The CrossFit community is the best. You know that, we know that, basically everyone in CrossFit knows that.
We support one another through the thick and thin of life as well as while doing cleans, thrusters, and even the dreaded Assault Bike.
And yet, perhaps the coolest part about CrossFit has almost nothing to do with the sport itself.
It’s that CrossFit as a whole gives back to the community and the world at large.
CrossFit has created nearly a countless number of foundations and charities. They support a wide range of endeavors, such as cancer awareness, education, PTSD awareness, and more.
Really, CrossFit charities are so numerous that they help out in just about any area that is positive in the world.
We at WOD Recovery RX take great pride in giving back.
Coming from military families ourselves, a portion of each sale is given to specific military charities that support ill and injured veterans and first responders.
As well, our pet line contributes part of each sale to specific pet charities with military roots.
To share some other great things going on in the CrossFit community, we’ve collected 6 CrossFit foundations below.
Some are well known, some are more obscure, but all do a great job of showing how CrossFit believes in being about more than ourselves.
They are an amazing representation of how we are just a small part of the world, but we can have a great and lasting impact if we try.
Memorial Day Murph (Lt. Michael P. Murphy Scholarship Foundation)
One of the most well-known WODs in CrossFit is the Murph.
Named after Lt. Michael P. Murphy, it has been done by CrossFit Boxes across the United States of America on Memorial Day.
Lt. Murphy was a Navy officer and Crossfit lover. He died in Afghanistan in 2005, and others started the memorial WOD in his honor.
His team came under fire from an overpowering enemy force, and Lt. Murphy left the relative safety of his position in order to gain a clear signal and communicate with his headquarters.
One of his favorite workouts, it consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 air squats, and another 1-mile run.
Oh, by the way, did we mention that the whole workout is done while wearing a 20-pound weight vest? It’s a tough one, but one well worth your maximum effort to honor the memory of a fallen hero.
While the WOD is well known, the charity behind it may be a little more obscure.
In 2007, ‘ The Murph Challenge’ became the official fundraiser of the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.
The foundation was started by the soldier’s parents, Dan and Maureen, and is aimed towards providing education towards young people.
Countless CrossFitters participate in the Memorial Day Murph, and it has raised well over 1,000,000 dollars throughout the years.
As the years have progressed, the scholarships have grown and multiplied. There are now over 27 scholarships available each and every year.
The Memorial Day Murph is more than just a workout. It is more than just a fundraiser.
It is a reminder that there are bigger things in the world than just ourselves. We can humble ourselves with some sweat and hard work to honor a man who represented that better than just about anyone.
Find out more about the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation here: https://themurphchallenge.com/
24 Hours of Heroes
Another charity event created in honor of heroes.
Instead of a specific person, the 24 Hours of Heroes fundraiser is done in honor of first responders and veterans.
The event started in 2016 with only two people. Bob, an Orange Helicopter Paramedic, and Gord, a Canadian Forces Veteran.
They wanted to raise some money for the Wounded Warriors of Canada – a charity that helps military veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD.
Both men were active CrossFit athletes, and wanted to do what they loved while also raising awareness and funds for PTSD in people in tough situations.
They gathered together 24 hours of ‘Hero’ workouts – workouts made and named to honor people who fell in the line of duty, one way or the other – and created a 24-hour medley of tough, grueling CrossFit workouts.
Before reading the next paragraph, keep in mind that Hero workouts are generally seen as some of the hardest workouts in all of CrossFit.
So in a sport made up of mentally and physically pushing yourself to the limit as you compete against yourself, these workouts are at the worst end of the spectrum.
Between them, the two men then did all 24 workouts in a 24-hour period. They alternated a WOD (or should we call it “WOH”) every hour.
Read that again. All 24 workouts. Imagine doing a Murph, or Randy, or Nate. Hard, right?
Now imagine doing a Murph, resting for an hour, then doing a Randy. Then you get another luxurious hour of rest, then you do a Nate.
Then you do another 9 workouts over 18 hours. That sounds nearly impossible.
And it turned out to be pretty damn close to impossible. Injuries were numerous, to say the least.
That’s why in 2017, they changed it to a team-based event with more people participating. Fundraising is being done through sponsoring teams.
We lose thousands of first responders and military veterans to the effects of PTSD every year. CrossFit wants to help.
Find out more about 24 Hours of Heroes here: https://www.24hoursofheroes.com/
CrossFit For Kids/ School Health Fund
Every year, the levels of obesity and sedentary lifestyles in school-age kids increase.
In an effort to promote general wellness and health, CrossFit started CrossFit for Kids and the School Health Fund. These two programs work hand-in-hand to fight back against sedentary children.
The School Health Fund is a general program meant to promote CrossFit in Schools.
By building clubs and after school programs, it allows kids who are interested in CrossFit the ability and platform to participate in workouts, while simultaneously building in them an active and healthy lifestyle.
Saved by the Barbell is an annual Labor Day weekend fundraiser hosted by the CrossFit Foundation.
It takes place in any participating CrossFit-affiliated gyms around the world and is used to fund CrossFit for Kids.
Proceeds from the fundraiser, which consists of CrossFit workouts for families to do, as well as other events, go towards creating and developing CrossFit programs in schools and recreation centers.
Specifically, it funds the training of teachers, new equipment, and health in children.
A specific example of this is Compton CrossFit, a branch of Saved by the Barbell located in Compton, Los Angeles.
It reaches out to underprivileged youth in the area and provides them with skills, training, and activity in CrossFit.
Find out more about CrossFit for Kids here: https://www.crossfit.com/foundation
BFB (Barbells for Boobs)
One thing that is almost never mentioned in the conversation around Cancer is the benefit of physical activity.
In terms of physical health and mental wellness, it is one of the most important things that patients and survivors do to get their lives back on track. That’s why Barbells for Boobs was created.
In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of physical activity in breast cancer patients, as well as raising funds in support, BFB was created in 2009.
When her best friend, Cecy, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26, Z knew she had to do something.
Cecy was initially denied breast cancer screening as she was deemed too young, even though she had found some irregularities.
After some prodding, medical professionals found that she had caught an early stage of breast cancer.
The goal of the fundraiser is to lift a barbell 30 times. Your choice of how you do it. The first year, the fundraiser raised over 4000$.
Since then it has expanded into a nationwide event in the efforts to promote early detection of breast cancer.
Find out more about Barbells for Boobs here: https://www.barbellsforboobs.org/
Cleans for a Cure
A smaller charitable cause, Cleans for a Cure is a great example of ho CrossFit pulls people together.
Started in North Carolina, Cleans for a Cure began with a shared attachment to diabetes. Jennifer Jenkins’ husband Matthew was diabetic, and so was the father of the owner of the CrossFit box that she attended.
Discussions about how to use CrossFit to help their loved ones came to a head when they heard the story of Kycie Terry, a 5-year-old with Type-1 diabetes.
Her diabetes went undiagnosed for too long, and the lack of awareness of it caused her to have 2 brain seizures, resulting in extensive brain damage and a permanently altered life.
After following her story and the effect that undiagnosed diabetes had on a young child, they decided to do something about it.
They first created the Fight for Kycie, a burpee challenge between two athletes, where they had 1 minute to do as many burpees as possible. Loser had to donate a dollar for every burpee to the cause.
This progressed to Cleans for a Cure, a social media contest where CrossFit athletes post their heaviest lifts using the hashtag #Deadlifts4Diabetes and challenge others to beat their lift.
If the challenged athletes cannot beat the lift, then they donate to the cause (or, if they’re feeling particularly charitable, they beat the lift THEN donate to the cause anyway because they’re awesome human beings).
Although still small, Cleans for a Cure is an awesome charity to look into in the month of November (Diabetes Awareness Month), especially if you or someone you know has felt the effects of the disease.
Find out more about Cleans for a Cure here: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/cleans-for-a-cure-7993470335
CrossFit cares about the kids.
Wade Debruin was only 2 years old when, on November 12, 2011, his fight ended against Neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer of the nerve tissues.
So CrossFitters keep fighting while Wade no longer can. That is Wade’s Army.
The charitable foundation continues on in Wade’s memory, raising money to research and fight against the rare form of cancer, as well as financially supporting families going through similar situations, building kitchens and operations in hospitals, and generally supporting the fight against childhood cancer.
The “Wade” is a WOD done on Wade’s Day. Done on November 12, the WOD consists of 5 rounds of 11 One-Arm Dumbbell Power Snatches, 12 One-Arm Dumbbell Thrusters, and 11 Weighted Pull-Ups, done for time.
Find out more about Wade’s Army here: https://www.wadesarmy.org/
What is amazing about the global CrossFit community is that there are literally hundreds of charities we contribute to.
Lots of the time, there are multiple foundations and causes competing on the same day. Charity-based WODs are a saturated market.
But saturated, instead of being seen as a negative, should be seen as a positive. After all, charities are not actually fighting against each other for money and awareness, but fighting arm-in-arm against injustices in the world. So yes, the market for CrossFit charities is saturated.
And yet we continue to make more. We care so much about our communities and others around us that we cannot help but continue to give back more and more each year.
It is, for lack of a better, more poetic description, truly amazing and inspiring to be a part of a community that gives so much of itself back to others.
Say whatever you want to say about CrossFitters: say we talk about it a little too much (probably true), say we’re part of a cult (If by ‘cult’, you mean group of fitness-minded, health-conscious people, then sure), but never say we don’t care.
Thank you so much, CrossFitters of the world, for being so awesome. Keep on pushing yourself, and keep on giving back!