AH Monroe Pulls Out of New SMART Ride

Photo via SMART Ride, Facebook.

When the SMART Ride suddenly announced its end, many veteran teams and benefitting agencies quickly vowed to find a way to carry on. Now, a month after the final checks were given out, a schism has formed.

The six benefitting agencies, Broward House, AH Monroe, Epic, Pridelines, Compass, and Miracle of Love, were working together to figure out a way forward. Over the weekend, OutSFL learned that AH Monroe, which serves the Keys, pulled out of the partnership and will go their own way.

Now, AH Monroe is putting their own ride together, while the other five collaborate on a plan of their own. People in both groups describe the split as “heated” at times, with competing visions and hurt feelings all around.

Why This Matters

The SMART Ride raised $16.4 million over 20 rides, with 100% of every dollar raised by riders, crew, and volunteers going back to organizations serving the HIV/AIDS community.

Over the final rides, more than $1 million was raised every year, and the money was crucial for benefitting agencies. That money was earned. Each agency participated in the event; forming teams, holding fundraisers, and training went on 12 months a year.

Glen Weinzimer has lived with HIV for 30-plus years and founded the SMART Ride because he wanted accountability in fundraising. Rather than allowing the annual event to continue on in a lesser form, think SMART Ride-lite, he and the board decided to end the program.

Split Happens

All the organizations and many teams immediately pledged to regroup. While that could have been an emotion-driven reaction, tangible action soon followed. Executive directors began sketching out ideas. Team Key West Mile Markers (KWMM) filed to become a business that could keep raising money and was recently granted nonprofit status.

But creating a new ride with all the needed infrastructure (website that can handle financial transactions, establishing relationships with vendors, logistics etc.), is a monumental task. Everyone agreed it was important to have a ride in 2024. The question was: how much can be done?

The group of five wants to recreate SMART Ride under a different name, perhaps Bike It For Life. It would be a two-day trip from Miami to Key West.

Sources say AH Monroe wants a more manageable event with a broader mission. They are planning a one-day ride from Key Largo to Key West. The KWMM envision giving to more organizations, not just HIV service organizations.

That team holds events like bingo and Real Men Do Drag throughout the year. For the most recent ride, the team raised $229,000. To put that into perspective, that is about 15% of the entire amount collected by all teams.

Where Loyalties Lie

Many were surprised, if not shocked, when AH Monroe decided to go off on its own. Weinzimer was disappointed in their decision. He plans on supporting the group of five and will share his contacts, vendor list, and more.

AH Monroe was part of the SMART Ride since its inception, and other organizations were caught off guard.

KWMM plans to ride for AH Monroe, however they are separate organizations and AH Monroe will be in charge of that ride.

Riders, crew, and volunteers will soon be forced to choose a side. While neither have announced a date, OutSFL is told both groups are looking to ride the weekend before Thanksgiving, SMART Ride’s traditional date.


SMART Ride Ends; Our Continuing Coverage


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