4.01k Race for Financial Fitness™

A mission to give every kid from every community a fair shot at a strong financial future

Photo of Jason Chepenik
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  • I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
  • I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
  • My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States


  • Man

Where are you making a difference?

Florida: Orlando 38214 | North Carolina: Charlotte | Michigan: Detroit | Kansas: Kansas City | Nevada: Las Vegas | Minnesota: Minneapolis | Tennessee: Nashville | Pennsylvania: Philadelphia

Focus Areas (required)

  • Children & Youth
  • Health & Fitness

Date Started

June 2015

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)


  • $10k - $50k

Website or social media URL(s) (optional)


Twitter URL

https://twitter.com/hashtag/401krace | https://twitter.com/jchepenik?lang=en

Facebook URL


LinkedIn URL


1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.

In his poem, “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” Robert Frost wrote: My object in living is to unite my avocation and my vocation, As my two eyes make one in sight. Only where love and need are one, And the work is play for mortal stakes, Is the deed ever really done for Heaven and the future’s sakes. I mention this because even in the corporate retirement plan space it is possible to blend one’s avocation with one’s vocation. Late one night in June 2015, I had an idea that would allow me to connect the dots between my professional life and my personal life: a 4.01k Race for Financial Fitness™! The idea also led to the creation of The Smarter Tomorrow Foundation which is a non-profit organization partnered with the race

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Too many kids are growing up without basic financial literacy skills which gives them a lesser chance at a strong financial future. Society is wrapped up in physical and mental wellness but forgets the other piece, which is financial wellness. The problem is people don't understand how the three types of wellness align nor do they know organizations such as Junior Achievement exist. We want kids to have a fair shot at a strong financial future.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I love this business and I continue to be impressed with all of the innovative ideas that our industry has produced. But there are a lot of areas in which we can do better, including employee engagement, financial wellness initiatives and teaching the basics of financial literacy. We can also do more with regard to being good corporate citizens. Financial stress affects more than your wallet and can negatively affect one's physical well-being. The 4.01k Race for Financial Fitness™ is more than just a smart and creative way to focus on total wellness or even the need for workplace saving, it's a terrific platform to promote community and the need for financial literacy! April is National Financial Literacy Month. So what better way to connect the dots than to donate all of the race proceeds to organizations that promote the need for financial literacy, such as Junior Achievement and the Boys & Girls Club. These wonderful organizations need our help to expand their mission of teaching young people these most important financial skills.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.

Our 4.01k Race for Financial Fitness™ and The Smarter Tomorrow Foundation are working together to shine light on organizations such as Junior Achievement and The Boys and Girls Club so they have the funding they need to support kids in their organization and provide beneficial life tools. As the race continues to grow and expand into other cities we've been able to raise over $200,000 for Junior Achievement and The Boys and Girls Club which we're incredibly proud of. Not only are we raising money, but more and more people are getting behind the idea of financial wellness and realizing how important it is for future generations to grow up with basic financial and life skills so they aren't stuck with four credit cards and thousands of dollars of debt.

5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?

Currently, we don't focus on one underserved community, we focus on any kid in any community. However, in the future with the money we raise for Junior Achievement they may be able to help students who may not access to these types of tools due to their socio-economic class.

6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

This race has been an ongoing success since 2015, and advisors from all over the country have reached out to us wanting to promote financial literacy and host a race themselves. This race is different from others in the financial industry because we partner with Junior Achievement which aligns with the business we do. Our job is to help people manager their money and cross the finish line to retirement which is exactly what Junior Achievement does except they're the ones who build the strong foundation.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

In 8 cities in 2018, our race is projected to be ran in at least 20 cities in 2019. The message and awareness of the race has continued to grow and net more money for Junior Achievement. In Orlando 2018, we netter over $60,000, Las Vegas netted $55,000, and Kansas City was able to net $70,000 for their Junior Achievement. Across all cities, we had over 50,000 runners and in Orlando alone, we had 675 and over 50 Central Florida companies come out and support.

8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?

Each year we learn something new about the race such as best practices and how we can leverage more of our assets. To reach our full potential we've partners with Jean Chatzky who is the financial analyst on NBC's Today Show to spread our message and support the race. Eventually we'd love to see a 4.01k Race for Financial Fitness in every city!

8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?

  • Campaigns
  • Industry Standards (labels, certification, awards, etc.)

9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Before we host a race, we look at numbers from the previous year such as expenses and how much we raised to ensure more success the following year. Junior Achievement is a major resource for the races to be successful, so as long as they're still willing to partner with the race it should ensure financial sustainability.

10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Our team is built of three organizations, Chepenik Financial, Junior Achievement of Central Florida, and Think Creative which is a local marketing company that helps our creative ideas come to life and advertise for the race. Sheryl Davis and Kathy Panter from junior achievement are the ones that take the lead on finding a race company and work on all of the race details. At Chepenik, our goal is to raise as much money for Junior Achievement so our role is to find race sponsors.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 - Which of the following categories do you identify with? (optional)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 - Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities? (optional)

  • No, I do not identify with an underrepresented community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others


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