what they are doing to help the children in Zimbabwe.

Chanel Taylor, an eighth grade student at St. Joseph Catholic School, said she decided to get involved with the event "to help them raise money for the orphans so they can have food and shelter."

Another student said he realizes how critical educating the public is.

"It's important for people to know about the living conditions in Zimbabwe," said Erik Nilsson, also an eighth grader at St. Joseph. "Many there have inadequate living conditions and are malnourished, so it's important to help."

Through the cultural exhibits, people can learn about sadza, which is a traditional Zimbabwean food, play the game tsoro, and view Zimbabwean fashion.

"People are so hung up on making money, they lose sight of what's important, and what's important is working and learning together," Clark said.

The run is a cross-country meet with 1-mile races divided by grades for children. Adults can participate in the Wildebeest run, which is named after Kate Wakerly, a co-founder of the Mountain View Voice who died last year from breast cancer.

Clark credits Wakerly with being one of the reasons the Sustainable Living Foundation has expanded its mission.

"She was my heroine and one of my teachers for inspired philanthropy because she believed we all work better when we collaborate," Clark said. "

Last year's run raised $16,000 for the orphanage, and the foundation hopes to raise the same amount this year through the run's $5 fee and T-shirt sales.

The money is used to help the 90 children, many who have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic, at the Makumbi Children's Home. It takes about $350 a year to feed, clothe, house and educate each child.

Clark explained that "because we are called the Sustainable Living Foundation, we are looking for ways for the orphanage to be enabled so they can sustain themselves."

Some of the ways they are doing that now is through farming an organic garden and by raising rabbits and chickens.

The event starts at noon at St. Joseph Catholic School and is expected to last until 4 p.m. For race information and booth entry forms, call 941-9206 or visit

E-mail Allison Gerard at

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