The evolution of our Walkathons
The Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathons have evolved from humble beginnings to a series of wonderful, multi-site events that comprise our biggest fundraiser of the year. The first Walkathon was held in 1987 at the Manatee County Fairgrounds in Palmetto, Florida. About 50 volunteers and supporters attended and raised over $15,000 on behalf of our guide and service dogs.
The 2021 Walkathon series will consist of dog-friendly festivals in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Fort Myers, the Suncoast, the Emerald Coast, and Gainesville. Additional community-driven events will take place in Florida and beyond!
In 2016, we aimed high with our first ever $1 million goal and have exceeded $1 million every year since! With your help, we’re confident we can surpass the million-dollar mark again in 2021! Growth is exciting because every dollar raised helps us match more guide and service dogs with people with visual impairments and veterans.
What’s in a Walkathon?
While our locations may vary, each Walkathon shares a common theme—a fun-filled walk for a deserving cause. Each Walkathon includes a dog-friendly walk in the springtime, tasty food options, lively music, fabulous shopping, and fun for the entire family.
Our walkers and friends champion this fundraiser by asking for support from friends and family, selling raffle tickets, and staging personal fundraising activities such as car washes and neighborhood yard sales.
To generate even more excitement, our Walkathon Raffle includes a grand prize of $10,000 cash as well as event prizes of $1,000 cash to be won at select events. We also offer Fundraising Incentive Items such as milestone t-shirts, tumblers, exclusive Top Dog t-shirts, and puppy naming sponsorships or student scholarships. And, of course, each dog that attends Walkathon gets a free bandana featuring the Walkathon logo.