Thank you for visiting swiftcause, and taking time to poke around the swiftblog. Make no mistake, swiftblog is about running – the stories, the triumphs, the challenges, the best practices, the resources, all of it. For this first entry though, I’m going to kick things off with a look at why we at swiftcause do what we do.

Our mission here is simple – to generate and deliver income to nonprofits while encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

The first component “generate and deliver income to nonprofits” is fairly straightforward – it translates into “make money for someone else besides us”.

The second component is a bit more of a contemplation, and ultimately where the real “teeth” are of our organization. First, we “encourage”. We don’t tell our participants what to do. We demand nothing. Ultimately, the participation and the giving is entirely on the honor system. If you say you’re going to give and then you don’t, there are no nonprofit cops we’re sending after you.

Next comes the “healthy lifestyle”. The real meat of the nut. At first glance of the word healthy, we probably think of running and walking for exercise, and this is of course true. Maybe the words conjure images of apples, berries, leafy green delicious veggies. We mean all of these things, and push-ups and sit-ups and swimming and yoga and carrot-beet-apple juice. But what IS “healthy”, and how do we integrate it into “lifestyle”?

For our purposes, healthy is much more than taking care of the body. “’Healthy” includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual*. These are our 4 pillars that we aim to balance, and integrate into daily practice, or as the mission says – “’lifestyle”.

The swiftcause philosophy

Our philosophy is this: we believe that it is the inalienable obligation of every person to help those around us, and we believe that we can only do our best job of helping others if we take care of ourselves foremost.

Engaging in a swiftcause campaign, in this arrangement where you agree to help a nonprofit while engaging in a healthy activity, you’re doing both at the same time. You’re treating yourself right, and you’re helping others.

Running in and of itself can contain one or all of the 4 pillars on its own**, and when coupled with altruism, running is elevated to something that benefits everyone. In these instances, running quite literally is “being” the change we want to see in the world.

We are both optimistic and realistic

We know there are always going to be hard times, we know there are going to be naturally occurring challenges for all of us. And while this is awful, we are as ok with that as we can be. That’s life. We will create campaigns that help those in need as a result of these things, and we will choose the nonprofit partners with the highest integrity and the best systems to help.

What we truly find disturbing are the areas that are fixable that are not being fixed. The areas that simply need attention, compassion. There are massive populations of people who can be helped through attention and compassion, there are conservation endeavors that have no obstacles other than the ego of the minority – the one-percenters. There are environmental issues where our challenge is to overcome ignorance, political greed and commercial greed. Sadly, many times these obstacles compound naturally occurring tragedy. Lack of compassion is a choice, but so is compassion.

There are wonderful organizations all over the world staffed by amazing, smart people. We don’t intend to rebuild the wheel, there are great folks already hard at work solving the world’s problems. Our intention is to fuel their efforts, while encouraging you to live your best life physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Your process informs the other.

Thank you for participating, thank you for giving, thank you for all you do. Now put your shoes on and get out there.

-Eric Knight

*Please don’t get too tangled up in the word “spiritual”. This isn’t a specific God or belief system (although it can be if that’s what you want), this simply means a connection to something outside the self. Air. Gravity. The ground. Our family. Our friends. Our community. Etc etc etc

**Diving into how running connects to these 4 pillars is a topic much bigger than this article, and is perhaps material for future swiftblog posts. Much has been written about how running informs physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Keep checking our resources page for the best books and articles on this.