The Izzo Legacy Family Fund gives back to the community they call home 

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Runners are gathered around waiting for the Izzo 5K to begin. Credit: Chris Warren

EAST LANSING, Mich.—Tom Izzo and his family have been a part of the Lansing community for over three decades and continue to have a large impact on the city. One of the main events that the fund hosts is the annual Izzo Legacy 5K race, which occurred this year on April 20. East Lansing resident Joseph Darda came in first with a time of 15:56.5. According to Izzo Legacy executive director Raquel Izzo McDonald, initial counts show that the event raised over $40,000. 

The Izzo Legacy Family Fund was created by Tom and Lupe Izzo to give back to greater Lansing businesses and organizations. Over their first four years, the fund has raised over $480,000 and were even honored with the Governor’s Service Award in 2023. 

Each year, the Izzo Legacy board selects nonprofit organizations across Mid Michigan to serve as charity partners for the race. This year there are 12 charity partners supported by the 5K which include Holy Cross Services, the MSU Student Food Bank, MSU Safe Place and The Davies Project among others.

“The Izzo Legacy Family Fund was established in 2019, after overcoming significant challenges in previous years within our university and community,” McDonald said. “Our primary goal was to rekindle a sense of pride and positivity within our community by showcasing the remarkable individuals and accomplishments that make this place truly exceptional.”

This year, the 5K has a new race director, Joe Dimambro, who was co-director for last year’s race. Dimambro initially started volunteering during the first 5K race held in 2019 and worked his way up to a bigger role. At that time, he worked for another non-profit organization The Crim Fitness Foundation before transitioning to the Playmakers Fitness Foundation in 2023 where he is currently executive director. The Playmakers Fitness Foundation and Izzo Legacy Family Fund have had a partnership with each other since 2019 to help put together the 5K every year.  

“This is really like a community event, all of campus is activated and it’s the same day as the Spring Showcase for football,” Dimambro said. “There have been other years where Student Admitted Day is the same day. It’s really just a great opportunity for all of Spartan nation, all of this community we have in East Lansing, Okemos, Haslett, Meridian Township to come together and just celebrate being active.” 

One of the organizations that the 5K helps support is the MSU Student Food Bank. The food bank has supplemental food and other household items for MSU students who are in need. With the money that had been donated to the food bank, they have been able to purchase a larger amount of food and household supplies from their regional food bank. 

“The Izzo Family, especially Lupe Izzo, has been a massive supporter of the food bank since the beginning,” MSU Student Food Bank director Nicole Edmonds said. “We are actually the only organization that’s allowed to do fundraising at sporting events and that’s because of the continued support from the Izzo’s themselves.” 

Another organization that the 5K supports is MSU Safe Place. MSU Safe Place is a program of Center for Survivors that addresses relationship violence and stalking and is located on the MSU campus. They provide advocacy, shelter, counseling, support groups, safety planning, information and referrals to survivors of relationship violence and stalking. They work to increase awareness about relationship violence and stalking through community education and outreach efforts.

“The support from the Izzo Legacy Fund is very important to MSU Safe Place,” advocacy coordinator Alyssa Baumann said. “MSU Safe Place relies on support from individuals and community organizations to meet the needs of the survivors we serve.  Funds from the Izzo Legacy Fund have assisted in meeting the advocacy and safety needs of survivors in our community.” 

The Izzo Legacy Family Fund continues to help support organizations like these throughout the greater Lansing area with fundraising events like the Izzo Legacy 5K. Tom Izzo and his family help carry on his legacy both on and off the basketball court. They have become a pivotal part of the Lansing community and are appreciated for all the hard work they put in.  

The MSU pep band playing the fight song at the start of the 5K race. Credit: Chris Warren
The MSU pep band playing the school fight song during the beginning of the 5K race. Credit: Chris Warren
A view of Lansing community members watching the end of the 5K race. Credit: Chris Warren
Runners receive medals from the Izzo 5K staff after the conclusion of the race. Credit: Chris Warren

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