In the U.S. less than 3% of charitable giving goes toward fighting the environmental crisis. Climate Ride seeks to change that.
Missoula, Montana -- Caeli Quinn is on a mission. In the eleven years since founding Climate Ride, she’s guided the Missoula-based nonprofit from a small organization that ran one event a year into an international force for the planet. In 2019 alone, Climate Ride granted over $800,000, which has been distributed to organizations across the country to help them combat climate change, support active transportation, and advance clean energy.
With fires raging out of control in Australia, plastic filling up our oceans, and the hottest month on record for the planet last July, many people feel overwhelmed by the devastation of our planet. But not Caeli Quinn.
Quinn graduated from Northwestern University and then hit the road on two wheels. After running a backcountry refuge next to a glacier in Patagonia, her interest in languages and culture led to ten years traveling the globe, working for Backroads, the active travel company. After her experience bicycling through China and Myanmar, Caeli turned her attention to active transportation and environmental issues. Inspired to promote understanding and to accelerate philanthropic impact for sustainability, she co-founded Climate Ride.
Today, Climate Ride organizes outdoor adventures in some of the world’s most beautiful yet at-risk landscapes in order to highlight the impact of climate change for participants. Participants raise funds for Climate Ride and then the organization’s grants proceed to nonprofits selected by the participants. These are once-in-a-lifetime events that create connections between communities and people interested in taking action for the planet. Quinn has big plans for 2020, including new adventures in Patagonia and Japan, and new rides on the East Coast, the Midwest, and the Green Fondo series in California. Quinn writes, “In 2008, I was inspired to do my part. I helped found Climate Ride to make sure there would be a future for the generations that will inherit this planet. That year, we did one ride from NYC to Washington D.C. with just about 100 people biking to Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress. Little did I know that in 12 years we would raise over $6 million for organizations that are directly fighting climate change and funding sustainable solutions that benefit everyone, like bike paths, solar installations, and conservation projects.”
Since 2008, Quinn and her team have run more rides, hikes, and runs including Glacier Ride in Glacier National Park, which has funded solar panels throughout the park and a bicycle shuttle system to reduce congestion and pollution in the park. A recent ride to D.C. brought riders from across the country including a team from Florida who had just lived through the devastating impact of two hurricanes made worse by climate change. Climate Ride participants put actionable strategies to address climate change into the hands of Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle. Climate Ride has organized cycling events along the California Coast to highlight climate impact and raise sizeable operating funds for bicycle coalitions. In 2018, they hosted a Climate Ride in Bhutan to learn from experts like Tashi Dukpa, Director of the Bhutan Foundation, which works on snow leopard conservation and climate change education. Participants bicycled and hiked in the foothills of the Himalaya, and many described the event as life-changing. Quinn says, “Our goal in the next ten years is to expand our active adventures, and create a channel for people to combat climate change and support sustainability, even if our government won't.” The coming year will bring three new rides and Climate Ride’s second-ever weekender event (Patagonia, Ohio, Liberty, and the Green Fondo) – all multi-day fundraisers. Proceeds benefit Climate Ride outreach and event programs, which generate grants for more than 100 organizations including National Parks Conservation Association, 350.org, Vote Solar, Food and Water Watch, People for Bikes, 1% For the Planet, and dozens of active transportation coalitions throughout the U.S. Learn more about Climate Ride’s Grants in Action here. Climate Ride, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is a grassroots movement to protect the planet. By creating immersive, charitable events around the world, it inspires, educates, and generates powerful grants for the environment, climate, conservation, and bike advocacy. Since 2008, Climate Ride has granted more than $6 Million to sustainability and active transportation nonprofits. Those interested in a multi-day bike ride, hike, or run can register for a Climate Ride event at http://www.climateride.org/.