Thursday, February 10, 2011

Riding for a reason

Broken Toe Joe on the Fatback he'll ride to McGrath

I’ve never been a fan of fundraising rides. The causes are usually good but the big, nationwide events tend to have an unsettling amount of overhead in the form of advertising, staff salaries, insurance and promotional doodads. And the organizers never seem eager to reveal what how much of each donated dollar actually ends up in the bank account of the beneficiary group.

But I do respect grassroots efforts with little to no overhead, and high-efficiency transfer of your donated dollars to the causes they celebrate. That’s why local bike racer “Broken Toe Joe” Pollock is the focus of today’s post.

Joe—who finished fifth in last summer’s Fireweed 400 solo—has decided to tackle the Iditarod Trail Invitational, a 350-mile winter race from Knik to McGrath, and to use it as a way to raise money for the Alzheimer Disease Resource Agency of Alaska. Joe is paying all his own expenses, so 100 percent of every donated dollar will go directly to the nonprofit agency. No ad fees, no T-shirts, no brochures, no bullshit. Just a guy riding a bike and asking for donations for a cause that matters to him. He has already passed his original goal and very well may exceed his current target of $8,000.

Joe’s grandfather, J.R. “Tony” Pollock, died just over a year ago after struggling with Alzheimer’s for years, so Joe understands the long-term effects the disease has on its victims and their families.

“I met with development director Fran Kelly and toured their facility,” he said. “I was really impressed by the care they give their clients, as well as their families. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that impacts the whole family over a long period of time,” he added. “Many families struggle alone for years trying to manage it and simply need more help.”

The agency has set up its website to make donations simple. You can make a secure donation online here, or send a check to ADRAA, 1750 Abbott Road, Anchorage, AK 99507 and include a note to let them know you are sponsoring Joe Pollock. Alaska residents can donate a portion of their Permanent Fund Dividends to ADRAA through the "Pick.Click.Give" program by selecting the Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska District 1, 3 & 4 when you apply for this year's PFD.

The ADRAA website has more information about its work at All donations are 100 percent tax-deductible.

The ITI will start February 27. Bookmark this page to follow Joe’s progress during the race. You can also follow him Facebook at "See Joe Ride."


Julie said...

Go Joe! That's awesome.

However, I'm not sure I understand your aversion to nationwide charitable events. (Imagine that, we disagree :)

If an event organizer doesn't want to give you specifics about how much of your money will actually go to the charity, then you absolutely should steer clear of them, but most non-profits are very clear about this.

For example, Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society is a 401(c) non-profit which means they are required by law to give 75% of the money they raise to the charity. That's a huge amount considering that they have raised over a billion dollars to date.

That money has funded research that has led to treatments that allow patients with Leukemia live a lot longer than they did a decade ago. It is also used to take some of the burden off of the families of patients with blood cancers.

There are so many great large organizations out there, you just have to pick and choose the right ones.

Okay that's all.

Karen said...

Thanks, T, for bringing more awareness to Joe's ride and cause!