Every year, six Florida agencies benefit from proceeds of the SMART Ride. That’s $15 million over the first 19 years, and the past few years has been around $1 million a year.
After the final ride this November, that funding is going away. OutSFL was first to break the news that SMART Ride is shutting down. Now the groups, which are all active participants in The Ride and fundraising, need to find new sources to fill the looming gap.
Broward House, which has gotten around $200,000 annually in recent years, is one of those groups.
“Broward House is grateful to have been a part of The SMART Ride for two decades. Broward House and I are grateful to have been a part of this beautiful legacy,” CEO Stacy Hyde said.
The loss of funding could hit them especially hard. The group, which helps people living with HIV get through tough times, is still recovering from catastrophic damage from April’s record setting flood. Their facilities were destroyed and reconstruction meant taking the building down to studs.
Though they are an affiliate of AHF, sources say AHF will not be stepping in to make up the gap at Broward House.
The decision to end the ride came after Executive Director Todd Delmay, who joined the SMART Ride in January, took the top job at SAVE. The board decided the Ride takes more time than Delmay would be able to spend.
Founder Glen Weinzimer says that ending the ride may have been the best decision all along. Both Weinzimer and Delmay say the way the world looks at HIV/AIDS has changed over 20 years. They believe the Ride has brought attention to the organizations, and they’re able to continue their fundraisers on their own.
It’s a sentiment Hyde echoes.
“The SMART Ride and Glen have brought attention to our programs and those we serve, and introduced many to the value of supporting our work over the years. We trust those who believe in the work of all the agencies and support HIV care and prevention will continue to support our fundraising in different ways.”
The greater community will suffer as well. Weinzimer always sets aside 10% of donations for emergencies throughout the year. If an organization found itself in need of new equipment or had an unforeseen expense, SMART Ride’s reserves have been there to help.
For now, they prepare for the final ride with a grand finale goal of $2 million. Hyde’s says her team will be there.
“We are excited about this year’s journey to Key West and look forward to honoring the difference we have made together and having an impactful 20th year filled with memory making moments.”