Campaign will combine corporate support with a web-based grassroots fundraising drive with RMJM and AECOM on board as founding sponsors
Actor and longtime conservation activist Edward Norton will run the ING New York City Marathon as part of a team raising awareness and financial support for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, a Kenya-based conservation organization. Norton and 3 Maasai warriors will be leading 30 people from all walks of life running the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 1st. The organization has launched a web-based fundraising effort (www.maasaimarathon.com) to bring together corporate sponsors and a grassroots network of donors sponsoring the team of runners. Norton helped create the U.S. non-profit partner of the organization and serves as President of the organization's Board. It will be the first marathon for Norton and his Maasai teammates, most of whom have never traveled away from their community in southern Kenya.
The campaign will raise funds for the Trust's programs in conservation, education and health care as part of its mission to promote conservation and sustainable economic development. The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust works in partnership with the Maasai community to foster practices that benefit people and wildlife as well as the ecosystem that they both depend on. The legendary biodiversity of the East African grasslands ecosystem and the famous culture of the Maasai people are both threatened by competition between people and wildlife, water shortages, sub-division of land and urban migration. The urgency of these issues is currently exacerbated by a severe drought taking place in Kenya.
In initiating the marathon campaign, Norton and the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust are partnering with two major corporations committing both financial capacity and services critical to the effort. RMJM, an international architecture and design firm with special expertise in constructing healthcare facilities, and AECOM (NYSE: ACM), a global provider of professional technical and management support services with expertise in environmental planning and management, are the founding sponsors of the project and are fielding staff members on the Marathon team.
In addition to pledging funds and fielding the team, RMJM and AECOM have also come on board offering much-needed professional services to MWCT. Specifically RMJM is designing, planning and funding a state-of-the-art health clinic for the Maasai community, some of whom currently walk up to 60 miles for care. The health clinic will be designed by a team from RMJM's Global Health and Science Studio in New York and will follow sustainable design principles. The acclaimed healthcare organization Partners in Health has provided strategic advice and expertise toward designing a community health strategy. AECOM is providing strategic organizational planning, conservation strategy, eco-tourism business and marketing guidance to advance the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust's conservation and education efforts.
"I got involved with the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust about 8 years ago and I really believe in the work they do," notes Norton. "Their approach to conservation is a model for the kind of partnerships we need to forge if we're going to solve the puzzle of being human but living sustainably within our environment. We came up with the idea of raising funds by fielding a team of runners because the Maasai are born runners, runners as a matter of culture and heritage. I've never run a marathon before and the difficulty of it is both intimidating and motivating, especially when it's for a cause like this, and having RMJM and AECOM on board on this initiative is incredibly exciting ----- like a turbo-booster on our efforts."
RMJM's CEO, Peter Morrison, who will himself run in the marathon, said: "As a global firm, we have a global responsibility to help those who need it most. Quality healthcare is a serious need for the Maasai people as very few clinics exist and, as one of the foremost healthcare design firms in the world, we believe we can make a significant contribution to a healthy and sustainable future for the Maasai. We are thrilled to be working with Edward Norton to put our architects' skills to work for a fantastic cause."
"The goals of this alliance closely mirror those of AECOM -- to enhance and sustain the world's built, natural and social environments," said John M. Dionisio, AECOM president and chief executive officer. "We are proud to support the efforts of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust as it protects the Maasai's land and their way of life."
The marathon is the premier annual event of New York Road Runners, which will have 6,800 runners representing more than 80 charities with a combined fundraising goal of $21 million. The 40th running of the marathon is expected to draw more than 40,000 runners.
RMJM is a UK-based international firm of architects with offices throughout the U.S., UK, Asia and the Middle East. Founded in 1956 by renowned British architects Robert Matthew and Stirrat Johnson-Marshall, today RMJM is one of the world's largest architectural practices and employs almost 1,000 people in 16 international offices in Abu Dhabi, Cambridge, Dubai, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Moscow, New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, Shanghai, Singapore, St. Petersburg and Washington, D.C. RMJM's expertise and design-led approach is successfully demonstrated in on-going projects in more than 20 countries spanning a wide range of key sectors, from corporate headquarters and waterfront residential developments to major public buildings, university campuses and large-scale regeneration programs. The company currently has more than $15 billion worth of construction projects on its drawing boards, including some of the world's most high-profile and ambitious projects. For more information, visit www.rmjm.com or contact Jennifer Potash at email@example.com, 609-580-4003.
AECOM (NYSE: ACM) is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental and energy. With 44,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation, and technical excellence in delivering solutions that enhance and sustain the world's built, natural, and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 100 countries and had revenue of $6.1 billion during the 12-month period ended June 30, 2009. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at www.aecom.com or by contacting Paul Gennaro at Paul.Gennaro@aecom.com, 212.973.3167.
About New York Road Runners
New York Road Runners is dedicated to promoting the sport of distance running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and responding to community needs. Its road races and other fitness programs draw upwards of 300,000 runners annually, and together with our magazine and website support and promote professional and recreational running. A staff of more than 100, assisted by thousands of volunteers, stages the ING New York City Marathon, as well as a road race nearly every weekend plus many track and cross country events. NYRR's home base in New York, and its lifelong identification with Central Park, have given many of its events iconic status, attracting the world's top professional runners. Our youth programs provide running to 75,000 schoolchildren in New York City, around the country, and in South Africa who would otherwise have few or no fitness opportunities. For more information visit www.nyrr.org or contact Sara Hunninghake at firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-423-2258.
The ING New York City Marathon
Celebrating its 40th running in 2009, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world's great road races, drawing more than 100,000 applicants annually. Since the inception of the official charity program in 2006, more than 13,600 runners have raised nearly $50 million. The race, the premier event of New York Road Runners, attracts many world-class professional athletes, not only for the more than $800,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to excel in the media capital of the world before two million cheering spectators and a worldwide television viewing audience of more than 300 million. As any one of the nearly 788,000 past participants will attest, crossing the finish line in Central Park is one of the great thrills of a lifetime. For more information, visit www.ingnycmarathon.org.
About Edward Norton
Edward Norton is a two-time Academy Award nominated actor whose films include PRIMAL FEAR, THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT, AMERICAN HISTORY X, FIGHT CLUB, THE 25TH HOUR, THE ILLUSIONIST, THE PAINTED VEIL, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, PRIDE AND GLORY and LEAVES OF GRASS. Norton also founded and co-runs Class 5 Films which has produced several films including most recently, BY THE PEOPLE, a feature length documentary film about the Presidential campaign of Barack Obama. Norton is also a committed social and environmental activist. In addition to his role as president of the Board of Directors of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, Norton also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Enterprise Community Partners, which is one of the largest non-profit developers of affordable housing in America. In recent years, Enterprise has made special efforts to confront the challenge of greening affordable housing and Norton founded the Solar Neighbors program which provides solar power technology to low-income homeowners. Norton recently testified on behalf of Enterprise before the Congressional Select Committee on Climate Change in their hearing to explore the central role of development and construction on greenhouse gas emissions. Norton also serves on the board of New York's Signature Theater Company and he is one of the founding Board members of Friends of the High Line in New York City.