Jim Walker, FCLF Community Development Loan Officer, recently participated in a 2-day, 165-mile bicycle ride that raised over $860,000 for 7 HIV/AIDS service organizations in Florida.
Over 500 riders participated in the 2-day SmartRide from Miami to Key West to raise money for service organizations throughout Florida. This year over $860,000 was raised; 100% of all pledges go directly to service organizations. A complete list of the organizations who benefited this year are on the SmartRide website.
Jim joined FCLF in 2009, setting up FCLF's office in South Florida and immediately becoming active in the community. He is a native of the area and currently volunteers with several area organizations, including the Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County. Thanks, Jim, for helping achieve our vision of transforming communities throughout Florida!
Additional Information from the SmartRide website:
Like many things that change us and the world in some way, it starts with a dream, a vision, and an idea. The Southern Most AIDS/HIV Ride Twenty-Twelve is no different. It was born out of a dream to make a real and significant difference in the lives of those infected, affected and at risk for HIV/AIDS.
The SMART Ride began as a dream to create a bicycle event where 100% of pledges raised could go back to the communities to be used for direct services. That was over eight years ago, and so far $3.3 million dollars have been raised. 100% has been given back to the communities we serve to assist with direct services for individuals infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.
What makes SMART Ride unique? The ride is fully supported and designed to allow riders of all degrees of experience to participate. This is a ride not a race. Each participant pays an $85 registration fee and riders commit to raise a minimum of $1,250 in donations. Although that amount to fund raise may seem daunting, we are continually amazed by what we see participants accomplish. The average rider raises over $1,800.
100% of pledges raised by participants are guaranteed to go to direct services and participants maintain a degree of control over the distribution of 50% of their pledges to the benefiting agencies.
Our participants come from across the State of Florida from as far south as Key West, as far North as Jacksonville, from Tampa to Palm Beach. Nationally from as far as Hawaii to as close as our neighboring state of Georgia, not to mention Internationally. We attract between 400-500 participants with each event, but we touch thousands more on the road as we travel between cities and towns, and with each donation that is made. Last year, close to 10,000 people donated to our efforts – that’s quite an impact!
Riders and crew range in age from 18 to 73. They are involved because:
Some are Positive
Some have lost someone to HIV/AIDS
Some know someone living with HIV/AIDS
Everybody believes it is the right thing to do!
Our sponsors are Independent/Family Owned Businesses, Regional and National Companies. All believe that being involved is a life changing experience and want an opportunity to give back to the community. Sponsors donate cash, products, service and also put together riding teams. Thanks to them, we are able to produce a safe event and donate 100% of the pledges raised back to the community.
So whether you ride, crew, sponsor or donate, it takes all of us to make a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Remember the famous quote by anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
So come join us on our 165 mile journey from Miami to Key West. It is a 2 day experience you will never forget!