The idea of giving back and making the world a better place is a large part of the RacingThePlanet ethos. Throughout the years, RacingThePlanet has donated much needed funds and supplies to an assortment of charities around the globe. RacingThePlanet primarily supports education and health-related initiatives, but it has also donated to relief efforts and non-profit organizations focusing on countries where our races have taken place. The list below describes some of the charities that RacingThePlanet has supported since its inception in 2002.
Do note that the list does not include the millions of dollars raised by competitors through their participation in 4 Deserts Race Ultramarathon Series and RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon races. While not a requirement, competitors are encouraged to support charities of their choosing; this oftentimes adds incentive in training and racing, as well as an entirely new purpose for taking part in a race. RacingThePlanet supports competitor fundraising efforts by providing additional race information and media materials.
Operation Smile International
Since 2003, RacingThePlanet has raised and donated more than US$750,000 to support Operation Smile medical missions in China, Vietnam and Egypt, among other countries. Operation Smile heals children's smiles by providing safe, effective reconstructive surgery for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, RacingThePlanet donated US$15,000 to provide food, soap and face masks to communities in Madagascar.
Esquel – Y.L. Yang Education Foundation
Since 2005, RacingThePlanet has donated US$40,000 to support Uyghur schools with books, computers and sports equipment in Xinjiang Province, China. To celebrate its 10th Anniversary in 2012, RacingThePlanet announced a seven-year joint scholarship program to support the education of young women in the Gobi Desert. [PDF]
Desert Lion Conservation Project
RacingThePlanet supports Dr Philip Stander and the Desert Lion Conservation Project in Namibia which seeks to understand and protect the last remaining desert lions in the world. RacingThePlanet has donated money for tracking collars, fuel and food to support the efforts.
RacingThePlanet has donated to RUN, an organization that supports vulnerable refugees in Hong Kong.
Missouri Botanical Garden (Madagascar)
RacingThePlanet donated US$5,000 to support a community-based tourism initiative in Oronjia, Madagascar managed by the Missouri Botanical Garden, a non-profit organization which has a 25-year history of conservation efforts in Madagascar.
EARTHQUAKE IN ECUADOR
An earthquake in Ecuador occurred on 16 April 2016 with a magnitude of 7.8. RacingThePlanet donated more than 25 tents to support relief efforts.
Erdene Zuu Monastery
Room to Read
RacingThePlanet has raised US$160,000 to support Room to Read, an organization promoting literacy and gender equality in education.
RacingThePlanet raised more than US$45,000 to support victims of the earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, in 2008. The earthquake killed more than 68,000 people and occurred just days before the Gobi March 2008.
Instituto Ondas Da Inclusao
Free to Run
RacingThePlanet supports Free to Run, a non-profit organization that uses running, physical fitness and outdoor adventure as a means of empowering and educating females in conflict-affected communities. In 2015, RacingThePlanet fully sponsored two Afghan women to compete as a part of Afghanistan’s first ultramarathon team to participate in the Gobi March (China).
EARTHQUAKE IN NEPAL
An earthquake in Nepal occurred on 25 April 2015 with a magnitude of 7.8. RacingThePlanet donated 42 tents and US$5,000 to support relief efforts.
Fundacion Amigos de Jesus
RacingThePlanet donated US$5,000 to Chilean charity Fundacion Amigos de Jesus to support the care of adults and children with disabilities ranging from Downs Syndrome to severe handicaps. The donation was made in conjunction with the 10th Anniversary Edition Atacama Crossing (Chile) and highlighted in this race feature and charity news page.
CUHK Brain Tumour Centre Combined Neuro-Oncology Clinic
RacingThePlanet donated money to support the Otto Lien Da Wong Visiting Professorship in neuro-oncology at the CUHK Brain Tumour Centre. Australian Otto Wong was a competitor in the inaugural Gobi March 2003. He passed away suddenly from a brain tumor while at his home in Hong Kong at the young age of 38.
Habitat for Humanity
RacingThePlanet raised more than US$15,000 for Habitat for Humanity to support victims of the 8.8 massive earthquake in Chile in 2010 which happened just one week before the Atacama Crossing 2010.
Dawul Remote Community School
At the request of the principal of the Dawul Remote Community School, an aboriginal school in the Kimberley. RacingThePlanet donated running shoes and scarves to the school in 2010 and 2011. The RacingThePlanet medical team spent a day at the school teaching the kids about medical career options and dancing.
Tsenkher Soum Secondary School
In 2019, RacingThePlanet donated US$3,000 to Tsenkher Soum Secondary School in Mongolia to create and furnish an English learning lab and to make further improvements to the school. This donation was handled by Peace Corps volunteer Jacqueline Eastridge (US).
Bright Start Montessori School
At the request of locals in Namibia, RacingThePlanet donated US$2,000 to fund new computers for the Bright Start Montessori School.
Child Welfare Scheme
RacingThePlanet donated US$5,000 to support disadvantaged children in Nepal through the Child Welfare Scheme.
Royal Flying Doctor Service
RacingThePlanet donated US$5,000 in 2010 to support the Royal Flying Doctor Service, an organization that provides medical support in the Outback of Australia.
In 2016, RacingThePlanet donated US$5,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Chile to support initiatives in the Atacama region of northern Chile. The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a 501 non-profit organization founded in the United States that helps fulfill the wishes of children with a critical illness.
Ocean Voyages Institute (Project Kaisei)
RacingThePlanet donated US$5,000 in 2010 to support a clean-up of the ocean through the Ocean Voyages Institute.
Red Cross (Earthquake in Japan)
RacingThePlanet donated money to support earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. The earthquake and resulting tsunami took place during the Atacama Crossing 2011.
RacingThePlanet donated to support Outward Bound Hong Kong, a global leader in outdoor experiential education.