CR Insider: Every Child Deserves a Chance to Thrive

By Bill McNabb

A year ago, Children’s Rights honored Bill McNabb, former CEO of Vanguard and a longtime champion of children. He consistently supports programs that improve outcomes for low-income students and expand access to education. Bill is stepping up for kids again in 2020 by tapping into his skills as an accomplished rower and long-distance cyclist to enlist volunteers to join him in a two-week national fitness challenge and fundraiser for Children’s Rights.  

Has athletics always been a big part of your life? 

I grew up aspiring to follow my dream on the basketball court. That fell apart my senior year in high school when an injury sidelined me. I wound up trying out for the rowing team during my freshman year in college as a walk-on, along with 100 guys. My first time out there I remember thinking, I’m never playing basketball again. To be outside, on the water — it was magic. I made the crew team. And learned more in a boat about hard work and working as a team than anything else could have taught me.

How does cycling fit in?

Rowing and cycling are actually great cross-training, so cycling has always been part of the mix. The same group of rowing mates are my cycling buddies. In college, we rode 1,500 miles to spring training in Florida. Nowadays we like to pick charity events, train for them, compete together and raise some money.

How has COVID-19 affected your workouts?

I’ve stayed close to my rowing and cycling friends over the years through our regular meet-ups at events. But, this year, they are all canceled. We would have been rowing again at the Head of the Charles in Boston, but not this fall. And we missed an annual cycling fundraiser in July. Until recently I was rowing indoors on a machine. I’m now able to get back on the water in a single scull. Cycling has been solo until recently. Now we are riding together but very spread out. I’ll say this – everyone is fitter than ever before.

What about your outlook for the future? 

We need to embrace a paradox. We need to look short term and long term at the same time. Short term, let’s face it, this is a really difficult time. Pretending it will be over tomorrow is counterproductive. At the same time, we need to hold in our heads a positive picture of what it will be like to emerge from this – different yes, but stronger and with new opportunities.

Where did your passion for education come from?

Education has always been valued in my family. And I got an up-close look at why when I was a middle school teacher and coach. The experience taught me that every child deserves a chance to thrive. A good education and the attention and support of caring adults give kids that chance.

Why do you support Children’s Rights? 

I’ve always supported nonprofits that create opportunities for children who would not have them otherwise. And that’s gratifying. Children’s Rights is helping tens of thousands of children. This is an impact on a scale that is tremendous. I’m proud to support an organization that is making such a difference in our communities.

Starting on October 10, 2020, teams of friends, families, celebrity supporters, and co-workers will come together to launch the 2020 CHILDREN’S RIGHTS CHALLENGE, a two-week national fitness challenge hosted on the fitness app Strava. For each hour of fitness (cycling, running, walking, swimming, yoga, etc.) logged on Strava, we will raise funds for Children’s Rights.

An integral part of our fall #1Nation4Children campaign, our goal is to collectively log 500,000 hours of fitness to represent the nearly half a million kids in foster care in the United States. To reach our goal we will need 50,000 participants to log 10 hours of fitness for over 2 weeks.

Help us log 500,000 hours of activity to help raise awareness and funds to fight structural biases, racism, and generational poverty for children.

*Download Strava and join Club Children’s Rights to meet your teammates and receive in-app updates on the 2020 Children’s Rights Challenge. 

*Please note you can participate using the free version of Strava. You do not have to upgrade to participate.


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