Stillwater News Press

Local News

October 10, 2013

Children's museum director uses personal goal to raise money

STILLWATER, Okla. — There’s something special about a person willing to compete for a cause. When someone makes the conscious decision that the cause and their dedication to an activity, event or goal can be connected to benefit many, they become driven to excel in a way few can.

Ruth Cavins is a prime example.

As executive director of the Oklahoma WONDERtorium, a children’s museum located in Stillwater, Cavins’ dedication to managing a successful new nonprofit can be seen in the accolades the museum has recently received. In less than two years of operation, the Oklahoma WONDERtorium achieved recognition as “Outstanding New Attraction” from both the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association and the Frontier Country Marketing Association. Attendance projections for the museum upon its grand opening in October 2011 were 13,500 visitors per year. Today, the two-year attendance figure stands at 92,450, more than triple the original projection per year.

Outside the office, Cavins was well on her way to achieving a personal goal — to run 500 miles in 2013. Cavins and her husband, Todd, began running together in early 2010 and continue to run an average of nine to 20 miles per week.

With five months of running completed and being 228 miles closer to her goal, Cavins offered a challenge to friends and colleagues in June 2013.

“Help me achieve my goal of running 500 miles in 2013 by donating any amount of money per mile,” she wrote.

Twenty supporters took her up on the challenge, donating amounts ranging from five cents per mile ($25) to 50 cents per mile ($250).

Seven months remained for Cavins to achieve her goal — June through December.

On Sept. 21, Cavins let the contributors know she had accomplished her goal. That morning, after winning the previous day’s “Juke Joint Jog” 5K in her age division, she had only three miles to go to get to the 500 miles.

More than $2,500 is being contributed to the Oklahoma WONDERtorium as a result of “Ruthie’s Running Challenge 2013.” In her thank you letter to contributors, Cavins wrote, “Each time I laced up my running shoes, I thought of you. In this endeavor I invested much sweat, a little blood, and I won’t lie, a few tears. You invested your hard-earned money but even more powerful, you invested your belief in the Oklahoma WONDERtorium and me. That single act will carry me more miles than my running shoes could ever last!”

The letter closes with, “Your donation will be used to support the general operating costs of the Oklahoma WONDERtorium. These dollars are the most difficult for a nonprofit organization to raise. Although utilities, rent and payroll are not glamorous, the WONDERtorium could absolutely not operate without them. Thank you.”

The Oklahoma WONDERtorium is located at 308 W. Franklin Lane in Stillwater (just north of Pioneer Stadium). Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m. It is closed Monday. For more details about the museum, its programs and events, call 405-533-3333 or visit

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News