Dan Futrell, Tillman Scholar & CEO, Pat Tillman Foundation
Tomorrow we open up registration for the 17th annual Pat’s Run but before we do, I want to share a little more about how running Pat’s Run supports our Tillman Scholars. Pat’s Run is the single event where our community gets to gather together once a year, and we’re so disappointed to be doing this virtually for the second year in a row. We spent our summer and fall exploring approaches to hold Pat’s Run in person this year but in the end, gathering nearly 30,000 runners, walkers and volunteers was not possible considering the current guidelines from the City of Tempe and Arizona State University, the direction that COVID trendlines are moving and the lead time required to plan for Pat’s Run.
Over the last 12 years, because of your support, we’ve supported nearly 700 Tillman Scholars with more than $20 million in scholarships and leadership development programming, preparing them for work in healthcare, law, business, education, policy and more. Annually, we give out about $1.5 million to veterans and military spouses pursuing their degrees after, and sometimes during, their uniformed service, supporting leaders like Kim Shaughnessy, a 2017 Tillman Scholar who earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Villanova University and who was recognized in 2020 as the best senior nurse in the Navy.
Participating in Pat’s Run 2021, even if virtual, means that we’ll be able to support the next class of 2021 Tillman Scholars this summer. This is our primary fundraiser and because of your commitment to our Tillman Scholars, we’ve been able to increase average scholarship amounts ever since our first class of Tillman Scholars in 2009 . For that reason alone, even while we all miss each other in Tempe this year, we hope people are still excited to run virtually this year and share your photos and stories of your run with the rest of the Pat’s Run community.
Last year, our Tillman Scholars organized a 24 hour relay across the country to show their thanks for your support. Every scholar ran their 4.2 miles wherever they were and, when they were complete, another scholar picked up the relay. This year, the Tillman Scholar community is planning a 42-hour relay over race weekend, April 24-25. Kevin Bubolz, a 2020 Tillman Scholar who ran 42 miles in one day last fall for the Pat Tillman Foundation and who’s working on a business degree at the University of Minnesota, will be running again.
You are part of the community that allows us to continue supporting Tillman Scholars, because of your belief in our work and your belief in the values by which Pat lived his life, values that guide us today — scholarship, service, humble leadership and impact. Your passion drives us as a community and as an organization, and leads us to hold ourselves to the highest standards. The Pat Tillman Foundation has been rated as a 4-star nonprofit, the highest rating possible, by Charity Navigator since 2017.
If you want to learn more about the Tillman Scholars that Pat’s Run registration supports, please visit our Scholars page, where you can learn more about the 695 remarkable veterans and military spouses we unite and empower. Again, thank you so much for your support over the years and we hope that you’ll join us virtually in 2021 and, hopefully, we’ll be back together again in person to celebrate in 2022. Thank you.