February 22, 2020
Pan-Mass Challenge Raises $63M for Dana-Farber

October 20, 2019 — The Pan-Mass Challenge, a Needham nonprofit that organizes an annual bike-a-thon fundraiser, which raised $10,200 at its inaugural event in 1980, yesterday announced it raised $63 million this year, a record, to support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, making it the largest financial gift ever given to the research organization.

The amount raised via the two-day event exceeded the organization's goal to raise $60 million and brings the total amount raised by the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) to $717 million, making it the country’s largest athletic fundraising event.

“I am extremely grateful for the generous support received from the Pan-Mass Challenge community over the last 40 years and am truly honored to cycle alongside dedicated riders, volunteers and supporters each August,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, president and CEO of Dana-Farber. “Raising $63 million in one year is an incredible feat, and this record-breaking gift will make an immense impact on our work in the fight against cancer.”

PMC has consistently increased the amount it raises each year. Last year, it raised $56 million, up from $51 million in 2017.

Helping to boost this year's results were two generous gifts and a challenge. The PMC initially had its sights set on a $58 million fundraising goal for 2019. In May, former Overstock.com CEO and PMC rider Patrick Byrne challenged the organization to up the ante and increase its goal to $60 million, pledging to personally donate $1 million if achieved.

Over the summer, the Levin family donated $2 million as a way to thank Dana-Farber for treatment given to Fred Levin and his daughter-in-law Terri Levin, both of whom are cancer-free today, and help fund advancements in targeted, minimally invasive procedures based on an individual’s genomes.

More than 6,800 riders and 4,000 volunteers participated in the 40th PMC on Aug. 3 and 4, pedaling up to 192 miles across 47 towns and 360 miles of infrastructure in central and eastern Massachusetts. Designed to cater to all levels of cycling and fundraising abilities, the PMC offered 12 routes of varying distance, ranging from 25 to 192 miles.

In addition, more than 150 participants were Dana-Farber employees, many of whom fundraise to support their own research initiatives and clinical trials.

“I cannot think of a better way to commemorate our milestone 40th ride than with our largest gift ever to Dana-Farber,” said PMC founder and executive director Billy Starr. “I’m incredibly proud of the role the PMC has played in furthering advancements in cancer research and treatment over the last four decades ”“ it is thanks to the drive and commitment of our entire community of riders, volunteers, sponsors, and donors that we have been able to give more than $717 million to Dana-Farber since 1980, making a truly unparalleled impact in the fight against cancer.”

More than 200 corporate sponsors supported the event by providing $7 million in essential funds, products, and services, which enables the organization to pass along to Dana-Farber all funds raised by participants.

The PMC has earned accolades for its effective fundraising tactics, such as encouraging riders to take advantage of Fidelity Donor Advised Funds, engaging with Facebook to pilot a new peer-to-peer Fundraising API, and cultivating strategic partnerships that allow organizers to maintain a 100% pass-through rate.

The PMC requires participants to commit to raising a minimum amount, depending on the distance they plan to cycle and whether they were cycling for one or two days. In addition, cyclists pay a registration fee. Cyclists had until Oct. 1 to complete their fundraising. Those who did not meet their commitments had their credit card debited for the balance.

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