It's official: Major gratitude is in order. Friends of The Motley Fool have helped co-founder and CEO Tom Gardner turn his losing bet into a huge win for education, and we're so delighted -- and truly thankful.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

In Tom's words: "Thank you to everyone who participated in and contributed to something I will never do again :) -- on behalf of a great cause!"

If you're just now hearing of the situation: On Tuesday, July 12, Tom stepped onto his desk treadmill to take on what seemed like an incredibly arduous if not impossible task. He set out to walk five marathons in five days -- 131 miles -- to work off a wager he barely lost. (Read all the details in the introductory article.)

At approximately 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, Tom successfully completed the treadmill challenge and fulfilled the terms of his bet (and likely vowed that he'd never again tackle five marathon walks in five consecutive days).

This may have seemed like undue self-inflicted public humiliation, but Tom kept his word and decided to try to make it a win for education. He dedicated his efforts to raise funds for Washington, D.C.-based public charter-school network DC Prep.

This decision has turned out to be a stunning success: The campaign not only met our initial $25,000 goal, but the generous outpouring of contributions awed us by also exceeding our stretch goal of $30,000.

Clearly Motley Fool members, readers, and employees are a generous bunch, and all chipped in to cheer Tom on in a variety of ways.

In just a taste of the behind-the-scenes action: Not only did many Motley Fool employees donate directly to DC Prep, but some even logged their own miles in a show of solidarity. If we add up 50 Fools' step efforts from both headquarters and across the globe, they traversed nearly 2583.6 miles.

Meanwhile, so many friends of the Fool warmed our hearts -- and helped lift Tom's steps -- with their wonderful sentiments as they contributed to DC Prep through our donation site

The folks at DC Prep are also grateful for all the help folks like you provided. Here is a special message from them:

A sincere thank you from all of us at DC Prep for your wonderful support -- of Tom Gardner's heroic walk as well as our growing network of public charter schools. And a huge, heartfelt thanks to Tom for leading the charge around this effort -- turning a losing bet into a big win for our Preppies and teachers! One of the defining Core Values we have at DC Prep is "Generosity and Humor." This week's walk, and the amazingly generous groundswell of supporters popping up nationwide, have truly come to embody that spirit.

If you're interested in learning more about DC Prep, would like to tour a campus, or hear more about our program and educational model, visit us at or email And, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@DCPrep) and Instagram (@dc_prep) for ongoing updates.

Thank you once again -- your generosity is helping us do what we do best in fulfillment of our mission!

Image source: DC Prep.

What's next?

Although we're concluding the most dramatic, walking-intensive part of this campaign -- and hopefully Tom is getting some well-deserved rest -- we plan to keep the campaign page live, so it's not too late to participate. If you'd like to continue supporting DC Prep, you can still visit to offer a one-time contribution, or even set up recurring donations.

After all, Tom's treadmill challenge is over, but the path to providing all kids a solid education doesn't stop here.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.