Red-Bell Rider Raises Record Funds
Summer is here, and at WBR that means it’s time for the annual Red-Bell 100! Top Red-Bell fundraiser Jonathan Gorstein is tuning up his wheels after months of fundraising and shared why he's put so much effort into thus far raising $6,700 (50 bikes).
Jonathan first learned about WBR while in Zambia for work, where he is involved with the production and marketing of low-cost nutritional products that can improve vitamin and mineral content for mothers and children. While there, he came across some farmers who were using bikes to transport their crops to a local market. “I asked them where they got their bikes, and I learned about World Bicycle Relief and its work. The farmers told me that they could never get their crops to market to sell and the bikes had been ‘transformational’ for their livelihood, their families and to make vegetables more widely available to other families.” Between creating access to fresh vegetables and providing bikes to health care worker, WBR’s efforts spiked Jonathan’s health-oriented interest!
So, Jonathan set his mind to fundraising $1,000. Originally thinking that would be too great a feat, he surprised himself by bumping up his goal to over six times that much once things got kicked off. A few lessons and points of connection inspired his efforts. First, Jonathan explained that WBR’s story is personal to him due to his work in rural Africa. “I have such a connection to the mission of what WBR is doing, with respect to increasing the capacity and transportation options of mothers, farmers and local entrepreneurs in rural areas. For me, this translation of the work of WBR into something tangible that I am involved with is quite compelling”.
Jonathan also appreciated that specific sponsorship levels related directly to tangible products in the field, such as a bike or the training of a mechanic. Finally, the Forbes article on World Bicycle Relief from 2011 was very meaningful to Jonathan, who works closely with the Gates Foundation. F.K. and Leah Missbach Day’s role in founding WBR stirred him. Jonathan furthers, “I believe wholeheartedly that the philanthropy is by its very nature, inspiring, especially those who have done well. There is so much negative energy in the world, so it is great to promote and champion stories of kindness and generosity!”
After riding the Red-Bell 100 through the Pacific Northwest in a few weeks, Jonathan will be dreaming of getting Buffalo Bikes in the hands of Nepal and Laos natives who struggled to get their products between factories, markets and health centers.
“We work with lots of small-sale entrepreneurs who often complain that their main limitation is the cost of transporting products to local villages, whether health centers, pharmacies or retail markets. It would be neat to think about how to link up with WBR in a country where you are already involved and where we have some projects.”
“In some of these settings, the difference between a viable livelihood and poverty for a farmer, or between a poorly nourished child and one with sufficient food is having the means to be mobile, and bicycles can be transformational.”