Boston's ClimbCorps Helps Unfit Take a Step in Right Direction

Photo Courtesy of ClimbCorps

ClimbCorps is the brainchild of one of Boston’s best hospitals, Brigham & Women’s, and Steven Biondolillo, a founder and leader in the walk-fundraising movement in this country. Way back in 1984, Steve coined the term signature event, which nonprofit professionals use to describe their major fundraising events.

Building fundraisers are not new. The American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb, has been around for years. But in designing ClimbCorps, the Brigham and Steve had a bolder vision for America’s stairwells.

  • — This past January, ClimbCorps hosted the first set of climb-a-thons to raise awareness and funds to help fight heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. More than 1,000 people participated in Climb America!, and together they raised $75,000.
  • — ClimbCorp is a service corp–similar to those run by City Year and AmeriCorps–but it’s the first to focus on health and wellness. ClimbCorp has trained 20 college graduates to organize “Climb Clubs” in some of Boston’s tallest buildings. During lunchtime and after work, these service members lead stair climbing programs for employees in ten buildings.
  • — When they’re not leading climbing programs in buildings, ClimbCorps service members are busy in the community educating a variety of groups about heart health, and how easy it is to get started with their own ClimbCorps program.
  • — This fall, ClimbCorps is launching a Million Staircase Crusade in high schools to engage students in health and wellness, and to organize a year-long climb event that encourages students to be (and stay) active.

The Million Staircase Crusade reflects the Brigham’s goal to bring ClimbCorps to every stairwell in this country. With heart disease, inactivity, and obesity a serious issue in every corner of America, and plenty of empty stairwells in office buildings everywhere, ClimbCorps is a big step in the right direction.