Hill Country Ride for AIDS
Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Inc. is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Specifically, Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Inc. is organized to produce an annual HIV/AIDS event in central Texas to promote awareness and to raise funds for the support of HIV/AIDS prevention and services provided by the Beneficiary Agencies of the HCRA.
There are an estimated 6,000 people living with HIV and AIDS in central Texas. To address this issue, local organizations implement time-tested programs run by some of the most professional, compassionate people in the community.
Ten AIDS service organizations came together in 1999 to create a collaborative cycling event to raise money to fund services to support people living with HIV/AIDS and to raise awareness of the impact of the epidemic in central Texas. In the Spring of 2000, the first Hill Country Ride for AIDS (HCRA, or the Ride) was a success, not only for the money it raised, but also for the community engagement that quickly made it a favorite and important local HIV event.
Now entering its sixteenth year, HCRA has raised over $4.5 million to provide life sustaining services for thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS. The Hill Country Ride for AIDS raises money for ten local nonprofit organizations: AIDS Services of Austin, allgo, CARE Program, Community Action, Friends of David Powell Health Center, Out Youth, Project Transitions, The Care Communities, Waterloo Counseling, and the Wright House Wellness Center. These organizations provide a continuum of HIV/AIDS services in Austin, Travis County, and the nine counties surrounding Travis County in central Texas. Services funded include: prevention education, medical care, housing, hospice, dental care, transportation, food bank, practical support, and substance abuse services.
The Ride is a volunteer-driven cycling event. The Ride Director is the executive manager of the Ride, responsible for the production and operation of the Ride. The Director assembles a volunteer Production Team to lead the various logistical aspects of the event, who in turn coordinate volunteers to perform each operational area. The last weekend in April each year, the Ride follows a route in the hill country west of Austin, Texas.
Peer-to-peer messaging has been an important tool in the fight against AIDS, and by word of mouth, riders have more than quintupled from the first year to 490 riders in 2014. There are 215 volunteers involved in the production of the event. The Ride is the sole fundraising event of the Hill Country Ride for AIDS and all time is allocated to this activity. Funds are raised by participants through a web-based solicitation tool and by the Director through corporate and foundation solicitation.
The Hill Country Ride for AIDS operated under the 501(c)(3) umbrella of one of the beneficiary agencies until the Ride incorporated in 2010. The Ride had grown steadily over the years, and reached a point of size that the future sustainability and revenue potential of the Ride would best be served by separate 501(c)(3) status. The Ride and all beneficiary organizations agreed that it would open the Ride to greater possibilities to be its own nonprofit and unanimously approved such change in corporate structure.
The Hill Country Ride for AIDS has become one of the most loved events of the year. The Ride was voted "Best Bike Ride" in the 2010 and 2011 Austin Chronicle Readers Poll! A Hill Country Rider summed it up for many when he said "The fellowship and commitment to the cause is so strong on this Ride, and the money goes where it belongs. I am so proud! I'll be back." When asked why they ride, some riders will say it's about riding to honor a loved one, some will say it's about a physical challenge and achieving more than they ever thought they could, for some it's about trying to do something really big to help people living with AIDS.