Young runners charge from the starting line in Jackson Hole at the Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities in 2015. (Angus M. Thuermer Jr./WyoFile)

In 1997, an anonymous couple in Jackson Hole, who later became known as Mrs. and Mr. Old Bill, came up with an innovative idea for a fundraiser. It would leverage the power of matching funds and community involvement, get people outside and bring together nonprofits that could all benefit from the effort.

Twenty-two years later, the Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities — a Community Foundation of Jackson Hole event — has raised some $159 million for Wyoming nonprofits and has created a model for charity events that has been replicated across the country. 

The annual event returns to Jackson Hole on Saturday. Participants have the option of tackling a 5K fun run/walk, a 5K run or 10K run. Top timed runners will win money to donate to their favorite charities, and booths will spring up around the Town Square so people can learn about the charities being supported. 

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Dozens of nonprofits are participating in this year’s event. They range from a girl scouts troop to the Wyoming chapter of the Nature Conservancy, a bronc wrestling club, pet adoption organizations and the Jackson office of state’s uncompromising, in-depth, independent news service, WyoFile. 

Katie Klingsporn is WyoFile's managing editor. She is a journalist and word geek who has been writing about life in the West for 15 years. Her pieces have appeared in Adventure Journal, National Geographic...

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