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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.