Fund Staffers Trade BPs for Bibs at Boston Marathon
SuperUser Account posted on April 18, 2016
By Kristen Bahler April 18, 2016
Bob Boyda’s first time running the Boston Marathon was cut short at mile 24, when twin blasts tore through the crowd.
Manulife’s head of asset allocation returned the following year, 2014, just to prove that he could finish. On Monday, he’ll be running for the fourth consecutive time, and at 59 years old, he says this race won’t be his last.
Bob Boyda, Manulife
“This started out as a bucket-list item, but it seems I’ve become addicted to it,” he says. “You’re running with all of these people who have taken months to train, and the whole course is lined with spectators cheering you on. The energy is almost like a tailwind.”
The marathon is a hugely important event for the city of Boston, and for many of the fund shop employees who live or work there. Every year, the race draws about 30,000 entrants and 500,000 spectators, according to the Boston Athletic Association (BAA).
There are two categories of runners: those running for charity, and those who “qualify” and are running to win. Asset managers with offices in Boston have employee representatives in both groups.
On the charity side, John Hancock, a Manulife subsidiary, has been the marathon’s principal sponsor for the last 30 years. The firm supports the BAA, the event’s organizer, in making the philanthropic component possible.
Charities apply for bib numbers through the John Hancock Marathon Non-Profit Program, and every donations-based runner is assigned a target amount they’re expected to raise for their cause (some run in teams, and get a proportionate number of bibs based on the amount they raise). Boston-area nonprofits such as the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Home for Little Wanderers and the St. Francis House depend on the race for the funds that power their operations year-round.
Last year, participants ran on behalf of more than 200 nonprofits, and raised $28.3 million for charity. By Monday morning, the 2016 marathon has raised $24.7 million, with donations still flowing in.
For Boston-based companies, the marathon is a chance to support the community and unite its workforce, says Rick Rummage, president of recruiting firm The Rummage Group, which bills itself as “the sports agents” for financial services industry.
“This is a big opportunity for corporate America to show that they care about employees, and that they care about fund-raising for their communities,” Rummage says. “It’s a good reputation-builder.”
Boyda, one of 170 John Hancock employees running the marathon, is raising funds for the South Boston Neighborhood House, a community organization serving low-income children and families. During his first three runs, he’s collected north of $100,000 on behalf of the nonprofit. Boyda’s fund-raising page shows that he’d nabbed nearly $39,000 for the 2016 race.
Pioneer Investments has two employees running this year, Collette Fidrych and Wes Forsyth; both are regional sales specialists supporting Dana Farber. Forsyth runs in memory of his mother, who died of cancer less than two years ago.
Many runners are lifelong Boston residents — like Michael Younis, an ESG analyst onState Street’s corporate governance team, who is running for Bottom Line, a nonprofit partner of State Street’s Boston WINs program. “I grew up on the marathon route, so I’m looking forward to experiencing the event from [a] runner’s perspective,” he says.
Courtney Graham, a trading assistant manager for global income at Eaton Vance, grew up outside of Boston and has lived in the city since college. Graham is a member of Tedy’s Team, a group of runners raising money for the American Stroke Association.
“It’s hard not to be inspired by the energy of the crowds along the race and the determination of those running,” she says.
Natixis subsidiary Loomis Sayles has a handful of employees running as part of Hancock’s charity bib program. For Orla O’Brien, a media associate for Loomis, this will be her first time. Like Manulife’s Boyda, O’Brien is raising funds for the South Boston Neighborhood House. It’s an organization close to her heart — O’Brien grew up in South Boston, and says she participated in several house programs as a teenager. By Monday, O’Brien had raised more than $11,000 for the organization.
Like many lifelong Boston residents, O’Brien has long viewed Marathon Monday as a symbol of community support and human resilience. The terrorist attacks of 2013 only fortified the spirit behind it, she says.
“The marathon has always been an event that shows everything from humanity: pain, struggle and strength,” she says. “But now it’s also about pride, and showing the world how much our city means to us. We appreciate the race so much more.”
Natixis’s Boston office three blocks from the marathon finish line. The firm has five employees running for charity this year, including regional sales director Kevin McAuliffe, who is running for St. Francis House, a daytime homeless shelter.
“[The 2013 attack] had a huge impact on everyone at Natixis, and it has become more important now than ever to come together and celebrate,” he say. “‘Boston strong’ is a motto many of us live by.”
Sean Cameron, a research analyst for MFS, is a qualifying runner. This will be the second time Cameron has competed in the Boston Marathon, and the fourth time he’s entered a marathon. The atmosphere at the Boston event, he says, is incomparable.
“Both groups — those who qualify and are getting the chance to run with elite athletes, and those who have met fund-raising goals and are running for charity — are bringing an electrifying spirit you can’t find anywhere else,” Cameron says. “It’s a beautiful day with a lot of unspoken, but palpable, emotion.”