A portion of proceeds from each race goes back to the memorial and rebuilding efforts. The Joplin Memorial Marathon is proud to support tornado recovery the last several years through donations to Rebuild Joplin. In addition to the money raised by runners, a sizable donation will be made after the event is complete. Funds from future Joplin Memorial Marathon events are targeted toward the construction and maintenance of memorials to the victims and heroes of the May 22nd tornado. Since 2012 we’ve donated over $100,000 to United Way, Rebuild Joplin, and Bright Futures to help with tornado relief and recovery. In 2014 we donated $30,000 which was matched by a grant to build a house for a tornado victim family. Rebuild Joplin was founded in response to the tornado that tore through Joplin, Duquesne, and other surrounding communities. Rebuild Joplin began as a website to coordinate donations and volunteers, then evolved into serving the immediate needs of recovery, eventually shifting to the repair and rebuilding of homes directly affected by the tornado. Rebuild Joplin has rebuilt 64 homes to date, and aims to ensure that all remaining families that were storm-displaced are returned home by 2015.

The Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism was our charity recipient for 2015-2017. Proceeds from the 2015-2017 races benefit the Center’s new active lifestyle playground area. Read below to find out more about the work they do in Joplin.

About Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism

Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, developed in consultation with the Cleveland Clinic Autism Consulting Group, opened in the fall of 2007 with a preschool program. Since then, the center has expanded services to include children birth to age 21 and families. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders often need targeted therapy to help build life skills necessary for transition into mainstream classrooms and a more independent future. Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism provides evidence-based, life-changing Applied Behavior Analysis therapy to children, adolescents, and young adults with autism spectrum disorders.

The opportunity

Prior to the opening of Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism in the fall of 2007, families seeking diagnosis and treatment for children with autism had two choices - travel great distances to receive autism services or go without. Since that time, thanks to generous donors, more than 300 students have received life-changing therapy at the center. When the May 22, 2011, tornado descended upon Joplin and ripped a 13-mile-wide swath through the community, it destroyed the center along with teaching supplies, office equipment, toys, and the playground. Despite the devastating loss, services for the children were restored within a week at temporary locations. However, thanks to the Leffen’s and many donors, a vision for a new home is soon to become a reality. As the new building, located at 2808 Picher, begins construction the center is in need of funding for a playground area. An active lifestyle through playground equipment and outdoor play areas that are specialized and suited for autism will aid in the overall development and growth of the students. It is the goal of the Active Lifestyle Events, Inc. Board of Directors to raise significant funds to assist in the building of an outstanding playground area to improve the quality of life for the Center’s students

Title Sponsors

  • Freeman Health System
  • JVM


  • Northwest Arkansas Naturals
  • Great Plains Financial Credit Union
  • YMCA
  • Sign Designs
  • Crossland Construction
  • Empire District
  • KJMK 93.9
  • KIX 102.5
  • Zimmer Radio Inc
  • 97.9 Big Dog
  • Kissin 92.5
  • Forest Park Baptist Church
  • chick-fil-a
  • KZRG 102.9
  • 88.3 The Wind
  • Joplin Electric
  • The Run Around
  • Midwestern Interactive
  • WalMart
  • General Mills
  • Countryside Self Storage
  • Joplin CVB
  • Fox14
  • Koam
  • Globe
  • Climate Tech
  • Arvest
  • Homewood Suites
  • Cheddars
  • Start Mechanical Supply
  • Show Me Magazine
  • Missouri Eagle
  • AMi Radio
  • Mets

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