Giving Back

Cranford Resident Creates "Track Friday" - Focused on Giving not Buying

Track Friday founder Eric Rubinson pictured here in yellow, running at Middletown South High School track. Credits: K. Steinmetz
Participants in Track Friday event gather at David Brearley High School track in Kenilworth. Credits: K. Steinmetz
Track Friday founder Eric Rubinson does laps in support of the non-profit he founded to help individuals get involved in giving rather than buying on the day after Thanksgiving.  Credits: K. Steinmetz

CRANFORD, NJ - What began as a way to help those in need after Hurricane Sandy back in 2012, has turned into an annual event each Friday following Thanksgiving, dubbed "Track Friday".

Founder, Eric Rubinson, a Cranford resident for the past seven years, began the 501(c)3 as a way to channel his desire to help those in need after Hurricane Sandy hit so many near his hometown of Middletown, New Jersey. Rubinson decided that if he could find an easy way for people to get involved and give back that he could create an event with a lot of reach.

He chose the day after Thanksgiving to tie into the biggest day of materialistic consumption so that people could rather focus on helping vs. buying. He adds, "Rather than throwing fuel on the fire of the media campaigns surrounding the selling craziness and the events that surround Black Friday, oftentimes, with violent outcomes and massive crowds, I wanted to try and mute that and create a day, Track Friday, where people could meet up and give back."

Sign Up for E-News

Rubinson chose to hold his first event three years ago at his alma mater, Middletown North High School, to try and rally the most amount of support. An avid runner, who has completed 55 marathons in all 50 states, decided to raise money for the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County the first year and invited people to watch him run a track marathon for their donations. That first year he raised $22,000 and had over 300 unique donors visit the site. And while nearly half of the total dollars raised went to the local Food Bank near his hometown, the rest of the funds went to charities that donors selected on their own. 

The Track Friday concept was based on the idea that Rubinson wanted to give people a very turnkey way to get involved, since many people are relunctant about joining a team for a cause they may not feel personally connected to. "The idea is to get everyone rallying around giving and people involved, with the confidence that their money is going toward a good cause, a cause that they select," Rubinson added.

And while Track Friday meet-up events are located at physical tracks around the country, organized by local individuals and groups independently, from as far away as San Diego, CA to as close as Kenilworth, NJ, the idea is that it creates a social and virtual culture of giving, along with the idea of meeting up physically when possible. 

The way the process works is that anyone interested in joining the Track Friday initiative can visit the website and sign up as a participant. They will be asked to chose an organization to donate to; there is a database of all 501(c)3 companies to ensure legitamacy, then from there the participant can select their charity, their donation amount and begin fundraising. The idea is that the participant would either individually or as a meetup, gather at a local track to share the experience of giving together, but the actual track meetup is not required nor managed in any way and there is no fee to participate. Track Friday nor Rubinson collect any funds, a third party fundraising site serves as the payment engine.

While Rubinson is busy as a full-time employee for a pharma company, father and husband, his only hope is for people to find a way to get involved. "Our charity is designed to get people actively involved easily, I suggest finding a local chapter of a cause you believe in and use that as your platform to get donations. And as for how you actually execute the Track Friday in your area, you can create a meet up or just come and go as you please, walk, run, collborate with others, participate solo, it's a personal choice, the barrier to entry for giving money should be easy, that's our goal with Track Friday."

As the next Track Friday draws near Rubinson is encouraged by the increase in involvement year over year and had 56 different charities receiving funds in 2014. Those interested in particpating can visit the website for more information and also check out an interview with Rubinson in the upcoming December issue of Runner's World magazine. 



TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Chlorine Drum Rupture Shuts Down Nomahegan Swim Club in Westfield

July 13, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — A ruptured chlorine drum has forced closure of Nomahegan Swim Club on Springfield Avenue Friday afternoon.

According to a Westfield police officer on the scene, a 1,000-gallon drum of chlorine ruptured.

In addition to the swim club being closed, some area streets around the swim club near the border of Mountainside and Springfield were cordoned off. According ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 11, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Union County College Foundation’s 3rd “Close the Gap” Campaign Surpasses Goal

July 18, 2018

With over 150 guests and volunteers in attendance, the Union County College Foundation surpassed their goal and raised nearly $55,000 at their 3rd Annual Close the Gap Campaign cocktail reception. Held on July 11, in the Richel Student Commons at the College’s Cranford campus, this campaign was developed by a small group of dedicated community volunteers to support the College’s ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

More Traffic, No Solution – Letter to Governor Phil Murphy

July 17, 2018

Dear Governor Phil Murphy,

From the mid-1970’s, when I was age 12, I’ve had this vivid memory of watching my parents participate in a peaceful demonstration against the construction of a 12-story hotel complex just behind our backyard. In fact, on Wednesday, September 29, 1976, the local newspaper ran an article with a photo showing my mother and her protest placard. The memory of ...