VeloFest Community Initiative is a non profit based in St. Augustine Florida that works towards safer roads for all through advocacy projects and programs. For nearly 6 years we have worked with the community after our friend Bryan was killed in a still unsolved hit and run. The organization has successfully executed many programs including “Bike Rodeo”, “Light Up the Bikes”, “Bike Valet”, “Don’t Be a Salmon”, “St. Johns County Bike Route Map” “St. Johns County Trail Coalition and Symposium”, and many more. Now however we find ourselves in uncharted territory.
During Hurricane Matthew we returned to find our storage flooded. Not only was there rain and sea water but also sewage. We lost it all. Bicycle helmets for children, bicycle lights, educational materials, volunteer t-shirts, swag materials, 6 years of memorabilia, news paper articles, magazines, our tents and chairs, event supplies and the storage unit itself. . At the end of the clean out we were left with 150 helmets, 10 trivets, a copy of Old City Life Magazine and some cups.
Being 100% volunteers our financial outlay for overhead is limited to intern scholarships, project materials and expenses,, insurance and fees. With that said the loss of nearly $15,000 in materials and the storage unit is something we are grappling with. We do have a fundraiser event October 29, the Jail Break 5k:Escape from St. Augustine which has been a great experience with Old Town Trolley and many have come forward and sponsored this first year event. Our concern is this may be our last event and project as the sponsor dollars will be paying for the event itself which we are contracted with various vendors and already have over 200 registered.
We are looking to raise at least $50,000. Why you may ask if we lost $15,000 and no payroll overhead? Each year during the fall we have a fundraiser push for $100,000. Last year we raised $55,000 during the campaign and an additional $20,000 in the spring. With some type of educational program requested almost weekly, we are now in the negative after October 29th event and with no staff to fundraise we have to do it at one time so that the rest of the year we can focus on the mission.
Nights of Lights weekend will be our new timeframe for the “Light Up the Bikes” Program deployment and our first project for these funds. Additionally we will be funding one of our scholarships and all software costs to keep the organization open. Our initial launch for the 2016 program was to be October however we have spent the last two weeks offering our technology to the community to aide in relief efforts from the EOC Sattelite Disaster Relief Center in St. Augustine.
As a thank you, generously a New Belgium Felt Fat Tire Bicycle has been donated to us. For every $25 donated you will get 1 chance to win. We will be drawing at the 5k at Old Town Trolley on October 29 at 9:30AM.
You can donate by clicking here, registering for the 5k at www.escapefromstaugustine.com and adding an additional donation if you wish or you can write a check to VeloFest Community Initiative and mail to PO Box 1718, St. Augustine, Florida 32085.
Not only will the organization be forever grateful, but the many many individuals that you will indirectly touch as we continue to advocate for safer roads for all. We are forever thankful that our technology and reach was of assistance to our county in it’s time of great need for our residents and local businesses but we are now also determining our fate.
See you on the road,