Letter to the Editor

Benefit ride thanks

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Just a note to say a big "thank you" for your support and coverage of the Character Counts! for World Bicycle Relief benefit ride. Your coverage before the event and after is deeply appreciated. Thank you for partnering with a community effort to help the needy in a distant place!

As a valued member of the press, you also deserve a brief report of the outcome as well as the finances of the event. Total participants were estimated to be 95. The gifts to World Bicycle Relief that day totaled $6,985.26 (52 bicycles). As you know, an early donor, aware of the project, gave 50 bicycles ($6,700) in December to take advantage of the WBR matching gift opportunity (which provided another $6,700!) that ended December 31, 2008. That means that the funds generated from the original $50 from Dickinson County Character Counts went like this:

$50- Pay It Forward seed gift from Character Counts!

$4,250- Given by lead donors to fund the event

$21,000- For bicycles for Zambia (155 bicycles)

There was a small amount of money left after expenses from the lead gifts. Therefore, the $21,000 includes $400 (3 more bikes!) of the lead gift money which was also forwarded to WBR.

I learned a great deal about how much effort and promotion it takes to generate interest for a new event in the busy spring season in the Lakes area. On the other hand, I was also reminded of the big-hearted generosity of people like you and so many others in our region. And as you know, Dickinson County Character Counts! leaders Kim Wermersen and Becky Peters as well as the Character Counts! board deserve special recognition for their support and hands-on help in so many ways.

Somewhere in the village of Zambia, Africa, a little household led by a child, the oldest sibling of a family orphaned by the death of both parents, will receive help from a professional health provider or educator. This helper would not have been able to travel to that vulnerable household had we not worked together to provide the empowerment of a bicycle.

We may never know in this life of how that help came to pass or who received it, but I know and you know that your caring heart helped it happen. On behalf of those African children and thousands like them, thank you!


Rick Porter

Intersect Team Leader