Cancelled Red Dress Run: A hit to nonprofit fundraising still struggling during pandemic

Red Dress Run returns Aug. 14
Red Dress Run returns Aug. 14
Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 9:13 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -For the second year in a row, the French Quarter will not see red dresses running haphazardly with smiles and beers in hand.

“That’s why I keep saying I’m just really disappointed,” said Bill Healy.

A successful Red Dress Run requires three things: beer, food, and fundraising.

Coordinator, Bill Healy explains with two thousand runners registered, one of those pieces pulled out last minute given rising covid concerns.

“Unfortunately the coordinator that handles food was not comfortable with doing the fundraising portion of the event so without food we had to cancel,” said Healy.

Coordinators hope those in red dresses will still patronize local businesses, but say what’s most upsetting is not being able to help local nonprofits.

“A lot of folks don’t realize this is an event more than folks drinking in the French Quarter, and the proceeds from our part of red dress run make a huge impact on several nonprofits… we donate 100% of the proceeds to local nonprofits so it’s the grassroots-type nonprofits that work right here in New Orleans,” said Healy.

“We’ve actually received funding twice in 2013 and again in 2017,” said Lori Byargeon.

With red dresses ready in spirit, Dress for Success’s Lori Byargeon says women across the city have looked to them to help secure and keep employment opportunities.

“For every woman we serve it’s also her dependence her children and her family members who are lifted up by her empowerment,” said Byargeon.

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But without the run, they’re without another potential check that could have helped them and hundreds of women through pandemic hardships.

“It’s been really difficult when a lot of her funding does come from special events… I understand it’s disappointing but I hope the community will still choose to support the nonprofits that the red dress run has in the past,” said Byargeon.

Healy hopes the red dress run’s giving spirit will still come through this year.

“I’m disappointed that won’t happen and I’m very disappointed we won’t be able to help the nonprofits this year unless were surprised and we can get some donations that could happen, but with any luck will power through to August 2022,” said Healy.

Healy said last year they only gave out one grant, compared to the 60 or so grants previous years.

He says they will send out an email to participants to see if they want to rollover their registration, a refund, or a donation. He says with donations, they could maybe still give out grants this year.

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