James Murray, who works as a program associate for the Near East Foundation, provides critical support to NEF’s projects in Armenia, Mali, Morocco and the West Bank. James will be running the Empire State Marathon on October 14 and has decided to dedicate his 26.2 run to the Near East Foundation to raise awareness and funds for its programs. Read his story below and see how you can help James reach his goal!
Running a marathon has always been a personal goal of mine, so earlier this year I bit the bullet and signed up for the Empire State Marathon!
I consider myself fortunate to be in a position where I can set and work towards personal goals, such as running a marathon. I have the luxury of using my spare time and energy to train, resources to carb up ahead of my long runs, and the loving support of my family and friends during the process. Not everyone in the world has these luxuries.
As many of you may already know, I work at the Near East Foundation, an INGO focused on empowering people out of poverty through programs that focus on education, community organizing, and economic development. Every day I am able to spend my time providing support on projects that economically empower women, many of whom have experienced gender-based violence, support smallholder farmers who are desperately trying to adapt their farming techniques in a changing climate, and providing youth with safe pathways to employment.
While this is incredibly fulfilling work, each day I am conscious of the struggle that consumes so many people’s lives as they are forced to cope with consequences of war, conflict, climate change, and marginalization. Outside of sheer luck and circumstance, I know that not much sets me a part from the people I work to support each day.
While the Empire State Marathon out started as my personal goal, I soon realized that it wouldn’t be enough to simply check a box on my bucket list. Instead, I have decided to dedicate this marathon to the thousands of determined, strong and resilient men, women, and children NEF supports each year, work that I have seen first-hand. I am reaching out to my community to not only raise awareness for the critically needed work NEF is doing, but to also give back.
I have set an ambitious goal to raise $2,500 – all of which will be given to the Near East Foundation to support their continued efforts.
I hope that I can count on your support – no contribution is too small! And if you have any questions about NEF’s work I’d be happy to tell you more about it!
Thank you for your support!