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Inspiration to Accomplishment

In 2009, Greg Carter attended the Kiwanis International Convention in Nashville. There, he learned about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, started by the beloved Country Music icon in 1995. She had been deeply affected growing up by her father’s struggles with illiteracy. The Imagination Library, which every month from birth to age 5 puts a new book in the hands of a child was her answer to preventing future illiteracy and the pain that it causes.

Full of enthusiasm, Greg came home determined to bring the Imagination Library to Cloverdale. The challenge was how to pay for it. He took the idea to his young Cloverdale Kiwanis club which agreed to support Greg’s vision but also agreed that a new funding source was needed. With optimism matching enthusiasm, Greg created an Imagination Library website for Cloverdale and began the search for a way to support it. Going through many ideas with Kiwanians and others, Greg and Julie turned to something they knew about – running. Greg was an ultra-marathon runner and Julie had experience in race organizing, so there was the answer and the club agreed. Specifically, it was decided that the Harvest Runs would offer full and half marathons and a 5K. This small start did provide the money to get the program going. The race itself grew and evolved into the Cloverdale Kiwanis Vineyard Races. This has provided a unique running experience that means participants can run without the dangers of vehicle traffic on public roads or without the rocks and stumps of trail running. The event has become a full family experience with music and food and wine country ambiance.

The event was threatened in 2017 by the Tubbs fire but the race not only took place but $10,000 was donated to general fire assistance and $2,000 to assistance to Cloverdale teachers whose homes were burned.

The 2020 race would have been the 10th anniversary of the event. The Covid pandemic intervened and the event had to be cancelled. Sadly, 2020 also saw Greg’s cancer diagnosis and made the cancellation even harder. The race is now widely recognized, attracting California and international participants. At the same time, the success of the Imagination Library is now also established. In 10 years, it has averaged 250 books per month or over 30,000 delivered to Cloverdale children and another 10,000 books for other literacy programs.

Greg died in April 2021 in a manner reflecting his optimism, his compassion and his dedication to the continued success of this program. His inspiration is ongoing and his contribution enduring.





Race Director: Greg Carter



All proceeds support the charitable programs of the Kiwanis Club of Cloverdale Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
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