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Letter to the Editor: Marathon charity policy questioned

by | Oct 27, 2022 | Letter to Editor

We are writing to express our disappointment that the Select Board has chosen to exclude registered 501(c)(4) non-profits (civic leagues and social welfare organizations) from the Boston Marathon invitational entry process this year. This year only registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations may apply for a Boston Marathon invitational entry from Hopkinton. 501(c)(3) organizations include religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, or prevention of cruelty to children or animals organizations.

eHop is a 501(c)(4) civic league that undertakes public service activities within the Town of Hopkinton. We have been fortunate to have received a Boston Marathon invitational entry from the Town of Hopkinton in previous years. Each year eHop has used the fundraising revenue from our entry to specifically fund civic activities to support the town such as nonpartisan voter information and publicity for Hopkinton Town Meeting, including signs, banners, social media ads, newspaper ads, a website and a postcard mailed to every registered voter in Hopkinton with the date of Annual Town Meeting. eHop’s budget is posted publicly on our website, with our largest expense being the postcard mailing to the household of every registered voter. About 90 percent of our budget relates directly to supporting Town Meeting.

We had hoped to fundraise $5,000 this year from a Boston Marathon invitational entry, but now at the last minute we are faced with the choice of having to organize another type of fundraiser on the fly or cutting our budget drastically. Of course there are other ways we could fundraise, but it would have been helpful to have more advance notice that we would no longer be eligible to apply for a Boston Marathon number. We are most worried about not being able to raise enough funds in time to send a postcard mailing in April. Although eHop has worked hard over the years to support the town, we are quite concerned that we may not be able to support Town Meeting publicity and awareness efforts to the extent that we have done in the past.

— M. Elyse Barrett Mihajloski, eHop president, on behalf of the eHop Board

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