Charity Treks, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Riders and volunteers from across the country signed up to participate in a cycling event from Montreal, QC to Portland, ME in 2002. Just prior to the event, the organization sponsoring the event folded.
Having already fundraised and planned for the event, roughly 150 crew members and riders decided to honor their commitment to a vaccine for HIV / AIDS and complete the bike ride anyways. The motto of that year became “Ride Despite”. And ride they did. The outpouring of support from local organizations and individual participants was so strong that members of that year’s ride committed to repeating the event.
Charity Treks was then formed and incorporated as a non-profit.
Key to the mission of the organization was to ensure that 100% of the donations given towards the cause made it to the beneficiaries (the Emory Vaccine Center and the UCLA AIDS Institue). In order to accomplish this, members of the board, community organizations and local businesses donate goods and funding to support the ride. This, in addition to the registration of riders and crew, covers the cost of the event. This unique structure allows each and every dollar raised to go toward research that is leading us towards a vaccine.
Since its inception, Charity Treks has given over $1,750,000 to the beneficiaries in the form of unrestricted funds for seed grants. These grants are extremely valuable as they may be used in the areas of the greatest need or potential, at the discretion of the researchers. These grants are typically $25,000 to $40,000 each. These smaller grants are used to fund creating a proof of concept that can then be submitted to larger organizations such as the National Institute of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO) or others to obtain much larger grants. To date, the seed grants provided by Charity Treks have resulted in millions of dollars towards novel concepts to reach the goal; a world free from AIDS.