Annual Hometown Hustle supports RCS Foundation

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 17, 2013

ROCHESTER — Last year, Rochester Community Schools’ signature fundraising event, the 5k Hometown Hustle, more than tripled its participants, and organizers hope more people will show their support during the eighth annual event.

“Last year, we jumped from 300 to 850 participants. We were just overwhelmed. … So if we could get to 1,000 this year, that would be great,” said RCS Community Relations Manager Debbi Hartman.

The event, set for May 11, is a timed 5k race and fun run/walk for all levels of runners and walkers.

“They event is for everybody. … If they are avid runners, generally what happens is they are at the start line and they go off first, and then everybody who is either running at a leisurely pace or walking follows them. It’s essentially three miles, so if you are walking it, it’s about an hour, and if you are running it, it’s about 15 minutes. We encourage both. We do have prizes for the runners who are timed in different categories, so there is an opportunity for people to train for a longer run or keep track of their time if they are doing a running journal,” Hartman said.

The route runs through the historic neighborhoods of downtown Rochester, Rochester Municipal Park, and along the Paint Creek and Clinton River trails.

“It’s a very popular course. We have people who are not necessarily part of the community who come to participate because they really like the course,” Hartman added.

To encourage family participation and community involvement, reduced pricing instituted last year will remain in place this year. A family of five can register for $50, individual registration is $20 and K-12 student participation is $10.

Registration is now open at or

All proceeds will go toward the Rochester Community Schools Foundation — which supports academics, arts and athletics through student scholarships, mini-grants to educators and cultural and athletic programs. The Rochester Community Schools Foundation, one of the first school foundations in Michigan, was established in 1995 to support and advance learning for students by obtaining contributions for academics, arts and athletics.

The 2012 Hometown Hustle raised $22,000, and organizers hope to raise $25,000 this year.

“The money is designated for programs and services that are supported throughout the foundation, so that could be through grant applications or other activities that the foundation supports,” Hartman said. “All of the money that’s raised through the foundation goes directly back to the school district.”

Hartman said the Hometown Hustle brings community members of all ages together to celebrate Rochester Community Schools, and the communities of Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township.

“It’s the major fundraiser for the Rochester Community Schools Foundation, and it’s also a great opportunity for our families to enjoy an activity together,” she said. “Of course, we invite the whole community to attend, and we welcome them.”

Although the premier sponsors of the 2013 Hometown Hustle have been filled — they include Drs. Kurt Doolin and Jeff Haddad, of Rochester Advanced Dentistry; Clark Hill; JHP Pharmaceuticals; and Kaiser Studios — opportunities for $500 trail sponsors and $150 T-shirt sponsors remain.

“The sponsorships allow us to raise more money than we would just through entry fees, and it gives people an opportunity to get some recognition while supporting the foundation and the school district. It shows that they are good community members,” Hartman added.

Rochester Advanced Dentistry has served as a premier event sponsor for a number of years, according to Jeff Haddad.

“We have such a good school system, but any good school system needs support, so for us to support our schools … is (really important). We’re helping the community at one of the most important levels, building our future and giving our kids a good structure for education and development,” he said.

Haddad, who is an avid runner, said he never misses the event.

“The last two years, I ran it, and then I actually ran back and walked it with my wife, my 5 year old and my 3 year old,” he said. “It’s a fairly large event, from a turnout perspective, but it feels very small-town — which is very appealing. You really feel like you’re a part of the Rochester family.”

For sponsorship information, contact Susan Herring at the Rochester Community Schools Foundation board office at or (248) 726-3190.

To donate or learn more about the event, call (248) 726-3190 or visit