April 1, 2020
Fourth Annual Winter Walk Raises $485K, the Most to Date

February 10, 2020 —Winter Walk, an effort to raise awareness to prevent and end homelessness, yesterday raised $485,000, beating its goal and setting a record since the annual fundraiser launched three years ago.

Funds generated through Winter Walk, sponsored under the umbrella of Boston Medical Center, will support Greater Boston nonprofit organizations working to prevent, support, and care for those who are homeless.

The event, which raised $210,000 from walkers and $210,000 from sponsors, sought to raise $400,000.

Ari Barbanell, Winter Walk executive director, said, "The success of our fourth annual Winter Walk is an incredible and overwhelming show of support for the issue of homelessness in Greater Boston. Our fundraising numbers hit record highs, and this energizes us to engage our community to take action and raise awareness year-round. We are so grateful for all the wonderful people who showed up in the cold yesterday to say that ending homelessness is within our reach."

She said the efforts of the organization's co-chairs, Dave Beeston and Enrique Colbert, "made a significant impact, as did our growing partnership with the incredible Boston Medical Center."

A total of 1,700 walkers, supported by 200 volunteers, participated this year, up from 1,500 walkers last year. The funds from sponsors will be used for the organization's administrative budget, while the funds raised by the walkers will be distributed among six organizations that work with homeless people:
  • Boston Health Care for the Homeless, which cares for 11,000 homeless men, women, and children each year.

  • Boston Medical Center, which provides a number of programs focused on homeless and vulnerable populations in Boston.

  • Bridge Over Troubled Waters, which offers a comprehensive range of services and programs for homeless youth in Boston.

  • Brookview House, which provides women and children experiencing homelessness with housing and on-site services and programs to pursue education, job training and employment in order to achieve long-term stability and economic independence.

  • Pine Street Inn, which provides a comprehensive range of services to more than 1,900 homeless men and women each day.

  • Y2Y Harvard Square, which employs a youth-to-youth model to provide a safe environment for young adults experiencing homelessness.
Sponsors included Boston Medical Center, Boston HealthNet Plan, along with CBRE, Liberty Mutual, Natixis, The Red Sox Foundation, and Wayfair.

The two-mile walk, which started and ended in Copley Square, wending along Boylston Street and around the Boston Common, raised $100,000 in its first year, and close to $140,000 each of its second and third years, from those who walked and donated.

Adults participating in in the walk paid a $100 registration fee; students and those under age 15 paid $50. Children under 5 walked free. Participants were not required to raise additional funds, but were encouraged to do so by setting up a fundraising page on the Classy fundraising platform.

According to Winter Walk, approximately 6,200 people are homeless in Boston. For many people homelessness is a temporary crisis, with most seeking support from friends and family, if they have them. When social supports fail or do not exist, people must turn to those public resources that are available in their community.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 18,471 people in Massachusetts were counted as experiencing homelessness during January 2019. This included 12,212 people in families with children and 6,259 adults over age 24 in households without children. The presence or absence of affordable housing is a main driving force behind the rise in homelessness, according to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

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