Balega International’s annual Ubuntu Award for community service has been presented to Naperville Running Company of Naperville, Ill. Balega presented its 2016 Ubuntu Award to store owners Kris Hartner and Susanna Gotsch at The 2016 Running Event (TRE) in Orlando, Fla. on December 1.
Since the inception of TRE, Balega has presented the Ubuntu Award annually to running specialty stores that excel in community service and involvement. Ubuntu originated in Africa and roughly translates to “human kindness.” The term, popularized by Nelson Mandela, translates as “I am a person through other people,” meaning only by banding together as a community and working together can we truly call ourselves human.
The Ubuntu Award recognizes thoughtful actions that have long lasting effects on the lives of people in local communities, says the sock company. Naperville Running Company received the award to acknowledge its establishment of the entrepreneurial program at North Central College this past year. Because of the help from Naperville Running Company and its donation of $100,000 to launch the program, students at North Central College will now be able to receive startup funding for an enterprise with social impact. In addition, through the running store’s generosity, an academic program as part of North Central College’s Leadership, Ethics and Values department will offer a “Social Impact Entrepreneurship” class this fall.
“Kris, Susanna and everyone at Naperville Running prioritize community service and they are dedicated to putting service at the forefront of their overall company mission,” said Tanya Pictor, Vice President of Marketing at Implus Specialty. “We are proud to honor them with this award for their clear passion and dedication to community.”
Additionally, Naperville Running Company’s team of 28 is known throughout their local community for their knowledge of the running industry and their enthusiasm and passion for helping customers. The store previously has been awarded top running store in the United States and Naperville Small Business of the Year.
“The goal is building a program that supports students so that when they walk across the stage on graduation day, they have spent the past few years creating an actual operating business. It’s hugely important to us and our future to give these students the tools they need to create a business with the Ubuntu spirit in mind,” said Kris Hartner, owner of Naperville Running Company.