Announcing the Annie's Locker Fund: Benefiting Girls on the Run and Rockford Barbell
Annie’s Locker was started in 2008, inspired by a fellow runner who died from cancer and who, while battling cancer, asked for one thing: "Please run for me until I can run again." The idea was born to do something to inspire people toward a healthier lifestyle, and to remove barriers so that more people can find their "wings". For fourteen years, Annie's Locker collected donations of new and gently used fitness apparel and equipment, as well as cash donations, and made grants of both equipment and dollars to local groups and causes to help achieve their mission: "Inspiring and equipping people to lead healthier lives."
Annie's Locker accomplished incredible work as an all-volunteer endeavor. In 2022 the Annie's Locker board approached the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL) to consider ways to continue their mission through a partnership that would ensure the good work would continue, whether or not there were volunteers with the time and energy to devote. The result of those conversations was the establishment of Annie's Locker Fund, a permanent endowment that will support the work of two local organizations removing barriers to fitness participation and improving the health of youth in our community: Girls on the Run Northwest Illinois and Rockford Barbell. While GOTR and Rockford Barbell have very different programs, they are each uniquely poised to help "inspire and equip people to lead healthier lives."
Rockford Barbell’s mission is to improve the social and emotional functioning of school-age kids through mindful movement and trauma-informed practices. Rockford Barbell’s Youth Weightlifting and Yoga Programs address the competencies of social-emotional learning to help youth develop resilience, improve mental health, physical development, and social-emotional outcomes for youth by teaching and modeling principles of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Rockford Barbell’s programs utilize a trauma-informed approach, helping youth learn to be physically and emotionally safe, to connect with others, and to regulate their minds and bodies effectively.
Girls on the Run offers programs designed to inspire girls of all abilities to recognize and embrace their inner strength and make meaningful connections with others. Trained coaches use physical activity and dynamic discussions to build social, emotional, and physical skills while encouraging healthy habits for life. Girls on the Run Northwest Illinois is headquartered in Crystal Lake and serves McHenry, DeKalb, Winnebago, and Boone Counties.