Running Mates USA to Promote Civics, Leadership and Fitness

Jan 09, 2014, 09:00 ET from Bipartisan Policy Center

Bipartisan Policy Center Teams Up with Girls on the Run International Founder, National Political and Civic Leaders to Cultivate the Next Generation of American Leaders

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and Molly Barker, the founder of Girls on the Run International, today announced they are joining forces with national political and civic leaders to launch Running Mates USA. The mission of this new national initiative will be to educate and prepare the next generation of leaders to embrace and cultivate leadership qualities that are effective, empathic, honorable and inspired.

"Our goal is to provide young people with the tools, knowledge and skills to be effective and engaged leaders," said Running Mates USA Founder and BPC Commission on Political Reform Member Molly Barker. "We hope that by cultivating these skills at an early age, we will inspire a generation of young leaders who recognize the power that comes from collaboration, compromise and compassion."

Starting in March 2014, Running Mates USA teams will engage in a 10-week training program that combines running, civics and leadership development.

"We see this program as an innovative opportunity to teach our nation's future leaders important skills in civics and the critical elements of leadership including confidence, humility and collaboration," said BPC President Jason Grumet. "BPC has been growing more concerned that young people today see a government as locked in partisan gridlock. Running Mates USA provides an opportunity for public figures to showcase the positive work they are doing to lead our nation during these challenging times."

"This program is a great opportunity to provide students a foundation of civics, leadership development and fitness," said Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL). "As a runner and a football coach, I know the benefits of athletics in building strong self-esteem. I look forward to teaching my upcoming team not only about the benefits of exercise, but about my experiences in public service and the importance of developing strong leadership qualities."

Running Mates USA will be anchored at community recreation centers and affiliated non-profits across the country with young team leaders acting as facilitators. The program will officially begin in March and run for ten consecutive Saturdays through June.

National political and civic leaders will support their teams of elementary-age runners in a number of ways, including: delivering the program, providing leadership lessons, serving as a resource and mentor to the young team leaders, keeping in touch with team members through in-person visits, connecting with their "running mates" through a secure social network platform built specifically for the program as well as participating in the season-ending 5K fun run in Washington, D.C.

Running Mates USA will culminate with its first non-competitive and festive 5K run in Washington, D.C. in June 2014. The event, which is open to the public, will provide an opportunity for all Americans to come together and celebrate these future leaders and their mentors.

BPC founder and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is a strong supporter of the program. "Molly Barker has a great track record of building young girls' self-esteem and confidence," he said. "Running Mates USA takes that to the next level by teaching our young people the fundamentals of American government and the importance of strong leadership skills. BPC believes teaching these skills at an early age will build the foundation for more engaged citizens in the future."

Runner's World Magazine, a key supporter of the program, posted this story today.

To learn more about Running Mates USA, please visit

About the Bipartisan Policy Center
Founded in 2007 by former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is a non-profit organization that drives principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue.  With projects in multiple issue areas, BPC combines politically balanced policymaking with strong, proactive advocacy and outreach. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Bipartisan Policy Center