With the $1 million mark in sight, Gloucester's Pride Stride organizers are marking the event's 25th anniversary Sunday, hoping they and the participating nonprofit groups will surpass the dollar milestone as well.
Pride Stride started in 1988, and Dave Stotzer of Cape Ann Photography and a member of the Pride Stride Committee said Tuesday that the 5-mile walk has raised $980,000 for a wide variety of local nonprofits since that time.
"We're trying to break $1 million this year, over the total 25-year history," Stotzer added.
Last year, Stotzer said, more than 400 people walked in the Pride Stride and raised more than $40,000, including corporate donations, for more than 40 local nonprofits.
As of Tuesday, just 20 nonprofits had signed up for Sunday's Pride Stride. Stotzer noted that only 34 had signed up in advance last year. While there's still time for nonprofits to register, Stotzer conceded the numbers are definitely down this year.
"There are always nonprofits that have people walking for them the day of," said Dennis Acker, committee president.
Nonprofits can register on the committee website at www.gloucesterpridestride.com.
Stotzer said walkers can arrive at 10 a.m. at the Stage Fort Park visitors center to hand in their pledges. The walk begins at noon from the visitors center, with walkers making their way out of Stage Fort to Stacy Boulevard, down Rogers Street to the Head of the Harbor, then back down Main Street, down the Boulevard and back to Stage Fort for the annual post-walk community cookout.
Food is free for walkers, and $5 per family for everyone else.
The Pride Stride has carved out a role as one of Cape Ann's largest single fund-raisers, and one that brings many local nonprofits together rather than leaving them to host individual fund-raising walks and other such events on their own.
"The Pride Stride is an opportunity for the community to come out and support all of their favorite charities," said Julie LaFontaine, director of The Open Door, adding that she and the staff of The Open Door are looking forward to the annual event.
The nonprofits registered so far are Boy Scout Troop 56 of Gloucester, The Brain Candy Project, Cape Ann Animal Aid, Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team, Cape Ann Youth Hockey, Eastern Point Day School, East Gloucester School PTO, First Congregational Church of Essex, First "R" Foundation, Friends of the Essex Council on Aging, Gloucester High School Girls Soccer, Gloucester Pride Stride Committee, Harvest Meals, Kestrel Educational Adventures, The Open Door, Riverdale Rockets Youth Organization, St. Ann School Of Cape Ann, Trinity Congregational Church and the VNA Care Network & Hospice.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.