Support health with health, that’s Cindy Rakowitz’s mantra.
Whether she’s raising funds to pay for a suffering child’s hospital bills or promoting an event in support of the American Diabetes Association, the goal is simple – to raise money by hosting health-conscious events to help those suffering from health-related issues.
Founded in 2013, her Thousand Oaks nonprofit Fit 4 the Cause has worked closely with more than 50 volunteers to raise money for organizations including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Cancer Support Community of VVSB and the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program.
“I knew I had this passion for fitness and in the beginning I started doing fundraisers just to do them,” Rakowitz said. “I was very connected with the fitness community and finally a few years later my business adviser said, ‘You’re walking the walk of a really cool nonprofit.’”
Rakowitz uses her previous experience of 15 years as global marketing director at Playboy Enterprises in Beverly Hills to help create innovative events that both promote health and raise money. In the past, Fit 4 the Cause has hosted Zumba-thons and flashmob aerobics classes in public spaces, in addition to traditional methods of partnering with established organizations and selling tickets.
In June, the nonprofit participated in the 2015 annual Mud Run of Camp Pendleton and raised more than $1,000 for Ballet for All Kids, a dance studio in Encino and Westlake Village that creates dance routines that cater to disabled and mentally impaired children.
“The wonderful thing about Ballet for All Kids is it’s a therapeutic occupational program,” said Bonnie Schlachte, founder of Ballet for All Kids. “All of the wonderful things about taking ballet like self-discipline, focus, increased coordination and body awareness normally isn’t available to kids with special needs. But through our program they’re actually able to access that.”
Fit 4 the Cause has sponsored the dance studio for the summer, and will also donate a portion of the money raised from its first ever Miracle of Movement gala to Ballet for All Kids.
The gala was hosted Sept. 19 at the Sheraton Agoura Hills Hotel in Thousand Oaks. More than 250 business and community members were in attendance, and Rakowitz said the event raised roughly $30,000 from ticket sales alone, not including the silent auctions that have yet to be totaled. Instead of selling individual tickets, Rakowitz reached out to companies and asked them to sponsor the event by purchasing an entire table for $2,500.