For nearly two years, WORKOUT ANYTIME—a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week fitness concept—has been giving back to U.S. military veterans alongside Lift for the 22, a nonprofit organization committed to helping veterans adjust to civilian life after returning home from active duty. The brand provides complimentary gym memberships for veterans at each of its 130+ locations across the country year-round—totaling nearly 3,000 memberships per year—in addition to promoting the program in May and November for additional fundraising initiatives around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. And this past May, its national social media campaign raised nearly $20,000, which will go toward personal training for Lift for the 22 members at their local WORKOUT ANYTIME clubs.
Of the nearly $20,000 raised, about $10,000 came through Lift for the 22’s national Facebook fundraiser promoted by WORKOUT ANYTIME, with nearly half of that amount being donated through the brand’s local clubs, owners and members. Another $4,000+ was raised through t-shirt sales. WORKOUT ANYTIME’s corporate team also went above and beyond to support the Lift for the 22 initiative—on his 60th birthday, COO Mark de Gorter embarked on a solo 106-mile bike ride from the brand’s Powder Springs club in Atlanta, Georgia to the Alabama border and back. The bike ride raised nearly $6,500 for the campaign alone.
“Honoring our military heroes is a top priority across the entire WORKOUT ANYTIME brand, from our corporate office to our franchisee-partners and local members. That’s why our partnership with Lift for the 22 is so special—we’re proud to be able to play a part in helping veterans adjust as they reengage back into civilian life through fitness,” said de Gorter. “Giving back to the local communities that we call home is a top priority for our network across the country, which is why it’s so important for us to rally our system together behind a cause like Lift for the 22. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, and I’m honored to have been able to participate in the campaign myself.”
Lift for the 22, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is committed to helping U.S. military veterans get back on their feet while facing challenges like transitional depression and anxiety. Those challenges have led to a shocking statistic—every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. WORKOUT ANYTIME is committed to helping Lift for the 22 lower that number until it reaches zero by providing veterans with access to gym memberships.
It was Lift for the 22’s founder, Carter Davis, who personally discovered the positive impact that fitness had on veterans. When he returned home from active duty in 2013, he suffered from depression and identity loss due to his separation from the military that ended in a divorce that almost made him one of the 22. But he found comfort in his local gym, realizing that it provided a familiar and motivating environment. Through Lift for the 22, Davis is now actively trying to help other veterans find the same solace in fitness that he did.
“We take an active approach to positively impacting veterans who are in the process of building a new life after active duty. Not only do we aim to reengage veterans with their local communities, but our goal is also to provide a familiar environment to former military members where they can set goals, achieve them and improve their self-esteem. We also want to provide veterans with access to the physiological benefits that come with fitness that can combat stress and anxiety,” said Davis.
WORKOUT ANYTIME locations across the country organized their own events to support this year’s Memorial Day fundraising campaign. In addition to de Gorter’s bike ride in Atlanta, the new Boiling Springs location organized its grand opening event around Lift for the 22. The brand’s Cookeville and Morristown locations also organized lifting competitions that gave back to the organization. WORKOUT ANYTIME’s Chatsworth, Hixson and Lenexa clubs also hosted special events tied to the Lift for the 22 cause.
Beyond its system-wide campaigns in May and November, WORKOUT ANYTIME supports Lift for the 22’s cause year-round by encouraging franchisees to do local fundraisers, including 5k events. And the brand’s involvement with Lift for the 22 is continuing to grow as more franchisees sign on to open up their own WORKOUT ANYTIME clubs. So far this year, Lift for the 22 has provided 80 veterans with WORKOUT ANYTIME memberships, valued at $26,000, with nearly 3,000 to give for the rest of the year. The brand will donate 22 additional memberships with each new facility that opens. With plans to open 49 locations that year, that means WORKOUT ANYTIME expects to donate more than 4,100 memberships to Lift for the 22 in 2017.
“As a franchisee, I fully endorse the Lift for the 22 cause. I know veterans personally that have committed suicide and I know firsthand the challenges of transitioning out of the military back into civilian life,” said Chris Gately, a U.S. military veteran turned WORKOUT ANYTIME franchisee in Panama City Beach, Florida. “Fitness, brotherhood and just getting out of the house has played a major role in my mental and physical wellbeing as I encountered these challenges. And that’s exactly what our partnership with Lift for the 22 can do for its members.”
Veterans interested in a complimentary gym membership to WORKOUT ANYTIME must apply through Lift for the 22 at http://www.liftforthe22.org.