RUN THE DREAM: Social Entrepreneurism Par Excellence

Jonathan HowardOn Thursday, I attended the pre-launch party for what is an exciting new social enterprise. The guest of honour, Jonathan Howard, a 24 year old (and, I am proud to say, my nephew), is embarking on an extraordinary quest. On Tuesday, 25 March he will, in his RunTheDream charity fundraiser, do what most of us wouldn’t ever even consider attempting – to run across Canada, a distance of over 9 000 km from St. John’s to Victoria.

Why has Jonathan undertaken this amazing, and many of us would say impossible, run? Well, besides proving to himself that he can, Jonathan who is already an accomplished athlete and marathon runner, has had this personal goal since his university days. And, even more importantly, he hopes to raise significant funds for Autism Society of Canada, a rapidly emerging cause, yet one that still lags some of the bigger charities in its awareness and fundraising. In addition to a significant fundraising objective, a CSF for Jonathan’s will be to significantly increase awareness of the Autism Spectrum Disorders across Canada.

How can you help Jonathan raise his (minimum) goal of $2.5 million? The website at will be launched on Tuesday March 25th, and in addition to regularly updated progress reports, online donations can be made on this site, or printable forms for mailing purposes are also provided. Alternatively, any Canadians can email from their online banking portal to “”. Please give generously, however you choose to donate.

One of my personal favourite quotes to characterize the exceptional nature of entrepreneurism is:

“Entrepreneurism – making the impossible merely difficult”

This surely applies to Jonathan’s demonstrated passion to embark on a task that 99.999% of us would view as impossible. And, part of achieving the impossible is the creation of a great “social enterprise” in RunTheDream, having startup metrics like:

  • Year one revenue (contributions) target of $2.5 million (which very few technology startups aspire to, let alone achieve
  • 8 month run timeline, but probably almost two years of activities planned from conception to completion
  • corporate partners, like Telus, MuchMusic, Gatorade, Landmark Sport Group & Spa Sensations
  • a “board” & management group of about 15 core individuals doing everything from public relations, event planning, logistics, business development and partnering, etc.
  • and, like most technology startups, Jonathan and the team have developed this using years and months of passionately dedicated “sweat equity”

So, by these measures, this a not “your father’s” approach to charity or nonprofit and, I remain excited how the passionate entrepreneurism of remarkable individuals like Jonathan Howard, continue to transform our society in very positive ways. We all wish Jonathan good luck in embarking on his trans-Canada odyssey.