From golf tournaments to auctions and 5Ks, fundraising events can be fairly unoriginal. Ten years ago the Twin Cities Salvation Army looked for a unique annual fundraising op- portunity to engage a younger demographic. They came up with the MOST Amazing Race.
The MOST Amazing Race, like the reality television show, is a team race through Minneapolis. Thirty teams of two race to complete between 10 or more challenges in different locations over the span of four to six hours. “People are always looking for fun things to try in the summer,” says Julie Orlando, special events manager for the Salvation Army Northern Division. “This race is not only fun, but it also makes a huge difference in the community.”
To celebrate The MOST Amazing Race’s 10th year, this year’s race is revisiting some of the favorite challenges from over the years. Some of the most memorable challenges include playing hockey with the Minnesota Wild, diving from the 10-meter (32 feet) platform at the U of M Aquatic Center, eating sushi and a wasabi bomb from a local restaurant, building a pipeline to a cardboard house and assembling Salvation Army red kettles.
The Salvation Army also uses 100-150 volunteers to run the day-long event. “It’s really exciting for them, too,” says Orlando. “They don’t know what they’ll be helping with until they get there because the challenges are top secret. We get volunteers who come back year after year because they have so much fun.”
Since the race began in 2006, there have been 1,200 racers. Teams must raise at least $250 to enter the race, but many go above and beyond that number. The Salvation Army has raised $550,000 through the race for hunger and housing programs in the Twin Cities. The top 10 fundraising teams skip the qualifier, where teams compete for the remaining 20 spots in the race.
Six other cities will host races patterned after the Twin Cities’ event this year. “Every year people come from all over to watch and plan their races,” says Orlando. Other cities include Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Arlington, Texas; Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Raleigh, North Carolina.