Through Booster Club, Brooks Gives Seasons Back to Schools

Brooks professional runner Josh Kerr runs with high school athletes

A pile of blue shoe boxes sat in the grass in front of student athletes from Central High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. Running shirts with the team’s name were laid out neatly next to the shoes while playful foam hands pointed a finger skyward in celebration.

Similar mounds of the familiar blue boxes and running gear greeted high school runners on tracks in Rancho Cordova, California, and Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico. Next to each pile was a professional runner—Gabe Grunewald in Minnesota, Shadrack Biwott in California and Josh Kerr in New Mexico—ready to help deliver some good news to schools in need.

The kicks given out by Brooks replaced tattered running shoes with peeling soles. For some of those athletes, a new pair of shoes cost as much as a week’s worth of food.

Families and schools across the country struggle each year to find the money for their kids to participate in sports. And when budgets get cut, sometimes entire sports programs find themselves under the knife.

Brooks professional runner Josh Kerr delivers shoes for Brooks Booster Club

In 2017, a budget deficit at Minneapolis Public Schools caused a shortage of coaches, uniforms and buses to shuttle athletes to and from games, according to the Star Tribune. A year later, a report from told of school budget cuts in New Jersey that had similar outcomes: The district cut entire teams and reduced the number of assistant coaches.

Brooks wants to help prevent that.

Started in 2015, the Brooks Booster Club now outfits cash-strapped programs with gear and money to keep young athletes running. Brooks Sports Marketing Specialist Julie Wachter says the club helps high school runners continue their careers.

“Through the Brooks Booster Club, Brooks hopes to inspire further generations of runners as well as ensure running is an option for all student-athletes who wish to participate,” Wachter says.

A sign for a high school

Brooks awarded grants to 25 schools this year, each with its own challenges and needs. In one district, every student qualified for the federal free and reduced lunch program; at another school, a coach paid out of pocket for all meet entries and pay-to-play fees.

A Brooks Booster Club grant includes:

  • $12,400 worth of Brooks running shoes, racing uniforms, sweats and accessories (enough gear to completely outfit 30 athletes)
  • $2,000 for team expenses, such as pay-to-play fees, meet entry fees and transportation costs

Booster Club grants have given more than $1.2 million in cash and running gear to schools in need since it began in 2015. Those gifts helped more than 3,500 athletes.

The 2018 Brooks Booster Club grant recipients are:

  • Plainfield Central High School (Plainfield, Illinois)
  • Poudre High School (Fort Collins, Colorado)
  • Lincoln High School (Lincoln, Nebraska)
  • Ottawa Hills High School (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
  • Woodland High School (Woodland, California)
  • Shawnee High School (Shawnee, Oklahoma)
  • Jemez Valley High School (Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico)
  • Lancaster High School (Lancaster, Ohio)
  • Lake Wales High School (Lake Wales, Florida)
  • Rogers High School (Spokane, Washington)
  • Belleview High School (Belleview, Florida)
  • East Jordan High School (East Jordan, Michigan)
  • Roosevelt High School (Des Moines, Iowa)
  • Winona Senior High School (Winona, Minnesota)
  • Johnson Senior High School (St. Paul, Minnesota)
  • Central High School (St. Paul, Minnesota)
  • Roosevelt High School (Portland, Oregon)
  • Easton Area High School (Easton, Pennsylvania)
  • Brookings High School (Brookings, South Dakota)
  • Chesaning Union High School (Chesaning, Michigan)
  • Enterprise High School (Enterprise, Oregon)
  • Shelbyville High School (Shelbyville, Indiana)
  • Cordova High School (Rancho Cordova, California)
  • Naugatuck High School (Naugatuck, Connecticut)
  • Waverly Central High School (Waverly, Tennessee)

Coaches and athletic directors can apply for a Brooks Booster Club grant through the Brooks website.

By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.