FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EDWARD NORTON TO RUN NY MARATHON WITH MAASAI WARRIORS
TO RAISE FUNDS FOR CONSERVATION
Campaign will combine corporate support with a web-based grassroots
fundraising drive with RMJM and AECOM on board as founding sponsors.
Actor and longtime conservation activist Edward Norton will run the NY
Marathon as part of a team raising awareness and financial support for the
Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, a Kenya-based conservation
organization. Norton and 3 Maasai warriors will be leading 30 people from
all walks of life running the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 1st. The
organization has launched a web-based fundraising effort
(www.twincitiesmarathon.org) to bring together corporate sponsors and a
grassroots network of donors sponsoring the team of runners. Norton helped
create the U.S. non-profit partner of the organization and serves as
President of the organization's Board. It will be the first marathon for
Norton and his Maasai teammates, most of whom have never traveled away from
their community in southern Kenya.
The campaign will raise funds for the Trust's programs in conservation,
education and health care as part of its mission to promote conservation
and sustainable economic development. The Maasai Wilderness Conservation
Trust works in partnership with the Maasai community to foster practices
that benefit people and wildlife as well as the ecosystem that they both
depend on. The legendary biodiversity of the East African grasslands
ecosystem and the famous culture of the Maasai people are both threatened
by competition between people and wildlife, water shortages, sub-division
of land and urban migration. The urgency of these issues is currently
exacerbated by a severe drought taking place in Kenya.
In initiating the marathon campaign, Norton and the Maasai Wilderness
Conservation Trust are partnering with two major corporations committing
both financial capacity and services critical to the effort. RMJM, an
international architecture and design firm with special expertise in
constructing healthcare facilities, and AECOM (NYSE: ACM), a global
provider of professional technical and management support services with
expertise in environmental planning and management, are the founding
sponsors of the project and are fielding staff members on the Marathon
In addition to pledging funds and fielding the team, RMJM and AECOM have
also come on board offering much-needed professional services to MWCT.
Specifically RMJM is designing, planning and funding a state-of-the-art
health clinic for the Maasai community, some of whom currently walk up to
60 miles for care. The health clinic will be designed by a team from RMJM's
Global Health and Science Studio in New York and will follow sustainable
design principles. The acclaimed healthcare organization Partners in Health
has provided strategic advice and expertise toward designing a community
health strategy. AECOM is providing strategic organizational planning,
conservation strategy, eco-tourism business and marketing guidance to
advance the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust's conservation and
"I got involved with the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust about 8 years
ago and I really believe in the work they do," notes Norton. "Their
approach to conservation is a model for the kind of partnerships we need to
forge if we're going to solve the puzzle of being human but living
sustainably within our environment. We came up with the idea of raising
funds by fielding a team of runners because the Maasai are born runners,
runners as a matter of culture and heritage. I've never run a marathon
before and the difficulty of it is both intimidating and motivating,
especially when it's for a cause like this, and having RMJM and AECOM on
board on this initiative is incredibly exciting – like a turbo-booster
on our efforts."
RMJM's CEO, Peter Morrison, who will himself run in the marathon, said: "As
a global firm, we have a global responsibility to help those who need it
most. Quality healthcare is a serious need for the Maasai people as very
few clinics exist and, as one of the foremost healthcare design firms in
the world, we believe we can make a significant contribution to a healthy
and sustainable future for the Maasai. We are thrilled to be working with
Edward Norton to put our architects' skills to work for a fantastic cause."
"The goals of this alliance closely mirror those of AECOM – to enhance and
sustain the world's built, natural and social environments," said John M.
Dionisio, AECOM president and chief executive officer. "We are proud to
support the efforts of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust as it
protects the Maasai's land and their way of life."
The marathon is the premier annual event of the New York Road Runners,
which will have 6,800 runners representing more than 80 charities with a
combined fundraising goal of $21 million. The 40th running of the marathon
is expected to draw more than 40,000 runners.