about Proud to run Chicago
Proud to Run Chicago is a 501(c)(3) charity. Our mission is to support organizations empowering the LGBTQ+ community in Chicago. Gifts to Proud to Run are fully deductible for United States federal income tax purposes, subject to the limitations placed on charitable gifts by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The Proud to Run 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon is organized by an all-volunteer, community-based board of directors.
history of the race
The first Proud to Run race was organized by Peg Gray of the Gay Athletic Association, along with Rob Williams and Jim White. On June 20, 1982, 40 runners and walkers gathered at Foster Avenue Beach and set off on a 10K run and a 1-mile walk that would evolve into an annual Pride Week event that welcomes thousands of participants and supporters, and has raised almost $700,000 for organizations that support the Chicagoland LGBTQ community.
Actor Wilson Cruz & Grey at '05 Proud to Run. Photo: Tracy Baim/Windy City Times
Meet our board
Patti leads with her heart and mindfulness when it comes to both thinking and compassion. She is on the forefront of equality and diversity both professionally and in her personal life. She is making a difference in an ever-changing world and helping others that are also trying to grow and improve themselves. She is a connector and brings people together to make the world a better place for everyone in it. She is also persuasive as all get out—sure to get you signed up for something you think you’re not ready for but you’ll cross that finish line thankful you did.
Danya is the Executive Director of Chicago Run, which promotes the health and wellness of Chicago youth through innovative, engaging, and sustainable running programs. Previously, Danya served as the Executive Director of Peer Health Exchange Chicago. Prior to joining Peer Health Exchange in 2010, Danya held the role of Deputy Outreach Director at Peace Action, an advocacy organization promoting international diplomacy, nuclear non-proliferation, and US adherence to international peace treaties. Danya graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology. She is on the board of Proud to Run Chicago, and is a mentor for Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) Chicago’s Leadership Institute, and for the Northwestern University Public Interest Program. She is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow since 2019. Danya was a Crain's Notable LGBTQ Executive in 2019.
Erika had the fortune of growing up in Columbus, Ohio—a city with one of the largest populations of residents identifying as LGBTQ, where inclusivity, acceptance and progressive social action is the norm, not the exception. She started her career in the nonprofit world where she fell in love with doing charitable work. She excels at combining things to make them more beautiful, whatever the medium—be it fashion, design, cooking or words. Two parts designer, one part analyzer, one part researcher, one part dork, and you’ve got the perfect pie chart of Erika on paper. Did we mention she’s into infographics? Her outside interests include writing, animals, photography, pottery and RUNNING which makes her a perfect part of our team for Proud to Run Chicago.
Derick is the Warehouse Coordinator-Chicago Event Management (CEM)
Warehouse Operations and Event Logistics in Endurance Sports Management.
A Florida-Native, he relocated to Chicago in November of 2014.
His is an active and passionate volunteer with other Chicagoland nonprofits to provide contract labor by helping expand opportunities to marginalized communities and people where possible. Providing space for others creates conversation to build back better foundations for the future.
Leo has been involved with Proud to Run since 2008, this includes being former race director in 2010 and 2011. He has served as the Treasurer for Proud to Run since 2018.
Beth can be elusive and mysterious as lawyers tend to be (unless they’re charging by the hour) but trust that behind the scenes she’s working magic whether it be volunteering time, procuring documents or having a raving good time. Her personal interests include animal welfare, helping people, and politics which also make her a fantastic mother. We are beyond proud to have her as
a board member.