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April 23, 2013

Pride Stride steps off for 26th time Sunday

Walk-a-thon fundraisers such as the March of Dimes or a walk to cure AIDS may have more national recognition, but Gloucester’s Pride Stride, which unites all of Cape Ann in one common goal — to directly support dozens of Cape Ann’s nonprofits — has history on its side, as well.

The fundraising walk now in its 26th year, will step off Sunday, and had already raised $6,700 as of Monday. With that, the Pride Stride breezed passed the $1 million mark since its inception in 1988, according to David Stotzer, a member of the Pride Stride Committee.

This year, there are more than 15 nonprofit organizations registered as of Monday for the walk, while some 20 nonprofits preregistered last year. But while that number is down to date, Stotzer said there is still time for groups to sign up to participate, and many people show up the day of the walk-a-thon to register and donate in person.

The amount raised also sees a sharp increase on the day of the event and the days following.

”Pledges come leaking in weeks after the event,” Stotzer said.

The fundraiser usually brings in anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 in donations and draws in anywhere from 250 to 500 walkers, depending on the weather.

Stotzer said the top nonprofits usually include Cape Ann Animal Aid, which opened its new shelter last year, the YMCA Teen Leaders program, The Open Door food pantry and service organization, and education groups, such as Eastern Point Day School.

Corporate sponsors cumulatively donate anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 annually for food, entertainment, supplies and pledge awards. Any money leftover gets put into a scholarship fund, Stotzer said.

The five-mile, rain or shine, walk will follow its usual route; looping from Stage Fort Park to Stacy Boulevard onto Rogers Street, the Jodrey State Fish Peer, then back down to Main Street.

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