$1.2 Million Raised to Support Florida's HIV/AIDS Organizations
Photo by Jana Jaffe
Nearly 600 riders and crew traveled proudly from Miami to Key West on the eighteenth annual The SMART Ride, a 165-mile bicycle ride that raises awareness about and funds for Florida HIV/AIDS organizations, including Pridelines in Miami-Dade County. In doing so, they collectively raised $1,225,979, of which 100% will go to support life-changing and life-saving programs and services for people living with or affected by HIV. Since its inception, The SMART Ride has raised more than $13 million for its beneficiaries.
“The SMART Ride is a family made up of selfless individuals who want to make a difference in the world, people who are fighting for a future free of HIV and AIDS. And this year, after being apart from each other for nearly two years, we saw the strength and commitment of this family in action once again,” said Glen Weinzimer, SMART Ride founder. “18 years ago we were astonished when we raised $169,000, and again 8 years ago when we broke $1 million, and now we are simply in awe when we reached $1.2 million in the midst of a global pandemic. I truly believe now more than ever that together there is nothing we cannot accomplish.”
Funds from the ride are essential for the following agencies to provide quality care and services for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS:
Miracle of Love, Inc., the oldest and largest non-profit minority AIDS Service Organization in Central Florida.
Compass Community Center, Palm Beach County’s LGBTQ center, aims to diminish stereotypes by challenging long-standing misconceptions about the character of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Compass promotes awareness of the caring nature of our diverse community.
Broward House, improving the quality of life for individuals impacted with chronic health challenges, including HIV, by providing pathways to wellness.
Pridelines, which for more than 30 years has provided safe space, social support, skills building, leadership development, HIV testing and support services, referrals to competent mental health, health care and support for LGBTQ youth, their straight allies, and the community. Pridelines is Miami-Dade County’s LGBTQ Community Center.
AH Monroe, Florida’s oldest continuously operating AIDS service organization and the only agency in Monroe County that serves individuals with HIV and AIDS.
“We are so grateful for everyone that made this year’s SMART Ride such a success, from the riders and crew to the sponsors and donors, many of whom will never experience first-hand the impact of their generosity on the lives of the people we serve,” said Victor Diaz-Herman, C.E.O. of Pridelines, the Miami beneficiary agency. “SMART Ride provides gap funding for our programs and services that aren’t otherwise covered by grants to our clients living with HIV and those at highest risk of infection. Funds have been used to help clients relocate to access supportive networks, provided emergency housing for those experiencing homelessness which creates a barrier to accessing care, and providing rental assistance when necessary among many other important supportive services.”
Photo by Mike Trottier
Additional agencies will receive funding from The SMART Ride’s 10% Lifeline grant program that was created to support programs and agencies throughout Florida that are not currently on the list of beneficiaries. Since 2012, The SMART Ride has granted over $600,000 through the Lifeline fund. Agencies are encouraged to apply for the 10% Lifeline by visiting www.TheSMARTRide.org and submitting an application.
The SMART Ride will be hosting a Check Presentation Ceremony in January where beneficiaries will find out how much they will receive. For more information about this years event, the Check Presentation Ceremony, or to get involved with The SMART Ride, visit www.TheSMARTRide.org.