SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Sacramento Allstate agency owner Zachary Wandell was recently named as the recipient of the 2018 Ray Lynch Community Service Award, Allstate's top national honor commending an agency owner or financial specialist for giving back and supporting people and organizations in their local community.
Since opening his Allstate agency in 1999, Wandell has gone above and beyond in volunteering his time, creativity, enthusiasm and resources to help people in need. Over the years, he has created and organized fun-filled charity events in his community to raise funds for children's hospitals, animal shelters, domestic violence nonprofits and homeless shelters.
"I like having fun with philanthropy," said Wandell, who was selected from 14 regional nominees to win the award. "Giving back is core to who we are, and I'm both humbled and amazed to see how these simple fundraising ideas have blossomed and grown into events that empower thousands of individuals, helping them improve their lives and fulfill their hopes and dreams. We started Donut Dash with 25 people and now we're drawing support from thousands of local residents and making a real difference. That's the 'awe' factor for me."
In 2009, Wandell started the Donut Dash as an annual race in support of the Child Life programs at Sutter Children's Center and UC Davis Children's Hospital. The event, held at William Land Park in Sacramento, invites participants to run, walk or jog two miles to a local donut shop. At the donut shop, participants eat four donuts or six donut holes before racing back to the park. The Donut Dash has over 2,500 participants annually and, to date, has raised $550,000 to provide activities and toys to hospitalized children.
In 2013, Wandell established The Duck Dash, a summertime rubber duck race held in the lazy river at Raging Waters, Sacramento, which also raises money for the Child Life Programs at Sutter Children's Center and UC Davis Children's Hospital. Over the years, people have donated money to race thousands of ducks, raising $65,000 to benefit hospitalized children.
Another dessert-infused charity event started by Wandell in 2017 is the Scoop Scoot, a 1.5-mile run to a local ice cream shop, where participants enjoy a scoop of ice cream before running back to their starting point. Through its inaugural event and the second event taking place this past July, Scoop Scoot has raised $30,000 to benefit The Child Life Programs, along with St. John's Program for Real Change and Front Street Animal Shelter.
"Zack is extremely deserving of this award and we are thrilled to work with Allstate to show the impact of the Donut Dash donations over the years," said Amy Medovoy, child life coordinator, Sutter Children's Center, Sacramento. "As Child Life specialists, we have access to so many tools and resources to help our patients and families, thanks to the support of those who have participated in and donated to Donut Dash."
Wandell also inspires others at Allstate to get involved and give back to their communities. For a reverse guest chef dinner, he recruited 35 Allstaters to serve dinner to women participating in a food services job-training program at St. John's Program for Real Change. Wandell also had 30 Allstate agency owners join him for Strokes 4 Hope, a local golf tournament that raised money for breast cancer research.
"As a small business owner, Zack is ingrained in his community, and with that privilege comes the ability to assess and meet the needs of the people who call it home," said Phil Telgenhoff, Field Senior Vice President, Allstate California Region. "Zack has always gone above and beyond to help those in need, and it's incredible to see the impact that he has made. We could not be prouder of all that he has accomplished."
The Ray Lynch Award was established in 2000 in honor of former Allstate agency owner Ray Lynch, who passed away in 1999. Lynch, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, is honored and remembered for 32 years of dedicated service by Allstate through this prestigious award that encourages others to follow his example in caring for others in their communities. Check out The Renewal Project for an interview with last year's winner, New York City agency owner Abraham Kevin Spann.
"It is humbling for someone to say to me, 'You are the person Ray was,'" Wandell said. "The award is an honor, a legacy. It's a testament to the many Allstate agency owners who do so much to empower people and communities by lending their time, their expertise and their passion to lifting others."