Beneficiaries of Washington, D.C., AIDSRide Receive Returns of 14 Cents Per Dollar for 2002 Ride
The Whitman-Walker Clinic and Food & Friends, the two beneficiaries of the 2002 Washington, D.C., AIDSRide, received a return of about 14 cents on every donated dollar from the ride, the lowest return on the event since 1996, the Washington Blade reports. The ride raised $3.6 million in overall pledges, but expenses associated with the event totaled $3.1 million, including a $250,000 fee for Pallotta TeamWorks, the company that promoted the D.C. AIDSRide and other AIDSRides across the country. Whitman-Walker Clinic and Food & Friends received $500,000 in net proceeds from this year's D.C. AIDSRide, a return of 13.9 cents per donated dollar. By contrast, the 2001 D.C. AIDSRide garnered a return of 50.9 cents per donated dollar, with 49.1 cents going toward expenses and fees. According to the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau, beneficiaries of a charity event should receive at least 60% of the net proceeds.
Officials with Whitman-Walker and Food & Friends said that there were several reasons for the lower returns, including the negative effects that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had on participation levels. Only 1,117 riders participated in the event, compared to 2,118 participants last year. But Food & Friends Executive Director Craig Shniderman also noted that "negative publicity" surrounding Pallotta "played a role in discouraging riders from participating this year" (Chibbaro, Washington Blade, 8/9). Last year, two sponsors of the California AIDSRide split with Pallotta after a dispute over the proceeds of the event. The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation created their own bicycle fundraiser, AIDS/LifeCycle, because they felt that Pallotta devoted too much of the funds raised from the California AIDSRide to marketing and operations expenses. Pallotta has also faced criticism for providing expensive "comforts" for event participants, such as cucumber masks and massages. In May, the Whitman-Walker Clinic and Food & Friends announced they would sever ties with Pallotta after this year's D.C. AIDSRide (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/31). Shniderman and Cornelius Baker, the executive director of Whitman-Walker Clinic, said that Pallotta also "alienated" riders last year by "inundating" them with promotional messages for other Pallotta-sponsored fundraisers. Food & Friends is planning to create a separate, not-for-profit corporation to produce a 2003 D.C. bicycle AIDS fundraiser to replace the AIDSRide. Shniderman said that Mickie Ballotta, development director at Food & Friends, has been chosen to head the new entity. Shniderman said that returns for the 2003 bicycle event will be "much larger" than the returns from this year's ride (Washington Blade, 8/9).