These days, it’s rare for 2 cents to go very far – except if you’re investing it in a guy like Bill Dusch. He’ll take it on a 26-mile journey.
Dusch, a Concord native, is the brains behind the Give your 2¢ to United Way fundraiser: For every marathoner he and his teammates pass during the Savannah Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon, coming up Nov. 7, donors have pledged to pay two pennies to United Way.
It’s a unique way to raise funds, and that’s why Dusch liked the idea.
“I wanted to have something that people would get interested in, that they could wrap their minds around,” he said.
Last year, during the fundraiser’s initial run, Dusch and teammate Steve Bradley passed more than 1,300 marathoners, netting around $11,000 for United Way. While most of the 180 donors pledged 2 cents, a few pledged more per person passed during the race.
Cabarrus community director Sarah Porter loves that Dusch thinks outside of the box when raising funds for the organization.
“Bill is really creative, and I think this is the most genius way of supporting the community and combining it with something he loves,” said Porter.
It’s not the first time Dusch has come up with good ideas that involve marathons. He and his wife, Debbie, set their minds years ago to run one marathon in every state, and one on every continent.
To date, he’s pinned a marathon bib onto his shirt 77 times, and in some of the most beautiful corners of the world. One road race took place along the Great Wall of China; another through an elephant forest in South Africa.
During a marathon in the Bordeaux region of France, Dusch was among the runners who paused at each of the 22 wine stops for wine and food pairings in the wineries’ vineyards.
His most brutal but invigorating marathon took place in Antarctica. The trip there was a journey of its own, involving two plane rides, then a two-day boat ride. Once there, they ran on glaciers as storms rolled in delivering 40 mph wind gusts and ice pellets.
“It was beautiful,” said Dusch. “It gives us an excuse to see different parts of the world.”
Dusch started running about 30 years ago – the same time he began supporting United Way, first through the workplace then by joining committees with United Way of Central Carolinas-Cabarrus County.
For the past two years he’s served as the campaign chair of the Cabarrus County United Way.
“The community has a lot of needs that are not met, and most of those needs are never seen,” said Dusch. “Through United Way, we are able to provide assistance in these areas.”
United Way of Central Carolinas-Cabarrus County raised $585,000 last year, with $1.2 million in funds going to organizations like Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County, Community Free Clinic, Salvation Army and Hospice & Palliative Care of Cabarrus County.
Dusch plans on at least $20,000 of this year’s funds raised to come from the Give your 2¢ to United Way fundraiser.
It’s innovative and thoughtful people like Dusch, said Porter, who make an impact on the residents of Cabarrus County.
“He knows the community. He knows the people. He knows their needs,” said Porter. “We couldn’t do what we do here without people like Bill.”
Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send Bill Dusch an email, email@example.com, with the phrase “Yes Bill, I want to put in my 2¢ to United Way” in the subject line. For more information, visit www.crowdrise.com/giveyour2centstounit/fundraiser/billdusch or www.uwcentralcarolinas.org