Team Foundling 2023: Meet our United NYC Half Runners!

On March 19, Team Foundling will embark on the 2023 United Airlines NYC Half! The half marathon historically has taken over 25,000 runners along a 13.1 mile course through Brooklyn and Manhattan.

In partnership with New York Road Runners, we are excited to sponsor a team of ten runners – members receive guaranteed entry and other perks, all while crowdfunding for The Foundling’s programs supporting children, adults, and families. Our 2023 Team Foundling runners come from a variety of backgrounds – but are united in their dedication to running this strenuous race and giving back to our shared Foundling community.

Read more about each of our team members below, and learn how you can support them and The Foundling.


 Erik Clark-resizedErik Clark

Having recently moved to New York has had its challenges, but it has also provided a lot of opportunities. I wanted a new challenge and couldn’t think of a more demanding activity than to start with this half marathon and have the opportunity to give back to the Foundling community!

Learn More & Support Erik! 

Jardy Santana-resizedJardy Santana

Connection to The Foundling: Haven Academy staff member

I’ve known I’ve wanted to be a teacher from the age of 6. For 12 of the past 14 years as an educator, I have been a teacher at Mott Haven Academy Charter school, The Foundling’s charter school in the South Bronx.

I’ve experienced the impact of this partnership on our community first hand, and joining Team Foundling allows me to further support my immediate community and fellow New Yorkers, through another one of my passions: running. I chose to run with Team Foundling to make a difference in my community!

Learn More & Support Jardy!

 Michelle Watsula-resizedMichelle Watsula

Connection to The Foundling: Foundling staff member

I’m fairly new to the running game compared to most people. I started running during COVID as a way to keep myself healthy, both mentally and physically. Running is tough, but what has kept me motivated to continue was seeing my son cheer me on as I approached the finish line of my first half marathon last year.

When the opportunity arose to run for The New York Foundling – the agency that has provided me with invaluable learning experiences, growth opportunities, mentors, and relationships; an agency that continues to grow, innovate, and advocate to ensure we are always helping our clients reach their full potential – I jumped at the chance.

Learn More & Support Michelle!

Naomi Jackson-resizedNaomi Jackson

Connection to The Foundling: Foundling Junior Board member

Naomi is excited to participate in her first half marathon since moving to NYC five years ago. A member of The Foundling’s Junior Board, Naomi is inspired to contribute to the vision to help children and families navigate through and beyond foster care. A Hudson River Park regular, Naomi is keen to explore new running paths during her training. She’s also looking forward to the scenic race route of the NYC half and the special experience of crossing the finish line in Central Park. And course to enjoying a celebratory champagne with loved ones and her fellow Team Foundling runners afterward!

Learn More & Support Naomi!

John Machado-resizedJohn Carlos Machado II 

Victory is paid for in sweat, courage, and preparation. It’s about being on a lonely road and running like a champion even when there’s not a single soul in sight to cheer you on – when I wake up in the morning, feeling dangerous. Mindset: I hate to lose, more than I love to win.

Learn More & Support John!

Mel Hartzog -resizedMel Hartzog

Connection to The Foundling: Foundling staff member

I’m proud to lead The Foundling and all that our incredible staff do in support of the more than 30,000 children, adults, and families we reach each year!

In our work, and especially during the pandemic, managing our health and wellness has been especially important. Exercising is one of the ways that I keep myself physically and mentally healthy and when combined with the opportunity to support Team Foundling – I couldn’t wait to sign up!!

Learn More & Support Mel!

Elliott Lynn-resizedElliot Lynn 

Elliott started running as a way to exercise outside during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, and has recently run two half marathons. He’s passionate about The Foundling’s work, and has seen the impact of The Foundling’s services through his wife, a pediatric primary care provider for many years at The Foundling. Elliott is excited to combine his love of running with the opportunity to support the work of an organization that provides compassion, care and opportunity for those who need it most.

Learn More & Support Elliot!

Erin Lippman-resizedErin Lippman

Connection to The Foundling: Foundling Junior Board member

I started running about 20 years ago and have found it to be therapeutic. Running had allowed me to look at my city and other places from a different perspective. Being able to run on behalf of causes I care has about allowed me to combine something I love with something that helps others. I’m very thankful to be a member of the Junior Board for The New York Foundling. No children should have to live in a world without human basic needs.

Learn More & Support Erin!

Emma Wolfe


Learn More & Support Emma!

Jason Kauppila Jason Kauppila

I am NYC born and raised and have been running competitively for the past 10 years for teams with a common goal and personal achievements. This time, the race is not for me. It’s to embody the spirit of an amazing team – one that empowers our neighbors and changes lives for the better. Special shout out to Jane Fanning and The New York Foundling for getting me involved!   


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