Gütersloh/Berlin, 05/26/2020

Target Met At €200,000

Subject: Society, Corona
Country: International
Category: Charitable Donations

Thomas Rabe’s Twitter Fitness Challenge has reached its goal. Hundreds of athletes covered a total distance of 57,000 kilometers by running, cycling or rowing – and raised €200,000 for charity in the process. Thomas Rabe is now donating this amount to Straßenkinder e.V., an association that helps homeless children in Berlin.

57,000 kilometers were clocked, €200,000 deposited to the donations account. Thomas Rabe’s Twitter Fitness Challenge has reached its target. Four weeks ago, on April 29, Thomas Rabe called on athletes via Twitter to complete specific distances on their bikes, in their running shoes, or at the oars. He pledged a personal donation for every kilometer, initially to a maximum limit of 100,000 euros. However, thanks to the efforts of many athletes, this target was met so quickly that Thomas Rabe promptly doubled the maximum donation amount to €200,000 two weeks ago – again for Straßenkinder e.V., an association that takes care of homeless children and teens in Berlin, whose number is burgeoning right now due to the coronavirus crisis and lockdown.

As reported, the association will be using the first 100,000 euros from the Fitness Challenge, which have already been transferred, to supply homeless children and young people with food and to install mobile toilets. The second, equal donation will go to fund an entirely new project for the association: the construction of a home for street kids. Known as the “Butze,” it will unite all the services the association has been providing to street kids at several rented properties under one roof. “We will create a central place for the kids, with many offers to help structure their days,” Eckhard Baumann, founder and chairman of the association Straßenkinder e.V., explained. These include showers, washing machines, a clothing depot, charging stations for mobile phones, mailboxes, and of course many advisory services.

The new approx. 1,600 sqm (>17,000 sqft) building, a project that will cost in the millions of euros, will also contain a vocational orientation workshop, and beds for emergency overnight stays. “We want the ‘Butze’ to be a central place where street kids can make a return to legality and where we can work with them to develop new perspectives for their lives,” says Eckhard Baumann. “All this is only possible thanks to generous donors like Thomas Rabe.”

The Bertelsmann CEO is happy that his donation is being put to such good use, and that it will directly help the most vulnerable victims of the Corona crisis. “Supporting this association and its work is very important to me,” says Thomas Rabe. At the same time, he thanks the many athletes who took the Challenge: “On the one hand, they have done good for themselves and others through their commitment,” says Rabe, “on the other hand, they have drawn enormous attention to the work of the association Straßenkinder e.V. through their posts on Twitter. Both help the association.” The Bertelsmann CEO is happy that his donation is being put to such good use, and that it will directly help the most vulnerable victims of the Corona crisis. “Supporting this association and its work is very important to me,” says Thomas Rabe. At the same time, he thanks the many athletes who took the Challenge: “On the one hand, they did something good for themselves and others through their efforts,” says Rabe, “and on the other, they have drawn a lot of attention to the work done by Straßenkinder e.V. with their tweets. Both help the association.”

Athletes – including many Bertelsmann employees – followed Rabe’s call to run, ride their bikes or row for charity more than 1,800 times. Depending on the distance, they contributed between 50 and 500 euros to the challenge. Some of them took part once, others, like Thomas Rabe himself, completed a personal triathlon in all three disciplines over the course of the four weeks. Entire clubs took part in the Challenge, partly due to the lack of other competitions in this Coronavirus spring of 2020. This time, however, time was not of the essence – “only” the distance covered – 57,000 kilometers in all. They were completed in East Westphalia, in Hamburg, and Munich, as well as in New York and North Carolina. To see where exactly it all happened, you can check out all the tweets under #SupportStraßenkinderBerlin.