Over 12,500 participants at the 2017 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Buffalo is framed by the beauty of Delaware Park, one of the jewels of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. PHOTO CREDIT: Lemur Studios

The very first J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge was held in New York City in 1977.

The second-oldest Corporate Challenge was conducted in Buffalo four years later, 1981.

The two events had, combined, less than 1,000 participants in their first year.  Both are still running today, continuously, and hosted over 43,000 in 2017.

And what else do both events have in common?  They were held then, and still now, in beloved parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted: Central Park in Manhattan, Delaware Park here in the Queen City.

So, it is completely appropriate, as this Western New York city celebrates 150 Years of Olmsted in Buffalo, that the 2018 J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge benefits the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

J.P. Morgan will donate to the Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with a mission to preserve, restore and maintain the Olmsted parks, parkways and circles in the Greater Buffalo area to guarantee quality park experiences and Olmsted’s design legacy for both current and future generations.  It will also provide a platform for the Conservancy to promote its work to an expected crowd of nearly 13,000 runners and walkers from over 350 companies.

“Any exposure provided by the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, especially since the race is held in Delaware Park (one of Olmsted’s first parks in Buffalo), improves current and potential park user awareness and bolsters the significance of these historic landscapes and the Conservancy’s mission,” said Stephanie Crockatt, Executive Director of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. “We hope that everyone who participates in the Corporate Challenge finds a new way to engage with their Olmsted Parks, especially as we celebrate 150 years of Olmsted in Buffalo.  Whether that is through daily activity, downloading the Olmsted App, joining us for one of our exciting events, volunteering, or becoming a member or even a donor, we look to engage our community and corporate partners throughout all 850 acres of beautiful green space.”

Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy is steward to the first public park system in the country.  And, as any Corporate Challenge entrant lucky enough to cover the 3.5-mile course through the beautiful Delaware Park area can attest, it’s a role the Conservancy takes seriously.

“We take extreme pride in the work we do,” Crockatt said. “We strive to ensure that our city’s historic parks are clean, safe and accessible to all, while also continuously encouraging residents to learn more about Olmsted and the significance of his work in Buffalo.”

There’s still time companies to enter this year’s Corporate Challenge, scheduled for Thursday, June 14. Registration remains open through May 15 and companies may also book hospitality space within Delaware Park.

Participants will see the impact of their run throughout the year, as the Olmsted Parks Conservancy will use the donation for maintenance, turf improvements, trail enhancements, playground surfacing, and the general care of the park in supporting the 150th Celebration year.

And Crockatt enthusiastically noted that there are many way Corporate Challenge participants can support the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy post-race.

“The Conservancy has a membership program that offers exclusive member events and perks from local retailers, as well as a robust volunteer program which encourages everyone to spend a day in the dirt with us cleaning and greening the parks,” Crockatt said. “In addition to the support we receive from the city, 60% of our yearly budget comes from passionate community members – every dollar helps support maintenance and restoration efforts that beautify and add amenities that are important for all public park users. If anyone is interested in becoming more involved, please visit our website, www.bfloparks.org, or call our office, (716) 838-1249. We are always looking to grow the Conservancy family.”