By Juli McDonald

BOSTON (CBS) – As we all wait and wonder, what a virtual Boston Marathon will look and feel like, nonprofits especially are holding their breath.

“It’s really heartbreaking to think about all the reasons they ran, and the work they put into it, and not having those fans around them when they’re trying to get up Heartbreak Hill and cross the finish line,” said Katie Terino of the House of Possibilities.

The treasured tradition typically raises $36 million for charities.

“I wonder how fundraising will fare, now that it’s a virtual event; how motivated will runners be to really go out there and fundraise for their cause?” Terino wondered.

The mission of House of Possibilities (HOPe) is to make a difference in the lives of children, adults, and families living with developmental challenges by providing high quality programs and much needed relief and hope. HOPe operates out of a 11,000 sq. ft. home-like facility located on the campus of Stonehill College in Easton.

It runs a variety of programs for children and adults, including day programs, social & recreational programs, and overnight respite. Almost half of their revenue comes from fundraising, mainly an annual gala and the marathon. This year, both will be held virtually.

“Nonprofits don’t have a lot of reserves to carry them through this. They have to come up with creative solutions or they’re not going to be around when Covid-19 is over,” Terino said.

With digital overload – everything happening online and by Zoom, these organizations have to compete to connect the community to their mission. The House of Possibilities never forgets for whom they work so hard.

“They just touch your heart in so many unexpected ways. Being able to see them reach goals or accomplish something they’ve been working so hard to accomplish, it just makes every minute you have to work toward it so worthwhile,” Terino said.

The House of Possibilities has confirmed Tony Award winner Ali Stroker as the host of Raise the Roof, the virtual gala appearing on Vimeo and YouTube Live on June 4, 2020 at 7:00pm EST. Visit HouseOfPossibilities.org for more information or to make a donation.

Juli McDonald

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