#TheMackPack, a Breakout 19-Person Cycling Team Debuts, Raises $128,700 For Housing Works
NEW YORK, NY (Sept 24, 2014)–Two months ago Jack Mackenroth, a well-known HIV activist and novice cyclist, committed to BRAKING AIDS® Ride, a 3-day 300 mile bike ride from Boston to New York to benefit Housing Works in NYC. As a lifelong athlete Jack had faith that with the right training and equipment the ride would be extremely challenging but doable. The fundraising piece was a different story.
Mackenroth says, “I made the mistake of speaking before doing my research and I announced that I was going to raise $50,000 dollars in just 7 weeks. I figured with my massive social media reach I could just post a few occasional call-outs and the donations would come rolling in. Wrong.”
It’s now commonplace to use social media platforms to promote projects and raise money through crowd funding. Jack had to get creative after his first few attempts yielded tepid results. Subsequently he began “selling” personalized semi-naked selfies for donations over $250 dollars. He would tag the name, business, website or social media handle of any major donor and post the photo on all of his social media outlets which have a reach of over 500,000 followers. Leveraging his body as a billboard, Jack sold ad space to would-be donors. The larger the gift – the more provocative the geography of the ad. It worked.
“Donations started flowing in. And when I posted a pic and thanked the individual for their generosity, often other donations followed. But honestly it was a lot of work. I did a lot of direct asking to everyone I know – online and offline. I followed up. I hounded people. I think there are some people who have permanently blocked my number. Ha!” Jack’s team was no less dedicated to the cause, raising on average $4500 each which is $1,000 over the minimum amount. Of the top 20 fundraisers for the entire event, six were members of #themackpack. Of the 19 team members, 16 were newbies to BRAKING AIDS Ride. Very impressive showing for team mates Roger Lovejoy, Steve Alexander, Laurence Wallace, Jim Olmstead, Alan Slatas, Angela Hubbs, Cori Hook, Drew Ginsberg, Danny Reynolds, James Dunn, Sam Vassallo, Jessie Spector, Aaron Tsui, Patrick Hogan, Patrick Clayton, John Kanazawa, Matt Philbin and Rob Nelson.
The buzz Jack and his team created also gained the attention of two sponsors who believe in the cause as much as Mackenroth. Martone Cycling Co. donated two bikes to the ride. One, which Jack used to incentivize donors to give larger donations, and one that was used as an incentive for other riders to push past the $5,000 mark. The popular dating app, Scruff also jumped in with a $2,500 donation and the purchase of team jerseys for the entire team.
“As an HIV positive man this cause is very important to me so I worked really hard to be innovative and persistent”, says Mackenroth. I didn’t reach my goal of $50,000 dollars but honestly I didn’t think I would even come close. And people can still donate here bit.ly/jackmack and of course there is always next year.”
Mackenroth hopes that by setting the fundraising record that it will draw media attention to BRAKING AIDS Ride and Housing Works whose mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy and the provision of lifesaving services. It will also inspire and challenge others to dream beyond their “realistic” goals and step outside of their comfort zones.
Mackenroth concludes, “The Braking AIDS Ride was life changing in so many ways. As you can see from the photos we had a blast and I made friends that I will have for life. You create amazing bonds with people when you conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges together. The ride was only 13 days ago and I could barely walk for two days but I can’t wait to do it again. I encourage EVERYONE to sign up for next year at BrakingAIDSride.org You will save lives and change your own!”
You can follow Jack on Twitter and Instagram @jackmackenroth. Click icons below.
For more information about BRAKING AIDS® Ride, contact:
Eric Epstein, Ride Director
For more information about Housing Works contact:
Andrew S. Greene
SVP for Development and Marketing
212-966-0466 x1134 (Soho)