Every year, the Southern Most HIV/AIDS Ride (SMART Ride), the second largest AIDS bicycle ride in the country, holds a fundraising bike ride in Florida to raise money for HIV causes. This year, at the end of the 19th annual ride, they were $12,000 short of a million dollars when founder Glen Weinzimer challenged everyone to raise the remainder of the goal. According to the South Florida Gay News, the crowd cheered — and then smashed their goal.
On January 15, 2023, Weinzemer announced the final total for the Ride came to $1,043,270, making the organization’s lifetime total $15,954,344 since its inception in 2003.
“I feel grateful and emotional,” said Weinzimer in a statement. “To see all the riders and the crew in the room. The emotion of them seeing each other warms your heart to see humanity can be so good.”
The money from the SMART Ride provides a big boost to Florida-based organizations that offer HIV services. AH Monroe, a beneficiary since SMART Ride started, has received a total of $2,367,723 in donations so far.
All of the money raised goes back to the community, making the SMART Ride the largest bike ride in the country to do so. While Smart Ride 20 is underway and rider registration is strong, Weinzimer also hopes next year they can raise a record $2 million.
Weinzimer is also passing along leadership of the SMART Ride to Todd Delmay, who will take over as executive director.
“Todd is embedded in our community and is a part of our community,” he said. “He’s not doing it because he needs a job. He’s doing it because he wants to lead something that at the end of the day he knows made a difference.”
Delmay and Weinzimer will handle the planning of SMART Ride 20 to ensure a smooth transition, and Delmay plans to partake as a rider this year.