Stepping it up for the American Heart Association
Discover why Raymond James associates and advisors are so committed to giving back through the Tampa Bay Heart Walk.
A heart-centered history
For the 12th consecutive year, Raymond James associates came together in the fight against heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S. After months of virtual events, storytelling, fitness activities, fundraising and recruiting, the firm’s 570+ walkers surpassed our company goal, raising nearly $450,000 for the Tampa Bay Heart Walk and earning the distinction of top fundraising company in in the state of Florida.
“I think what’s really exciting about Heart Walk at Raymond James is that it’s become more than just an annual event,” RJA President/CEO and AHA Metro Tampa Bay Board Director Tash Elwyn said. “It’s something we embody and live throughout the year, and it has created more awareness and focus on the importance of wellness.”
Since 2010, Raymond James and its associates have raised more than $2.8 million for the Tampa Bay Heart Walk.
Focused on fitness
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. That’s why the Raymond James fitness center emphasizes the importance of exercise throughout the firm’s Heart Walk fundraising season. For the second year in a row, associates had the opportunity to participate in the Heart Strong Challenge, a month-long competition in which Heart Walk teams earn points by logging activities such as biking, walking and attending Raymond James fitness classes.
“I continue to be blown away by our associates who participate in the Heart Strong Challenge,” Fitness Center Manager Cassandra Masessa said. “It’s been a wonderful way not only for our associates to prioritize exercise and wellness, but also for them to form bonds by encouraging and supporting one another in their respective fitness journeys.”
The 300+ Heart Strong walkers collectively logged nearly 2,900 hours of exercise during the month of October, and raised more than $80,000 for the Tampa Bay Heart Walk.
The 2021 Tampa Bay Heart Walk
After moving to a completely virtual experience in 2020, the Tampa Bay Heart Walk took place across three pop-up locations across Tampa Bay this year in an effort to keep walkers safely distanced. Associates across Raymond James walked together in St. Petersburg, Wesley Chapel and Tampa.
“Year after year, it’s the personal stories that move me,” Senior Manager, Branch Change Management and Raymond James Heart Walk Campaign Lead Amanda Pilcher said. “Almost everyone has been personally affected by heart disease or knows someone who has. To be able to rally together to raise nearly $450,000 for this cause – then walk together in celebration of our success – there’s nothing quite like it.”
Raymond James participates in the Tampa Bay Heart Walk along with Heart Association events across the U.S. Visit our Heart Walk national company page to learn more.
Sources: cdc.gov, American Heart Association
2020 Virtual Heart Walk
This year’s reimagined event, the 2020 Tampa Bay Heart Walk Digital Experience, put the emphasis on health and wellness by encouraging people to get out and do heart-healthy activities.
Since circumstances prevented the traditional in-person event, Raymond James organized the very first Heart Strong Team Challenge to promote engagement and exercise. During the entire month of October, hundreds of our team members completed various activities, such as attending fitness classes, watching fitness webinars and posting on the Raymond James Fitness Group Facebook page, all while helping raise awareness and funds for the American Heart Association. The Heart Strong Challenge also provided Raymond James associates and advisors a safe way to connect and build community during a challenging time.
For 2020, Raymond James set a conservative goal of raising $250,000 and our associates came through. More than 539 participated and helped us raise $365,000+. As in previous years, associates submitted a “my why,” highlighting a personal reason for their participation. During coach calls, virtual rally events and on social media, the team members shared their very personal connections to the work of the American Heart Association. Whether walking for their own health, in memory of a loved one or in honor of a survivor, we heard so many reasons why our colleagues walk.
Tash Elwyn, president and CEO of Raymond James & Associates and executive champion of our Heart Walk, summed it up by saying, “We all have our ‘why’ and together these ‘whys’ make us a very powerful force for positive change.”
2019 Tampa Bay Heart Walk
For the 10th consecutive year, Raymond James participated in the Tampa Bay Heart Walk, delivering record-breaking results in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Our associates raised more than $540,000 in support of the mission of the American Heart Association, earning us the distinction of the No. 1 fundraising company in Tampa Bay, the No. 2 fundraising company in Florida and the No. 4 fundraising company in the nation.
Associates raised funds for the Tampa Bay Heart Walk through team-building fundraising events like Field Day, chili cook-offs and activities in conjunction with our annual Halloween celebration. Through Field Day alone, more than 600 Raymond James associates raised over $75,000 for Heart Walk, all while competing in heart-healthy outdoor activities.
This year, associates fundraised and walked alongside the 2019 Tampa Bay Heart Walk chairperson: RJA CEO and President Tash Elwyn. Tash led the firm’s fundraising efforts throughout the fall and continuously reminded us why we walk.
“There is no better way to engage employees, focus on wellness and give back to the communities in which we live and work,” said Elwyn.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public's health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
Raymond James Cares
Together, we make a difference to build, strengthen and grow our communities. To learn more about the firm’s corporate philanthropy, click here.