Industry leaders help set a New York City Kidney Walk fundraising record
Larry Weiss, president of Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office and Rick Taylor, president & CEO of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., sponsors of the 2019 New York City Kidney Walk, have done it.
Last year’s walk set a record for money raised by a single walk at approximately $1 million. Inspired by that success, Taylor promised to exceed that total this year to support the NKF’s lifesaving outreach initiatives and research.
“I promised a year ago that we would raise the most money ever for the New York City Kidney Walk,” recalled Taylor. “Larry was beside himself and I said to him, now we have to follow through and we did.”
This year’s walk raised $1.140 million.
The walk, which took place on November 10, benefitted the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease.
Held in nearly 100 communities, more than 85,000 walkers join NKF annually to help kidney patients and their families each year. More than 80 cents of every dollar donated directly supports NKF programs and services. The walk started in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan with participants walking halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge and back.
Weiss has supported the NKF in various ways for 25 years. And Taylor, who has been personally impacted by kidney disease, was recruited to participate last year by Weiss.
According to Weiss, they hit that goal because of Taylor’s competitiveness.
“’We better win,’ he kept telling me,” recalled Weiss. “I felt like I was working for him.”
Also contributing to a successful walk was the participation of teams from Atlantic, Tomorrow’s Office and Konica Minolta.
“It brought the company closer,” said Weiss. “It became a team-building exercise. We’re going to do it every year and I hope to raise as much money or more every year.”
Atlantic’s offices competed against each other to see which office would raise the most or have the most participants. They also held raffles and contests in the office to raise money.
More than 100 Konica Minolta employees participated in the walk and Konica Minolta was responsible for raising a significant amount of money. Taylor also did his part, reaching out to colleagues in the industry as well as Konica Minolta vendors to support the charity.
“We said if you want to give $137 that could be for the 137 million people that have kidney disease, many of which are undiagnosed,” noted Taylor. “Or if you could give $12 that’s for the 12 people each day that needs a transplant. All of a sudden, I’m getting tons of $12 donations. That was a heartfelt gesture as well as a couple of our dealers who gave a lot of money. Every single person I asked to give money gave money and some gave a significant amount.”
One of the most rewarding things about being a co-chair for Weiss was the enthusiasm of his employees. Many approached him after the walk telling him how much fun they had and wanting to know if Atlantic was going to do it again next year.
According to Taylor, it is a fun and rewarding event. It’s also a walk that pretty much anyone can do.
“You walk halfway over the Brooklyn Bridge and back,” added Weiss. “You’re not going to break a sweat. All you’re going to do is get your steps in. You’ll get more steps walking to the restaurant after the event.”
Weiss hosted a lunch at an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn after the event for more than 200 people.
While Weiss and Taylor won’t be co-chairs next year, both plan to assemble teams from their organizations to participate in next year’s walk.
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