Formed in 2004, A Running Start is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to using the power of sports to improve the lives of young East Africans. This region, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, is impoverished yet is home to the world's greatest store of running talent. Our mission is to harness this talent in order to allow more East Africans to earn a U.S. university education from their athletic gift, to leverage sports to inspire local children to stay in school and to enable more talented young athletes to earn a living from the sport.
Sport is an increasingly popular tool for youth development and social change in developing countries. In 2008, Nike and the non-profit organization Ashoka selected A Running Start Foundation as one of 16 finalists out of over 380 applicants for its Sport For a Better World charity competition.
Each of our projects are oriented to assisting youngsters in East Africa, rather than established elite athletes, and are carefully selected and tightly managed to maximize results and eliminate waste. We work with many of the most respected coaches, school officials and athletes in the region and we are the exclusive or primary donor for each project. Our projects are locally-managed and most are based in high-altitude, rural and impoverished regions of East Africa where sports and education are the best means to a better life.
A Running Start Foundation funds three types of youth development projects.