The Arc of Essex County Raises Over $70,000 at the 26th Annual Building Tomorrows Event

Seven boys wearing white shirts that say "5K" on the front right side are walking together. Two are blocked by the boys in the front walking row. A lake is visible behind them, and people are walking along the lakeside path behind them in the distance.

Under sunny skies and with cherry blossoms in bloom, hundreds of runners and walkers gathered at the Clipper Pavilion in West Orange for The Arc of Essex County’s 26th Annual Building Tomorrows 5K Run, Family Walk, and Fun Fest on Saturday, April 27, 2024. The event, which raised more than $70,000 for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the greater Essex County area, also featured a Fun Fest with games and activities for all ages.

For the 5K race, the overall winners in the male division were Tristin DeVincenzo in first place with a time of 17:10, followed by Matthew Ellis in second place with a time of 17:11, and Michail Savtchovk in third place with a time of 19:24. For the female division, the overall winners were Ashleigh Rennar in first with a time of 24:42, Melissa Raushi in second with a time of 24:57, and Theresa Hunt in third with a time of 25:52. The full list of results is available at

The race was followed by a walk along the same path around the reservoir at the South Mountain Recreation Complex and included hundreds of Arc supporters and participants in Arc programs. The walk is particularly focused on participant fundraising, and the top fundraising teams were “Peter and Pals,” led by Peter Campbell, “Team Smart Set,” led by Sandra Smith, and “Team D’Uva,” led by Nancy Fass. Individual fundraiser Tausheedah Francis was also honored for raising more than $1,000.

The event featured 15 Student Champions in grades 3 through 12, from towns throughout Essex County. The students, who applied and were selected for the leadership roles, helped fundraise, volunteered at the event, cheered on runners, led the walk, and some even participated in the run. Augie Greenlee of West Caldwell not only won his age division in the 5K race, but was also the top fundraiser among the Student Champions, bringing in more than $1,000 with “Team Augie Chiefs United.” Addie Salz of Short Hills, leading “Addie’s Team,” followed in second, and Katherine Mori of Montclair, leading “The Kindness Counts Team” finished in third. The Arc of Essex County thanks all the Student Champions for their leadership and support.

A Fun Fest at the Clipper Pavilion featured activities for all ages, including stations from Chef It Up, Indigo Art Studio, Monster Mini Golf, OMG Bubbles, Center Stage Fairy Hair, and Face Art by Jan.

Building Tomorrows would not have been possible without the support of platinum sponsor PSEG; gold sponsors Bogush Plumbing Heating and Cooling and William H. Connolly & Co.; silver sponsors Bird Pharma Consulting, Irwin Siegel Agency, Manuel Juncal Landscaping, and NJM Insurance Group; and bronze sponsors Austin Fanning General Contractors, Benefit Management Solutions, Buono Pediatrics, SAX LLP, Wakefern Food Corp., Walsh Pizzi O’Reilly Falanga, and Whole Foods.

Wakefern/ShopRite of Livingston also donated water and granola bars to the event, ShopRite of East Orange and Wegman’s each donated food for participants and volunteers, Nothing Bundt Cakes donated cakes, and Orange Sky Roasters donated coffee.

The leadership of Essex County also provided support to Building Tomorrows via the event venue, reduced admission to local attractions for event participants, and through the volunteerism of recruits from the Essex County Police Academy. The dozens of recruits helped set up the event, direct traffic, serve as on-course marshals, and help make sure the event ran smoothly for participants.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day to get out and run or walk for such an important cause,” said The Arc of Essex County’s CEO Linda C. Lucas. “I want to thank everyone—the participants, the sponsors, the volunteers, and the donors—for their part in making this event such a success. We not only had the chance to enjoy a beautiful morning with family and friends, but we were able to do so while also supporting The Arc of Essex County and the children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our community.”