Participation, Fundraising Grow At Stars And Strides Run
Chris Held joined Bloom Energy in 2022 to work in its Remote Monitoring and Control Center operations. But on July 1, he stepped away from the Control Center to lead members of his team in the Bloom Energy & Tarana Wireless Stars and Strides Run, a community run that benefits the Valley Health Foundation.
“A few people on the team like to run and I thought it would be a good team-building exercise so we did it,” says Held, who even had special race shirts made for his running team.
The event, which includes 5K and 10K races as well as a kids' fun run, is now in its third year. Participation and fundraising have grown every year, and the run has inspired an East Coast equivalent held at Bloom’s Newark, Delaware plant. The San Jose run/walk event, which attracted 1,400 participants in its first year, grew to 1,600 in year two. In year three, after setting a stretch goal of 2,000 registrants, the community run attracted more than 2,200 participants. Of those, 76 participants were Bloom Energy employees like Held and his team.
Stars and Strides has generated $911,500 over its three years of operation. The $300,000 raised in 2022 helped to bring COVID-19 vaccinations and other healthcare services to underserved communities in Santa Clara County and supported the mental welfare of frontline healthcare workers.
The growth of Stars and Strides is a point of pride for Carl Guardino, a former Bloom executive who brought the idea of sponsoring a charity race to Bloom CEO KR Sridhar. “The Valley Health Foundation is a trusted nonprofit with a great tradition of service to the community,” he says. The foundation serves more than 1 million people in Santa Clara County every year, 90% of whom are low income. “Stars and Strides started as a way for Bloom Energy to honor healthcare workers and first responders for their service to the community during the pandemic,” Guardino adds. “It has become much more than that.”
This year, 76 Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office cadets ran as a pack to lead the fun run, and a Sheriff’s Office helicopter landed near the course with two very special guests: Wonder Woman and Superman. “The kids were thrilled when they climbed out of the helicopter,” Guardino says.
For Stephen Lamm, Bloom’s Senior Director of Sustainability, events like Stars and Strides are a key part of the company’s efforts to build resilient communities. “Bloom Energy is committed to improving lives globally,” he says, “and our commercial efforts and employee base are aligned to support and sustain the communities we serve. Whether this is through providing resilient sources of energy to critical infrastructure or leveraging the talent and time of our employees, we seek to drive meaningful impact in all that we do.”
The second annual Bloom Energy Stars and Strides Delaware 5K will take place on Saturday, November 11. This event will benefit the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans, the Delaware National Guard Youth Foundation, and Stop Soldier Suicide. Bloom Energy has been recognized by the Delaware National Guard for its commitment to hiring veterans and it will be honored for that on July 24 by Delaware Governor John Carney.