Community Health: More than Healthcare
Growing up, Billy was surrounded by poverty and had lost both of his parents by age 12. Running became a positive outlet for him. After Billy started breaking records in high school, he earned a scholarship to the University of Kansas and then served as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps. He was a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps when he competed in the 1964 Olympics. Through his belief in visualization, Billy caused one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history. He set the 10,000 meter run time to 28:24.4 and took first place even though he was in third place until the final curve. To this day, Billy is the only American to have won this race. During the same Olympic trials, he finished a marathon in 2:22:55.4. After the Olympics, he went on to break more records. Billy set the U.S. record for the 10,000 meter run to 28:17.6 and had a 5,000 meter run time of 13:41.4. On June 27, 1965, Billy set the world six-mile record time to 27:12 at the AAU National Championships. His life and his accomplishments were captured in the film, “Running Brave,” released in 1984.
Billy now uses his Olympic success story as motivation for Indian youth through a foundation he cofounded, Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Following Lakota culture, Billy’s giveaway after achieving such success, was giving back to the American Indian community through this foundation. He spends 300 days out of the year traveling to different American Indian communities throughout the country to speak to young American Indians about their future. Running Strong for American Indian Youth helps Indian communities sustain safe housing, basic needs, culture and language preservation, emergency assistance programs, organic gardens and food, schools and youth centers, women’s health, and seasonal programs.
Billy was recognized for his outstanding work by President Barack Obama in February 2013 with the Presidential Citizen’s Medal. In 2014, Billy started a grant program called Dreamstarter, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of achieving his dream. These grants are given out to 50 non-profit organizations that work with Indian youth each year.
Lodi Adventist Health
San Joaquin General Hospital
Wallach & Associates
Homelessness: Our View: A Chance to do Something about Homelessness
County of San Joaquin
Ready to Work
of San Joaquin
Taxes: How to Laugh in the Face of Doomsday Headlines
Bowman & Company
University of the Pacific
Role of Foundations in the Changing World of Philanthropy
of San Joaquin
Lodi Community Foundation
Reinvent Stockton Foundation