On November 15 and 16th, approximately 500 riders participated in a two-day fundraising bicycle ride known as The SMART Ride. Every year, the ride covers 165 miles from Miami to Key West, fully supported by volunteer crews along the way. The purpose of the ride is to raise and distribute funds to seven agencies across Florida serving people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, including Compass. Since its inception, The SMART Ride has distributed over $10.5 million to organizations throughout Florida providing programs and services for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
Participants in the ride travel from across the state of Florida, from neighboring states and as far away as Hawaii and even overseas. Glen Weinzimer, founder of The SMART Ride, turned his personal battle with AIDS into the 2nd largest AIDS bicycle ride in the country and the only one of its size to give back 100% of all dollars raised.
Funds raised through the SMART Ride are more critical than ever before. South Florida holds the grim distinction of having the highest number of new HIV/AIDS infections in the country. The SMART Ride funding covers the cost of critical services that are not supported by federal or large foundation grants.
Dylan Brooks, Compass' agency representative and the Upload/Download crew manager, shares, "This is my fourth year on the ride, and it's one of the events I most look forward to. All the effort leading up to the ride, and those two days themselves remind me how many people are in the fight to help those living with HIV/AIDS and to ultimately end the HIV epidemic! If it wasn't for community support of this magnitude, I don't know where we would be in the fight."
"There are a few moments in my life where I have witnessed people of all histories and backgrounds come together, united in singular purpose," said Michael Riordan, Compass Marketing Director and SMART Ride crew member. "The SMART Ride is one of those moments. To see what we all accomplished is nothing short of a miracle."
This year, funds will benefit seven HIV/AIDS service organizations across Florida: Miracle of Love in Orlando, Metro Inclusive Health in Tampa Bay/St. Pete, Compass Community Center in Palm Beach County, Broward House and Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Broward County, Pridelines in Miami-Dade, and AH of Monroe in Monroe County.