Marathon charity’s $70,000 in Newtown donations missing

Running News

Some people in this world make me sad.

More than $70,000 raised through a marathon running charity for victims of the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School is missing.

Ryan Graney, one of the co-founders of 26.4.26, a Tennessee charity, came forward Friday to say that only $30,000 of the $103,000 raised has been accounted for.

Elizabeth Weise of USA TODAY reports that Graney began to have suspicions about 26.4.26 founder Robbie Bruce and the money that had been raised last spring.

Graney said Bruce was in charge of the organization’s finances but that Bruce has cut off contact with her.

She saw a charge of $1,200 for paddle boards on the foundation’s PayPal account, and later when she went on Bruce’s Instagram page, he had posted a photo of a paddle board in the back of his truck, she told the AP.

USA TODAY reports “When Graney confronted Bruce, she said he promised to meet her and go over the organization’s finances. But he didn’t show up at the meeting and since then has cut off all contact with her. “I am in tears, sick about this.”

The idea behind the 26.4.26 Foundation was for runners to participate in marathons, raising money for each of the 26 miles they ran and dedicating each mile to one of the 26 victims of the school shooting — 20 children and six educators. The fundraising effort was featured in Runner’s World magazine and was the subject of several local news stories, The Tennessean reports

The group held a first marathon in Nashville a week after the shooting, with more than 1,000 participants. Another was held in New Hampshire last April. More than 1,400 runners raised about $22,000 for the foundation and the charity also received donations from runners in other events, The Tennessean reports. 

Graney says she has filed complaints with the FBI and the Tennessee attorney general’s office.

On December 20, this was posted on the 26.4.26 Facebook page:

Before you do your run this weekend you should know what happened to 264626 and why it is no longer around.

Due to the founders transgressions and misconduct we were forced to end all ability for 26.4.26 to collect money. Especially after it was revealed that foundation money was spent on personal items.

In total 26.4.26 raised $103,000, of which only $30,000 was handed out. The money that was raised for Boston is included in the $103,000 total but we are not aware if that money was delivered or not.

When asked about the state of the bank account a straight answer was never given and to this day, we have not seen the bank account.

We are saddened to see this great movement come to such a crumbling and embarrassing end. We fought so hard to do good and in the end 26.4.26 was taken advantage of and for that we are sorry.

According to The Tennessean, Leigh Melia, who lives 70 miles east of Newtown, ran part of the marathon in New Hampshire. She said each mile was dedicated to a different Sandy Hook victim and she explained to her daughter who they were as they ran.

“When I ran, I thought the money was going to those victims and their families,” she said, adding she feels someone should be held accountable now that the money has gone missing.

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