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Newtown Cares for the Quest and the Community

“Recently, I’ve stumbled across a new business paradigm…Its hallmark is institutionalized compassion, a kind of corporate social conscience, a full embrace of the web of obligations that connects us all.”

Augie Nieto, cofounder and former President and CEO of Life Fitness, could not have been more correct – “doing good” not only contributes to the life and success of any business, but it also builds a strong sense of unity among members of the local community.  

After Nieto was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2005, he created Augie’s Quest, an initiative designed to “do better” by funding research and drug development aimed at ending Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) in Pennsylvania has been a strong supporter of Augie’s Quest for several years now and has built a strong connection with the program. The club has used Augie’s message and service mentality to establish club programming to raise funds and awareness for ALS - some of which include Zumbathons hosted by celebrity instructors and broader fitness events that allow participants to choose from a variety of workout options.

In 2014, Newtown had a more personal encounter with ALS when the club discovered that one of their own members was diagnosed with the disease. And at that moment, 31-year old Matt Bellina, became the local face of the campaign to support Augie’s Quest.  To raise charitable funds, NAC designed a system to drive online donations from members through their electronic monthly funds transfer. A strong email and social media marketing campaign – with content tailored around both Matt and Augie – generated a significant amount of donations. With support from sponsors and club staff members, Newtown was able to create a variety of activities, fitness competitions, and silent auctions all designed to benefit this worthy cause. As a result, the club raised a total of $180,000 or 10% of the $1.8 billion raised at Augie’s Quest during IHRSA 2015.

And Newtown’s reputation as a business that cares about the community has only grown stronger. Through its charitable efforts, Newtown has created a brand that will continue to elicit long-term support and success.  

“Having a strong community outreach component and charitable vision will define you as a business with a heart that is essential to your community,” says Linda Mitchell, Newtown’s Director of Public Relations and Community Partners, “All of our businesses are made up of people with generous hearts, but that is hard to see unless you make a consistent outreach effort.  It is worth it for the health of your business and it is the right thing to do.”

Newtown suggests that other health clubs looking to pursue involvement in these types of initiatives should work on establishing an effective brand, since creating a brand for fundraising is essential in order to promote and raise awareness for the notable work that any club is doing.

Mitchell reiterates, “Members love to belong to a club that is seen to be caring and generous.  It is how they want to be, too and they will relate to you at an emotional level that will serve you well for the life of your business. “


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