Nov 2 2014

Turkey Trot Dilemma: Where Should the Money Go?

In addition to Piedmont School District athletic programs, the City of Piedmont’s Athletic Preservation Fund is designated as a potential recipient of funds.  

The Piedmont City Council will consider the allocation of $5,305 to support the newly organized  2014 Annual Piedmont Turkey Trot and approval of this years race at their November 3, 2014 meeting starting at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall.

There is an ongoing issue regarding the proceeds from the Annual Piedmont Turkey Trot and who should control the Piedmont Turkey Trot?

Until recently, Turkey Trot volunteers and runners were under the impression that money raised by the Annual Piedmont Turkey Trot held on Thanksgiving Day morning would benefit Piedmont High School athletic programs, including track and cross country.  

Turkey Trot organizer, resident Marilyn Weber has far exceeded revenue expectations by gaining community sponsors and increasing participation through area publicity. Approximately half of  the runners come from outside of Piedmont. The widely popular event had over 2,300 runners in 2013, raising more than $50,000.

According to available information, the Piedmont Unified School District historically provided seed money to allow purchase of the shirts and other materials necessary for the race.  Since shirt purchases and other actions need to occur well in advance of Thanksgiving Day, funds need to be readily available for organizers.  The School District evidently delayed providing the necessary seed money in 2013, hence the organizers moved ahead by soliciting donations. Later, the School District supplemented funding for the event.

Following the 2013 race, the School District asked to be reimbursed for their seed money and requested race proceeds plus accounting information related to the Turkey Trot. Reimbursement was made to the School District for the seed money plus a donation to the School District. Out of over $50,000 raised from the Turkey Trot approximately $30,000 was retained for future Turkey Trots, with the School district receiving approximately $20,000.

In December of 2013, Weber and other individuals decided to form a nonprofit corporation (Piedmont Turkey Trot C3628657) with the State of California and in the future incorporation as a nonprofit with the Federal Government.  The corporation filing indicates it is a nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation.  The stated purpose of this corporation is “to help children and adults learn the skills of running.”

Members of the Board of the Turkey Trot Corporation are listed as:  Edna Cooper, Pam Roure, Chris Smith, and Marilyn Weber.

The organization has stated on the 501(c)(3) form, it ‘s purpose as “fostering amateur sports competition.”  

On the standard application, the reason to use Piedmont services and streets is to hold “the Piedmont Turkey Trot.”

The organization’s application letter to the City states:

“The PTT Thanksgiving Day Race non-profit was formed to ensure the necessary structure was in place to continue a community event of this size that benefits youth sports in the community.  It is our intention to donate net proceeds from the 2014 Turkey Trot to the following beneficiaries; the PHS Cross Country Team, the PHS Track Team and the City of Piedmont’s Athletic Facilities Preservation Fund.” [emphasis added]

Turkey Trot publicity states:

The Piedmont Turkey Trot is a nonprofit organization supporting local charities and organizations.”

School District athletic programs had previously been the sole beneficiary of Turkey Trot proceeds.

For approximately 13 years, the School District received funds from the Turkey Trot for athletic programs.  Volunteers, primarily parents, became concerned when the purpose of the Turkey Trot was changed to benefit “local charities and organizations” and there was a new organization incorporated without School District or volunteer knowledge and participation.

Approval of the application for the Turkey Trot is on the City Council agenda for November 3, 2014.  The staff report states:

“While the organizational structure of the race has changed, the stated purpose of the race and application of net proceeds will continue to benefit both school sports and the Community. For these reasons, it would, as a matter of policy, be appropriate for the City to continue its tradition of supporting the race in the same manner and level as in previous years.”

“For information purposes, the cost of this support is estimated as follows:

Fire Department:  $1,030.40
Police Department: $ 920.05
Public Works Department:  $3,355.36
For a total cost to the City of Piedmont: $5,305.81″

“Regarding the 2013 Turkey Trot, there have been extensive discussions between the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) and the race organizers as to the fate of net proceeds from that race. We are informed that both parties have been working diligently toward resolution of outstanding issues. While this is not relevant to the City’s authority to issue a Street/Sidewalk Use Permit, I am pleased to report that the race organizers and PUSD have both indicated that an understanding has been reached and consideration of the agreement will be added to the agenda of an already scheduled Special Meeting of the Board of Education on November 4, 2014. ”
By: John O. Tulloch, City Clerk

According to the Piedmont Unified School District’s Special Meeting agenda for November 4, 2014, there is no item on the agenda to discuss the Turkey Trot, unless it is covered under anticipated litigation during the Closed Session.

Published sponsors for the 2014 Turkey Trot are:  Transports  ~  Highland  Partners ~ Piedmont Grocery ~ McCutcheon Construction ~ MB Jessee Painting J. Miller Flowers ~ Mulberry’s Market ~ Piedmont Post ~Village Market ~ Clif Bar

The meeting will be broadcast on KCOM Channel 27 and live streamed from the City website.

Read the staff report including application and information on Turkey Trot organization. 

Read reports published in The Piedmonter.

Read second report published in the The Piedmonter.

See other articles previously published on this site by searching “Turkey Trot.”

One Response to “Turkey Trot Dilemma: Where Should the Money Go?”

  1. Seems to me that the 2013 race was conducted with the understanding that profits would be contributed to Piedmont school’s athletic programs. Until the remaining $30,000 is contributed, and the bad faith caused by reneging on the original deal, I don’t think Piedmont should sponsor, support, nor contribute front money to the Turkey Trot.

    Further, if the organizers claim they are holding on to the $30,000 for “future expenses,” they don’t need any new contribution from Piedmont’s taxpayers.

    Have the other “local charities and organizations” that the organizers want to benefit from the race been identified? They certainly should be before we allow another race in Piedmont.

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