Press Release Headlines

Fifth Annual National Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run Raises Record $1.8 Million

Sponsored by the National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul, this year's event drew more participants, donations and corporate sponsorships than last year

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — By every measure, the 5th Annual Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run, sponsored by the nonprofit National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), was a success.

The event raised a total of some $1.8 million, versus $1.45 million in 2011.  The total number of walk/runs was also up, from 144 in 2011 to 220 for the 2012 event.  Total corporate sponsorship dollars increased as well, from some $225,000 in 2011 to more than $265,000 this year.  In addition, the total number of online teams, donations and participants were greater than 2011.

All proceeds and donations from the event will directly benefit the people served by SVdP in the communities in which the monies are raised.  No administrative fees are associated with the event.

"This year's results are very gratifying and welcome," said Roger Playwin, CEO of SVdP's National Council.  "Our members continue to do an exemplary job of helping people in need, but the economy continues to take a toll on those who are struggling."

National sponsors of this year's event were:

  • Ascension Health, one of the nation's largest Catholic and nonprofit health systems;
  • Catholic Financial Life, the second largest Catholic financial services organization in the country; and
  • First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association, an 85,000-member fraternal benefit organization that ranks among the top fraternal societies active in the United States today.

The event in each community is designed and run by the St. Vincent de Paul chapter in that area.  Most are held near September 27, the feast day of the Society's patron, St. Vincent de Paul.  A priest known as "The Apostle of Charity," he ministered to the poor in Paris in the 17th century.

One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul ( is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of more than 770,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 149 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals more than 141,000 in 4,300 communities.  Programs include home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the sick, the incarcerated and the elderly, and prescription medicine.  Last year, SVdP provided more than $660 million in tangible and in-kind services, made more than 1.5 million personal visits (homes, hospitals and prisons), and helped almost 10 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin.