Helping Girls Run Toward Success

At Wegmans, we’re devoted to being a good neighbor in every community we serve. We do this by partnering with community organizations that share our values and align with our giving priorities, which include helping local youth through mentorship opportunities and after-school programs. One organization that we partner with companywide is Girls on the Run (GOTR), a nonprofit that provides programs for girls in third through eighth grade.

GOTR strengthens the confidence of participants by reaching them at a critical time in their lives. Their programs highlight the important connection between physical and emotional health and teach girls important life skills such as managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others, and making intentional decisions. With over 12,000 programs nationwide, GOTR is making a difference in the lives of more than 200,000 girls each year.

Front-Runner in NOVA
Our Virginia division has partnered with GOTR for more than 10 years including councils in Northern Viriginia, Washington, D.C., Piedmont, Central Virginia, and Greater Richmond. In 2023 alone, our Virginia stores contributed nearly $50,000 to local GOTR councils through donations and sponsorships.

Earlier this year, we renewed our partnership with GOTR of Northern Virginia with a three-year, $125,000 commitment maintaining our position as one of the councils largest donors. In addition to financially supporting operations, our sponsorship provides reusable bags for coaches, catering for various fundraising events, water and snacks for the end of season celebratory 5K events, and snacks for the girls at practice sites based at Title 1 schools, which have a high number of students living in poverty. In addition to donations, our employees often attend the end of season 5Ks to help and to cheer on the girls at the finish lines.

Evelyn Ramirez, eCommerce manager at our Tysons store, has a long-standing relationship with GOTR.

Evelyn Ramirez has a long-standing relationship with GOTR. While she’s currently employed as an eCommerce Manager at our Tysons store, Evelyn participated in GOTR from third to fifth grade at her elementary school.

“I was not a very active child, but the coaches did a great job of getting everyone to participate,” said Evelyn. “It was physical, mental, and spiritual work. They incorporated important messages in each practice; lessons about well-being, friendship, or confidence.”

In 2018, Evelyn was working part-time at our Lake Manassas store when she had the opportunity to reconnect with GOTR. The store was sponsoring the local council of GOTR and needed volunteers to hand out water and medals at the end of season 5K. Evelyn jumped at the opportunity to participate.

“I got to relive a little bit of when I was younger. I was excited to see GOTR was still going strong,” said Evelyn.

The following year, Evelyn needed some volunteer hours to fulfill her nonprofit studies minor at George Mason University. The first organization that came to mind was GOTR, and she signed up to coach a local team. In the Spring of 2019, she volunteered as assistant coach for a small team of girls at a local community site. Each week, she worked alongside the head coach to run practices and teach lessons. At the end of the season, her team participated in the celebratory 5K along with other girls in the Northern Virginia area.

As Evelyn prepared for her senior year of college, she considered her options for internships that would provide her with credits to complete her degree. Once again, she thought of GOTR and after applying and interviewing, she was offered a volunteer management internship with the organization.

“I assisted the volunteer associate with recruiting and managing volunteers,” said Evelyn. “My responsibilities included posting available opportunities online and attending volunteer fairs, contacting volunteers to let them know when and where they would be volunteering, and then toward the end of the season, coordinating volunteers for the 5k events: giving out medals, handing out food, working check-in, and also staffing for all the little events leading up to the 5K.”

Evelyn also worked with our local Wegmans stores to serve as a central location for volunteers and parents of participants to collect materials for the programs each semester.

“We used Wegmans stores as the packet pickup locations for the bibs, the 5K shirts, and anything else for the teams throughout the season,” said Evelyn.

Evelyn enjoyed her internship so much that she decided to continue through the spring semester until the end of the school year. When COVID hit in March 2020, GOTR switched to delivering lessons and practices online. While participants missed the camaraderie of group practices, the organization found a creative way to continue their important work and in recent years has returned to their traditional programming.

“The message of the organization is so aligned with Wegmans values, and our commitment to helping the community to grow and live better lives,” said Evelyn. “GOTR has had a lot of impact on helping young girls build confidence.”

Wegmans employees volunteer at a Girls on the Run event.

Lacing Up Companywide
Our sponsorship of GOTR isn’t exclusive to Virginia, in fact, all our divisions have supported their local councils in some capacity over the years. In our New England division, we’ve partnered with GOTR since 2014, providing support to both the Worcester County and Greater Boston councils. Each year, these two councils serve hundreds of teams in the local area, with over 3,000 girls participating in 2023.

Our Northborough, Medford, Chestnut Hill, Westwood, and Burlington stores provide funds for GOTR’s fall and spring seasons, as well as bananas, clementines, and water for thousands of people who attend their 5K celebrations. In addition, dozens of Wegmans employees volunteer at their end of season 5K events each year, handing out snacks or water, and cheering on participants.

In 2023, we announced a new initiative with the American Heart Association to provide CPR education for youth sports organizations. As part of the collaboration, we donated 300 CPR and First Aid in Youth Sports Training Kits to our local communities, while the AHA provided training. The training kits are designed for youth coaches to ensure they and their community know the lifesaving skills of CPR, how to use an AED, and how to help during sports related emergencies. Each kit can train approximately 300 people per year.

We encouraged our stores to donate the kits to community organizations they had established relationships with over the years. Several decided to give the kits to their local GOTR councils, including our locations in Concordville, Pennsylvania; West Cary, North Carolina; Medford, Massachusetts; and several in Virginia.

GOTR is just one of the many organizations we sponsor to help make our neighborhoods stronger. To learn more about how we’re making a difference in our communities, visit the Community Giving page on our website.