An inaugural Dr. Tombaugh Dash -- Family 5K & Fun Run is scheduled June 21, Father's Day, to help generate a sustainable fund that will support innovative classroom and instructional initiatives proposed by Westerville educators.

When former Westerville City School District superintendent George Tombaugh died on Feb. 20, 2019, family members approached the Westerville Education Foundation with a desire to establish a fund to which individuals could donate to honor the educator, according to district officials.

At its conclusion, the initiative had raised nearly $5,000 and allowed the family to establish the Dr. George Tombaugh Fund as part of the foundation's competitive-grants program.

"When I heard that the Tombaugh family was working to organize such an event not just to honor the legacy of Dr. Tombaugh, but to benefit the Westerville Education Foundation, I was reminded yet again of the kindness and generosity of our community," said John Kellogg, the current district superintendent. "The foundation's grants program supports creative educational opportunities in the classroom, so to have this event dedicated to such a cause is absolutely amazing. I'd like to thank the members of the Tombaugh family for their vision and continued support of quality education in our Westerville City Schools."

This fund is dedicated to supporting instructional initiatives submitted by district educators who are completing college coursework in educational leadership and/or pursuing their advanced degree or certification in educational leadership or administration.

Katy Tombaugh said she and her siblings, Ben Tom-baugh, Fred Tombaugh, Jenna Lofgren and Kris Evans, as well as their mother, Carol Tombaugh, brainstormed ways they could keep the fund viable.

"We didn't want this fund to be a one-time thing," Katy Tombaugh said.

"We were looking for a way to not only generate revenue for the fund, but to find a way that would honor my father's legacy and his lifelong work in education," she said.

As a result, with Katy Tombaugh assuming the lead and others taking on roles to support the vision, the Tombaugh family launched an effort to bring the inaugural Dr. Tombaugh Dash -- Family 5K & Fun Run to fruition.

Their goal is to net $10,000 from the event's first year to grow the funding available through the education foundation's Dr. George Tombaugh Fund. All proceeds from registrations and sponsorships will help sustain the fund.

Katy Tombaugh said her father was a strong proponent of physical fitness, instilling the importance of health and exercise in his children.

She said the concept of bringing a new run event to the community felt like a natural fit, caught the attention of others and quickly gained momentum.

"Dr. Tombaugh loved education, his family, his animals and his exercise," according to the event's online registration page, runsignup.com/dr tombaughdash. "It only made sense to establish a family-focused fitness event in his name and thus replenish the fund year (after) year."

"We now have a full committee in place that is working to make this event a reality," Katy Tombaugh said.

"We're securing all of the necessary permits from the city of Westerville and are proud to bring the inaugural event to our community on June 21 which is Father's Day."

Colleen Moidu, the education foundation's executive director, said Tombaugh's service and commitment to public education in the community will never be forgotten.

"We are honored to assist Katy and the rest of the Tombaugh family as they carry on his legacy through this fund," she said.

Katy Tombaugh said the event will be held at the Westerville Sports Complex, 325 N. Cleveland Ave. in Westerville.

Planning committee members are working with the Columbus Running Company to manage event registration and logistics.

"Whether you run competitively, prefer to walk, or are simply looking for a way to enjoy time together as a family, we believe participating in the event will be a great way for everyone to honor their fathers, living or deceased," Katy Tombaugh said.

Sponsorships will be an essential part of meeting and exceeding the fundraising goal for this event.

For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact katy@wellnesscollective.com.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla