Big checks with big amounts were presented at Hunters Nightclub on Jan. 15, as the SMART Ride gave out proceeds from November’s ride.

The atmosphere was one of joy and accomplishment as riders, crew, organizers, and non-profit leaders mixed on what is usually the dance floor.

At the end of SMART Ride 19 in November, they were $12,000 short of a million for the year. During the closing ceremony, founder Glen Weinzimer challenged everyone to raise the last bit to hit a million dollars. First they cheered, then they smashed the goal. On Jan. 15, Weinzimer announced the ride had raised $1,043,270. The organization’s lifetime total is $15,954,344.

“I feel grateful and emotional,” Weinzimer said. “To see all the riders and the crew in the room. The emotion of them seeing each other warms your heart to see humanity can be good.”

Beneficiaries are organizations throughout Florida that provide HIV/AIDS services, and money from SMART Ride is a big boost to their budgets. AH Monroe has been with the group since its inception. Counting this year’s $195,341 they have received $2,367,723.

Other beneficiaries this year:

Broward House: $171,830

Compass: $142,063

Epic: $150,985

Miracle of Love: $139,381

Pridelines: $129,465

The SMART Ride is the largest bike ride in the country that returns 100% of the money raised to the community. Planning for SMART Ride 20 is already underway. Rider registration is strong, and participants have a big goal for this year’s ride. Weinzimer hopes the landmark ride will raise a record two million dollars.

Retiring & Renewing

Weinzimer also used the event to announce that he is stepping down and named Todd Delmay as the new executive director. Delmay is a longtime community activist whose resumé includes helping achieve marriage equality in Florida, running for a seat in the state legislature, and developing My Hollywood Pride, but doesn’t have a lot of experience with organizations like SMART Ride. Weinzimer said that made him the perfect candidate.

“Todd’s not embedded in the community of the nonprofit world. But Todd is embedded in our community and is a part of our community. He’s not doing it because he needs a job. He’s doing it because he wants to lead something that at the end of the day he knows made a difference.”

For his part, Delmay has been around the ride for years and said it’s more than a job, it’s a passion.

“When Glen and I first started talking about what it meant to reach 20 years of the ride, and that he and the board had been searching for someone to take on the role and lead it going forward, it all came together and made sense very quickly.”

To ensure a smooth transition, Delmay and Weinzimer will work on SR20 together. Producing this type of event is all-consuming, so Delmay said he plans to ride this year, since it may be his only chance.