“Who is willing to donate $1,000? For the kids?” asked our Board chair Shiloh Ballard with a wry smile last Friday. It seemed a preposterous ask, though sorely needed. Shiloh was addressing a crowd of over 300 at our Sixth Annual Dinner on November 15. She was asking for attendees to make a donation to fulfill a whopping $5,000 matching grant that our Board of Directors and Advisory Board had posted in support of our Safe Routes to School programs. Money raised would go to provide SR2S participants in need with bicycles and helmets, as well as to expand our programs throughout the school year and into the summer months. But it was a 1:2 match, meaning we had to coax $10,000 out of the crowd if we were to get the whole grant.
“I’ve been told to let there be a little awkward silence,” Shiloh joked as we waited for paddles to raise. “I’ll give you some time to think about the great programs this will help.” Then, amazingly, our first donor raised a paddle, followed by a second, and a third! When we asked for $500 donations, then $250 and $100 the responses were increasingly supportive (even a little overwhelming). In short order, the audience blew us away with generosity. We smashed our $10,000 target, bringing in $14,000 on top of the $5,000 match.
The paddle raise was only a brief part of a night packed with revelry and reflection. Attendees got to score some amazing deals on auction items large and small; Bob Roll and Andrew Talansky regaled the crowd with tales of Le Tour; we honored our Volunteer of the Year, Cindy Welton and Corporate Cycling Champion, Google; and a video produced by volunteer Lee Cuthbert illustrated all that SVBC has accomplished in the past year. Not only was it our biggest event ever, it was the largest crowd that the Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club had ever accommodated. It was a sold-out event a month out! Needless to say, it was a very successful evening for SVBC and bike advocacy in Silicon Valley and the Peninsula.
Such an undertaking would be impossible without the help of an army of volunteers and a team of sponsors who understand the importance of promoting the bicycle for everyday use in our area. Thank you all so much for helping us pursue our mission. Thanks to Bruce Hildenbrand for being a fantastic MC and auctioneer. Thanks to Shiloh Ballard for taking the stage for the paddle raise. Thanks to our Board of Directors and Advisory Board for going the extra mile with the matching grant. See you all next year!
Our volunteers went above and beyond this year. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Steve, Tom, Sharon, Jacky, Jack, Teri, Cain, Parth, Linden, Michael, Sandy, Holly, and Nicole.
Please help us thank our sponsors. Let them know you appreciate their support for bicycle education and advocacy: