My Place Teen Center in Westbrook will be the beneficiary of this year’s prestigious Beach to Beacon 10K road race on Aug. 6.
For the nonprofit, the announcement on Wednesday is a significant one, and can help raise the organization’s profile statewide and beyond.
The Beach to Beacon race, in its 19th year in 2016, is sponsored by TD Bank. The bank’s charitable foundation will give a cash donation of $30,000 to the teen center, but the center will also benefit from increased exposure and other fundraising opportunities coinciding with the race.
The race, running along the coast of Cape Elizabeth, is internationally recognized.
Larry Wold, the president of TD Bank, Maine, said in a press release Wednesday that Westbrook’s teen center transforms the lives of at-risk and disadvantaged youth.
“The TD Charitable Foundation couldn’t be more pleased to have My Place Teen Center as the beneficiary for the 2016 TD Beach to Beacon,” he said. “We are proud to partner with an organization that is making such a tremendous difference for vulnerable Maine youth.”
Wold informed the teen center’s board Wednesday morning.
Donna Dwyer, the executive director of My Place Teen Center, said the organization was chosen from a group of some 18 applicants. She said she has applied to be the beneficiary for the past five years.
“From our perspective, this relationship with TD Bank is just phenomenal,” she said Wednesday.
She said Wold has participated in previous fundraising efforts for the center.
Dwyer said she thought there was a slim chance the center would receive the nod, given the localized presence of the organization.
“This is such an honor for our organization, as being chosen beneficiary of the TD Beach to Beacon is the pinnacle of awareness and fortitude in the Maine nonprofit world,” she said in Wednesday’s press release.
According to the release, the teen center will use the funds to expand its healthy cooking program, which includes culinary instruction for kids.
My Place Teen Center began in 1998 as Mission Possible Teen Center. It was first located in the Dana Warp Mill but growth necessitated a move to its current location at 755 Main St., formerly the United Methodist Church. According to Dwyer, the center serves 60 to 90 kids each day, and more than 560 different kids each year.
Dwyer said in addition to the cash donation, the organization will also recieve a limited number of race bibs that will be used as a fundraising tool. The race routinely sells out in a matter of minutes. She said each bib will be sold for $960, the cost of funding one kid for a year.
The Beach to Beacon 10K was founded by Maine running legend Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the first Olympic women’s marathon. According to the press release, the 2015 race featured a record-setting 6,602 runners from 15 countries, 41 states and more than 265 Maine cities and towns. Last year’s beneficiary was the Good Shepherd Food Bank.