Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Grantmaking

Medals4Mettle Incorporated

Someone is in a tougher race than you right now.



At Medals4Mettle we attach our branded ribbons (lanyards) to donated finishers’ medals (marathons, triathlons, half marathons and triathlons) and award them to children and adults for the mettle and courage they demonstrate battling cancer, chronic illness, trauma and other life challenges. These medals are awarded to pay-it-forward to those who must run a much more difficult race than the medal donors’ races; a race they did not choose to run: a race where the finish line might not be known. Medals4Mettle's mission is to provide an opportunity to unite endurance athletes with all compassionate human beings to create a new INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF COMPASSION: KINDNESS WITHOUT BORDERS.

Ruling Year



Steven F Isenberg

Main Address




Nonprofit, Courage





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Nonmonetary Support N.E.C. (T19)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Children and adults facing acute, chronic and life-threatening illnesses need encouragement to persevere. The burden of illness is frightening and exhausting. Athletes with good health compete in endurance events. During these events these athletes electively and temporarily witness a small amount of the discomfort that those struggling with illness experience constantly. The medals these athletes receive for completing their events are donated to Medals4Mettle who then awards them to struggling children and adults. M4M has published scientific peer-reviewed medical literature that confirms the value of our mission to the recipients, their families and the donors. The expression of kindness and the benefit of exercise are well known. M4M is therefore also beneficial for the donors in reducing stress, depression, isolation and several additional health issues.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Awarding Earned Endurance Medals to Children and Others

Medals4Mettle Medical

Medals4Mettle Veterans

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

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What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

M4M is setting a benchmark for charities to objectively prove the benefit of what they do. M4M is a pay it forward concept that permits a donation of goodwill and support that does not require the donor to be of substantial needs, and yet permits them to pay it forward to another individual. M4M offers people of diverse ethnicity, religions, nationalities, cultures etc... the opportunity to communicate a shared human compassion anonymously or personally. Our three year plan is to acquire a dedicated office and location; hire at least one full-time employee; further develop medal gifting programs with hospitals and outpatient facilities in the US and abroad; expand our successful programs within elementary, secondary, collegiate, medical, dental, nursing and other education programs; expand into veteran's programs and continue to research and publish and verify scientific data about the benefit of M4M for recipients, students, and volunteers

Since 2005 M4M has awarded over 60,000 medals in over 80 hospitals globally. Our 70 national and international volunteer coordinators enlist volunteers locally, raise funds and buy branded ribbons to award donated medals. M4M has grown without paid employees and operated out of Dr. Isenberg's medical office since inception. Our mission is accepted internationally and has been adopted by prestigious medical schools to teach humanism to medical students, award medals to Special Olympians and encourage frightened children to endure blood draws, imaging studies and chemotherapy. Funding will allow us to spread and expand our mission to unite humanity in a mission of shared compassion and kindness regardless of race, religion, nationality, culture, gender, politics etc. Funding will allow us to research the benefits of M4M for both donors and recipients and use the results to expand our mission to study benefits of participation for veterans with PTSD and others who are struggling.

M4M can be scaled with our existing 70 national and international locations and our outreach to educational facilities around the world. The combination of millions of endurance athletes and the overwhelming volunteerism M4M has experienced provides a framework for unlimited growth. Dr. Isenberg has published extensively on community-based outcomes measurements and has connections with several teaching hospitals across the United States. Our diverse network of volunteers reaches into many segments of business and life. Our costs are low...medals are free, ribbons are around $2.00 and volunteers are free! Simple Gesture. Global Reach. Profound Impact.

We can easily measure how effective our mission is by tracking the total number of ribbons that awarded; tracking our followers and their interactions through social media:, measuring student involvement with instructor input and-as we have demonstrated- scientifically measuring impact with validated medical outcomes instruments and publishing the results.

M4M is a 501c3 non-profit organization that arranges for endurance race participants to award their finishers’ medals to suffering children and adults in recognition of their mettle; encouraging them to persevere. Medals4Mettle has established over seventy chapters globally and awarded over 60,000 medals in over 80 hospitals worldwide. Medals4Mettle has received the Grand Prize of the Human Race from Runners World magazine (2008), the first Arnold P Gold National Humanism in Medicine Award (2009) and the National Jefferson Award (2013). M4M has been integrated into medical student education at the University Of Louisville School Of Medicine since 2008. M4M's scientific peer-reviewed research has been published (McKenzie Vater MS31*, Pradip D. Patel MD2, Kanyalakshmi Ayyanar, MD3, Autumn Marks, RN BSN CPHON4, Craig Ziegler, PhD5, Karen Hughes Miller, PhD6 Medals4Mettle: A Program to Enhance the Medical Student-Patient Bond, Medical Student Research Journal (2016). doi: 10.15404/msrj

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

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Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

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Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

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Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

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