About the JICR

For 20 years the Gavalas Kolanko Foundation has hosted the JICR to raise money for scholarships for students with disabilities.  In 2019, the Charleston Running Club began organizing the race to continue the cause.


20+ Years of Racing History

How The Foundation Got Started

The Gavalas Kolanko Foundation was established by Nicholas B. Gavalas and Dr. Ronald Kolanko. Mr. Gavalas and Dr. Kolanko came together to form the GKF in 1999 after becoming aware of the costly requirements for students with disabilities wishing to attend college. As influential members of the Charleston community, they assembled a dynamic board, supportive staff, and a strategic plan for success. 

Our Founders

Nicholas B. Gavalas

Former General Agent of The South Carolina Agency for MassMutual Financial Group, and a 1972 graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. Nick began his career as an agent with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1972, and became General Agent of The South Carolina Agency in 1985. 

Dr. Ronald Kolanko

Dr. Ronald Kolanko is owner and Board Chairman of Atlantic Occupational Health, Inc. D.B.A. AOH, “Industrial Medicine Specialist.” He is a graduate of Lincoln College, and is a national and international lecturer on health and insurance.

The Charity

Proceeds from the Charleston James Island Connector Run benefit the Gavalas Kolanko Foundation, a local charity that awards annual scholarships to students with physical disabilities making “Education Within Reach” for South Carolina undergraduates pursuing a college education despite physical limitations. Since 1999, the Foundation has raised more than $1,400,000 and awarded 231 scholarships to Lowcountry students.

$1M+ Donated

Since 1999, the GKF has awarded 231 scholarships to
students and has raised over $1,400,000. In addition, the GKF works with government, businesses, and schools to improve the lives of people with all disabilities. The GKF participates in Charleston CAN, a coalition of organizations serving the needs of those with disabilities.

Charleston Running Club

The Charleston Running Club has been hosting this amazing event since 2019! After 20 years of the James Island Connector Run raising funds for the Gavalas Kolanko Foundation, the Charleston Running Club is proud to continue this great tradition for an amazing cause.

Since 1977, the Charleston Running Club has been promoting running in the local community. Early on, the club was instrumental in starting two of the area’s largest races, the Cooper River Bridge Run and the Kiawah Marathon.  Members of the club leadership currently serve on the board of the Cooper River Bridge Run. The Charleston Running Club hosts the Charlie Post Classic 15K/5K in January and the Floppin’ Flounder 5K in June in addition to the Charleston James Island Connector Run/Walk.  Prior to 2021, the Charleston Running Club also helped organize the Bohicket Half and 5K in November on Seabrook Island. 

Proceeds from these other events go to support the Charlie Post Scholarship Fund and the Sullivan’s Island Fire & Rescue Department.  The Charleston Running Club is a 100% volunteer operated club for the purpose of the promotion, encouragement, organization and education of running and running activities for sport, recreation, competition and health in the local community.