By Leslie Zacks
Membership has its privileges. That is certainly the case with Atlanta Track Club, where membership confers benefits far greater than just access to the AJC Peachtree Road Race, the world's largest and greatest 10K. For me, the greatest privileges are to hear the inspirational success stories of our members and to watch the unbridled enthusiasm of the beaming children who participate in our popular Kilometer Kids program. I also consider it a privilege to serve on the Board and to play my role in developing a strategic plan that provides clarity, direction and focus for our organization.
While the Club is focused on ensuring its ability to safely carry out our mission in these uncertain times, we are also mindful of our future. To this end, a group of passionate staff and Board members rolled up their sleeves and prepared our 2021-2023 Strategic Plan, with the Strategic Planning Committee receiving input from over 3,500 members and volunteers.
The easy part is behind us. We must now lace up our shoes and perform the hard work of implementing the plan, which meets the dynamic needs of our members and staff while ensuring our commitment to create a more active and healthier Atlanta through running and walking. You can expect the Club to continue to safely offer world class events while simultaneously responding to our members by modifying our portfolio of events. While the Strategic Plan is multifaceted, three themes emerged that will ensure the Club's ability to motivate, engage and inspire our community:
1.Diversity and Inclusion - Atlanta Track Club believes running and walking should be universally accessible regardless of age, gender, race or other identities. We strive to inspire a sense of belonging without fear of bias and believe that our strength lies within the diversity of our members, participants, partners, staff and volunteers. Over the next few years, you can expect the Track Club to thoughtfully expand its geographical footprint and its programming to communities where our members are located as well as to under-represented communities.Through our community outreach as well as partnerships with local and minority-owned businesses, we will be seen as a change agent in the running and walking community and we will ensure that our members as well as our organization reflect Atlanta's rich diversity.
2. Development - Many of our members and participants are unaware that the Atlanta Track Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are increasing our development resources and will integrate development into our operations. In short, we will continue to earn your trust and we will clearly communicate how we will use charitable donations to further our mission of making Atlanta a healthier city.
3. Running City USA Facility - During the next few years, we intend to break ground on a best-in-class facility that will serve the diverse needs of our community. This will not be easy. The facility will greatly increase accessibility to health and wellness opportunities and will serve as a community, educational and recreational hub for runners and walkers. Whether it's youth track and field, senior citizens counting their steps, coaches' education, corporate wellness programs, health screenings or hosting elite events, this facility will create a home for all things running and walking, regardless of age, ability or neighborhood.
While we are apprehensive about today, we are excited about tomorrow.We look forward to welcoming you to the start lines of our world class events, to our membership and to our best-in-class facility. Most importantly, we look forward to meeting tomorrow's challenges by working hard every day to inspire and engage our community to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
You can read the entire strategic plan here.
Leslie Zacks, a member of the Board of Directors, led the Club's Strategic Planning Committee.