mindgarden saidSounds good Art. Could you explain a bit more about how the money is used? I'm just curious because I see fundraising "for diseases" at the grocery checkout, at sporting events and all over the place. I've been in biomedical research my entire life, and I have never heard of any research that was funded by any of these charities. I'm not trying to be an asshole, it just sounds as if you have some idea about where the money goes, in this particular case, and I'm kind of curious about it.
One possibility, of course, is that the money goes to pay for individual care, in which case, I'd hear nothing about it. Unless I was in the group being targeted.
I welcome the opportunity to explain about the money, because it's one of our strongest promotional points, that we mention in all our advertising.
Every penny of what the riders & crews raise, 100%, is given to 7 non-profit HIV/AIDS agencies in South Florida. We raised $1,047,514 and that's exactly what they'll be getting. We are all volunteers who run this, not paid professionals.
The agencies each offer slightly different services to the HIV/AIDS community, by virtue of how they were founded and the needs areas they chose to address. Some offer medical care and Assisted Living Facilities (ALF), while one focuses on pediatric HIV & AIDS (The Children's Diagnostic & Treatment Center), and another does eduction, community outreach and free testing.
These agencies must in turn agree to spend the money we give them strictly on client services, and nothing else. No office renovations or pay raises for staff, no parties or trips. If we learn of funds misuse they are removed from our recipients and we select another agency in their place.
Things our money has bought include ALF furniture, food, clothing and comfort items, a mobile HIV testing van, medical care, hired an HIV/AIDS counselor & tester, and similar client-oriented assistance.
Of course moving 850 Ride participants from Miami to Key West over 2 days generates expenses, from renting porta potties and cargo trucks, to other support vehicles, radios, providing 6 meals, refreshments for 7 pit stops and 3 water points, the services of a CPA as required by the IRS, and even year-round storage rentals for all our equipment.
We get that from our corporate sponsors, who give us money, or free services, or a combo of both. But again, not drawing a penny from what the riders & crew raise, their money being fenced.
So Macy's, Target, Progressive Insurance, Tire Kingdom, Abbott Laboratories, FedEx and others each donate thousands of dollars. Some also give gifts for each participant. AutoNation provides our SUV "sweep" vehicles free, to recover down bikes (mostly flat tires), and Progressive also gives us one of their response SUVs for that purpose. In addition to money, Target gives us gift cards to raffle off to participants.
Olive Garden provides a free "pasta feast" (carb loading) the night before the ride-out for 850 people, under a huge tent on the starting grounds. Our ambulance & crew are donated by AMR, while our extensive medical teams are all unpaid doctors, nurses and med techs who volunteer their services & materials. At ride's end on both Fri & Sat we provide free massages from 20 licensed massage therapists who also donate their service without fee. Our safety escort of 15 motorcyclists are all unpaid volunteers who provide their personal bikes and their own gas, and most buy out of their own pockets special marker lights to help identify them, like police cycles have.
And so in this way our expenses are covered without drawing upon the money that the riders & crew have worked to raise. We are one of the few charities of this size in the US that operates in this way, and that fact is emblazoned on all our materials, web site, clothing items, etc.