The 12th Annual Shamrock Shuffle, hosted by The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty, will be held March 17. We talked to Erin Clemons, president and CEO of The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty, to find out more about the event. She also shared about her sense of community and passion for helping others.
The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty’s Shamrock Shuffle is a 5K/10K Race and Community Block Party, which hosts more than 5,000 attendees on The Square @ Union Centre in West Chester.
Proceeds support the Community Foundation’s Community Grants Fund and ongoing operations, as well as the many different nonprofit organizations who register a team through the Shuffle Gives Back program. Last year, the Shamrock Shuffle raised more than $110,000 and granted $32,000 back to participating charity teams.
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Q: Tell us about yourself?
A: I am a working mother, a wife, and have a passion for West Chester and Liberty townships.
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
A: It is a complete balancing act as a working mother, but I would not have it any other way. I try to be 100 percent present as a mom and President and CEO.
Q: What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
A: I grew up in this community, and I am truly passionate about making certain this is a great place to live, work, and play for future generations. The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty makes grants on an annual basis to many worthy causes. However, we are planning as well for the future of this community.
Q: What are some of hobbies when you’re not working?
A: My favorite thing to do outside of family and career is be active. I have a love for cycling, running, and swimming. I even co-founded a women’s elite category 1/category 2 cycling team called Women’s Racing Project. I no longer have time to train like I did before having a busy career and family life, but I try to get out and do something outdoors three times a week.
Q: What do you love the most about West Chester?
A: I was raised here, and my husband and I are raising our family here. This is a great community for raising a family. People are friendly, and I love the strong sense of community that is fostered by a passion for helping others.
Q: You’ve been busy gearing up for the Shamrock Shuffle. What goes into getting ready for it each year?
A: Planning for Shamrock Shuffle begins each fall. The Community Foundation staff, along with our committee of volunteers, our race director Ben Groh of Cincy Race, timing company GHG Timing, and the West Chester Twp. team work through coordinating everything from the race route to the Block Party layout, to volunteer needs, and registration. We have a great group of sponsors and food vendors that help add to the event and make it a great community day for runners, families, and nonprofits.
Q: Can you give us an overview of Shamrock Shuffle – as far as an outline of events and activities?
A: The main events for are the Total Wealth Planning 5K and the UCBMA 10K, but we have a lot going on at the Square on race day.
Shamrock Shuffle begins bright and early with same-day registration and packet pickup at MidPointe Library beginning at 7:30 a.m. Runners can also pick up their pre-registered packets on the Thursday or Friday before the race at Midpointe Library. All 5K and 10K runners will start and 9 a.m. and any 5K walkers or those with strollers or dogs will head out at 9:05 a.m. The Block Party fun begins at 9:30 a.m. with lots of food vendors, beer, sponsor booths, and the i9 Sports Leprechaun Lap Mini Race at 10 a.m. The popular Beer Obstacle Course will run throughout the Block Party, as well. Everything will wrap up around noon.
Q: Tell us about the history of Shamrock Shuffle? What’s in store for this year?
A: Shamrock Shuffle began as a very small event in 2006 put on by the Foundation’s Youth in Philanthropy high school group. Through the years it has grown and evolved into a larger event, in partnership with West Chester Township. We’ve held steady at around 5,000 participants for the past four years and expect that level of attendance to continue. However, with the event happening on St. Patrick’s Day this year we do anticipate a slightly larger crowd.
Q: The Shamrock Shuffle is hosted by the Community Foundation. Can you give us an update on some of the initiatives of the Community Foundation?
A: The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty recently completed at comprehensive Community Needs Assessment to determine areas where philanthropy can make a significant impact. The assessment process wrapped up last spring and identified education, transportation, and workforce development as specific areas of need. For 2018, we have shifted our grant funding priorities to align with those areas of focus.
We are also working to complete our Forever Fund Operating Endowment. A fully-funded endowment will mean the Foundation is here in the community for generations to come. Currently, we are at $3.85M of a $5M goal to be completed by the end of 2018.
Overall, our mission to serve the West Chester/Liberty community by addressing needs today and building for future needs remains the same. We are turning generosity into impact by encourage, supporting, and facilitating philanthropy and creating a more vibrant community in West Chester and Liberty Townships.
Q: What do you anticipate will be some of the highlights for 2018?
A: The event being on St. Patrick’s Day will, I think, create greater enthusiasm and we are really looking forward to seeing everyone dressed in their green. In celebration of the holiday, we will have an Irish Stout on tap. The Beer Obstacle Course is always fun, to both participate in and watch.
Q: Personally, what do you enjoy the most about the Shamrock Shuffle?
A: I just love seeing everyone come together to have a great time and support the community.
Q: Why would you encourage others to participate?
A: The Shamrock Shuffle is a great family-friendly, community-driven event and provide a fun way to support both the community and, more specifically, the causes and organizations you care about. We’ve had rave reviews about our Block Party! You don’t want to miss the great food, beer, and activities.
Q: How have you seen the community come together to support Shamrock Shuffle?
A: The addition and growth of Shuffle Gives Back has really resulted in the community taking ownership in the event, and we love that. Some teams create their own shirts and reserve a spot at the Block Party to promote their charity of choice. It has been really great to see the community rally behind philanthropy and charitable giving.
Q: What are the details of this year’s event? How can the community find out more information, or get involved?
A: The 12th Annual Shamrock Shuffle, presented by Park National Bank, will take place on March 17 at The Square @ Union Centre. The races go off at 9 a.m. and the Block Party continues until noon.
Please visit our website, www.theshamrockshuffle.com, for more details, ways to get involved, and a complete list of our generous sponsors.