Run, Brad, Run!
By Matt Blumberg
CEO & Chairman
A few years ago we announced our support of a charity called the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis (see the post about it here and learn more about Accelerated Cure here). While we have a strong culture of giving back to the community at Return Path and do that in several ways, we chose this charity as the main beneficiary of our corporate philanthropy efforts for three reasons:
- We wanted to support research into finding a cure for MS to honor and support one of our earliest colleagues, Sophie Miller Audette who was diagnosed with MS about 5 years ago (and is still going strong as one of our key sales directors!) – and since then, two other members of the Return Path extended family have also been diagnosed with MS
- We wanted to support an organization with a focused mission and one where our contributions could really make a difference
- Accelerated Cure has a very entrepreneurial, innovative culture that’s consistent with our own – and a solution-oriented approach to their cause that resonates with our business philosophy
We got introduced to Accelerated Cure by Brad Feld, one of Return Path’s venture investors, who is a friend of Art Mellor, Accelerated Cure’s founder and CEO. Brad’s an interesting guy for many reasons, but one reason is that he has a goal of running 50 marathons (one in each state) by the time he’s 50. He has eight years and 40 marathons to go, and to make it a little more significant he decided to try and drum up some sponsorships for his quest and donate the money to Accelerated Cure.
Return Path has decided to be one of Brad’s anchor tenant sponsors by pledging $1,000 for every race he completes. This is half of Brad’s goal of $2,000 per race, and we hope it will inspire others to donate so he can beat his goal. Of course, Brad wants to do more than just run these marathons – he wants to, well, accelerate his performance. So, taking a page out of the VC handbook, we’re setting up an incentive program for Brad of an additional $500 donation for every race that he completes in less than four hours.
Besides liking both Brad and Accelerated Cure, this particular vehicle for donating money is especially meaningful to us. A good number of Return Path employees past and present have run marathons and even competed in triathlons and Ironman competitions (including yours truly, but in a way that certainly makes me want to keep my day job). And Seth Matheson, Accelerated Cure’s new development director who has MS, is an avid marathoner who is contemplating an Ironman competition himself. And as I always tell our team members, running a startup is a marathon, not a sprint!
You can follow Brad’s progress – and make a donation yourself – here.
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About Matt Blumberg
Matt Blumberg founded Return Path in 1999 because he believed the world needed email to work better. Matt is passionate about enhancing the online relationship between email subscribers and marketers so that both sides of the equation benefit. It is with great pride that he has watched this initial creation grow to a company of more than 400 employees with the market leading brand, innovative products, and the email industry’s most renowned experts. Before Return Path, Matt ran marketing, product management, and the internet group for MovieFone, Inc. (later acquired by AOL). Prior to that he served as an associate with private equity firm General Atlantic Partners and was a consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University. You can learn much more about Matt by reading his email marketing and entrepreneurship blog Only Once – one of the first CEO blogs on the Internet. Last year he wrote a book, Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business.