Young Athletes Foundation

Young Athletes Foundation

You support them. We support you.

A main focus of our organization is to promote the growth of young athletes. That’s why we have created the Young Athletes Foundation (YAF). Through this arm of Grandma’s Marathon, we help community members and businesses that inspire kids to be healthy. Since its inception, the YAF has contributed more than $1,000,000 to area nonprofit youth athletic organizations.

Support the area youth through a donation to the YAF.




If winter weather has you pursuing indoor options to keep your kids active, join us for “Saturday Morning at the Races.”

Kids ages 14 and under are invited to join us for our Saturday Morning at the Races program held in January and February. These fun runs are completely free of charge and open to all! After speeding around indoor tracks at the College of St. Scholastica, University of Minnesota-Duluth, and University of Wisconsin-Superior, children will receive snacks and a FREE t-shirt, and meet their favorite mascots!


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be hosting Saturday Morning at the Races this year. Please check back for more information about virtual programing being developed to replace Saturday Morning at the Races in 2021.


These popular, free races for children ages 14 and under are held for five consecutive Wednesdays in July and August. This YAF activity attracts an average of 400 children each week. Every participant is a champion and receives a ribbon at the end of their event.


At this time, we will not be hosting the Wednesday Night at the Races youth series. However, events could be added at a later date dependent on the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

More Information 


This program was developed to provide free running shoe certificates to high school cross-country and track athletes who need shoes, but can’t afford them. The YAF has donated over 4,567 pairs of running shoes since 1991.


The YAF Grant Program began in 1990 with the goal of providing money to nonprofit organizations in Lake, Cook, Carlton, Douglas and St. Louis Counties that strive to provide children with opportunities to participate in recreational and athletic activities. The YAF recognizes that some organizations may have durable equipment needs while others may have non-equipment, financial needs which address the rising participation costs or fees for youth involved in the organization’s activities. As a result, the YAF will consider applications for grants for participation scholarships as well. Organizations may apply for both scholarship and equipment funds on the same application, not to exceed $3,000 inclusively. (See page 3 for more info.)

YAF Grant Application 

The Young Athletes Foundation is still taking grant applications during this time. Due to COVID-19, all funding will be contingent on public health stipulations/restrictions on sports and activities.


$1,200 is given annually to one female and one male UMD cross-country runner. Recipients must be UMD sophomores, juniors or seniors from the YAF geographic boundaries to be eligible for the Eleanor Rynda Cross Country Scholarship.

Races that support the YAF

The Young Athletes Foundation is able to provide this support through benefit races and special fundraising. The Saint Fennessy 4K, Fitger’s 5K, Park Point 5-Miler, North End Nightmare 5K, and Minnesota Mile are the basis of these fundraising efforts. Since its inception, the YAF has contributed more than $1,000,000 to nonprofit youth athletic organizations and programs.

St. Fennessy    

Vision Statement:

The vision of the Young Athletes Foundation is to assist in the promotion, development and growth of youth athletics and healthy lifestyles.

Mission Statement:
The mission of the Young Athletes Foundation is to support and build community by providing pathways of opportunity to youth in athletic programs and encouraging healthy lifestyles.