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Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo Changes Start Location, Accepts Donations for What?

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Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge Gran Fondo has announced a change of the start location.  The ride will now start at the Finley Aquatic Center in Santa Rosa, CA.

The event is October 3rd, with packet pickup and a VIP Fundraiser Dinner on the 2nd.  Proceeds from the event go to the Keep the Tour “bid” fund to help keep a stage of the Amgen Tour of California in Santa Rosa.  Not exactly the most virtuous of causes, I suppose, but if you live in the area, it’s probably important to you.

HOWEVER, one must think about this for a minute…  I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, but donations are made to the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.  Chambers of Commerce are generally in the business of promoting an area for tourism and business development, which increases the tax base and (theoretically) keeps property and other local taxes lower.

So, does an Individual Contribution by Joe Resident potentially offset potential savings to his tax bill?  Hmmmm…if it were me, I’d pay the entry fee and consider that my donation.  If you’re a gamblin’ man, a $20 (or more) donation does make you eligible to win prizes from Keep the Tour, though…

UPDATE & CLARIFICATION: Paul Skilbeck, the marketing director for the Gran Fondo, gave us a call to help clarify who and how this event benefits cycling.  First, the cause for my comments above is that a) there is a link on the homepage of the Gran Fondo website to donate to Keep the Tour and b) donations made on Keep the Tour’s website are to be made payable to the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.  There’s nothing wrong with this…the Chamber’s just doing their job…in fact, if they weren’t actively trying to bring huge events like the ToC to town, then there would be something wrong.  I was merely bringing to light the personal financial considerations of making a small, private donation. Discuss.

While the Gran Fondo website still links to Keep The Tour, a new (still being formed) non-profit named VeloStreet will manage collection and dissemination of the event’s proceeds.  Their purpose is to fund cycling and other charitable projects in Sonoma County, including Forget Me Not.  Forget Me Not helps at-risk children by providing therapeutic activities like playing with animals and learning horticulture, as well as playing with other children in a safe environment.  Forget Me Not is a direct beneficiary of the Gran Fondo.

Other clarifications:

  • Each host city has to put up a certain amount of money in order to host a stage start or finish of the Tour of California, which is why they are supporting the Keep The Tour cause.  Santa Rosa needs to raise $175,000.
  • Anyone who registers to ride can win prizes from the event.  The $20 pledge minimum is only part of Keep The Tour’s program and has nothing to do with registering for the event.
  • Some of the money raised from the ride will be pledged to Keep The Tour, some will be used for other cycling advocacy activities (like perhaps an Urban Bike Park that’s under construction in Sonoma County) and some will go to Forget Me Not.

Paul also relayed that there are close to 800 pre-registered riders as of this post…and there are number of other pros that will be here.  It’s sort of like a ‘pros thank the fans’ day, some of them will actually get up the hills first, then stand on the sideline and cheer everyone on.

Cycling pros in other countries often host or lend their names to charity events to help draw a crowd, and as Paul and I talked, we agreed that more of this needs to happen in the U.S.  Lance has his LiveStrong foundation.  Levi has the Gran Fondo…who’s gonna step up next?

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14 years ago

You would think that a “news oriented” site like BikeRumor would get its facts straight–There is more than one beneficiary of this event which stands to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the Forget Me Not Farm in Sonoma County, an animal charity that puts at-risk children from abusive situations in contact with animals where they learn from very positive and nurturing experiences.

This is a terrible post. As a reader I would expect more from you guys in the future.

14 years ago

Just wondering what the $175,000, that each host city pays to get on the Tour of California, goes for? That’s quite a bit of coin, and with 14 cities that’s almost 2.5 mil…

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