How We Work

Climate Ride, founded in 2008, inspires and empowers people to work toward a sustainable future. Climate Ride unites advocacy and philanthropy. We use sport as a means to change lives and build an effective, citizen-based sustainability movement.

Climate Ride organizes multi-day bike rides and hikes which serve to engage new stakeholders and strengthen advocacy for the environment. Climate Ride supports participants to reach out to thousands of people and to raise funds for Climate Ride. Participants get to select the projects and organizations, working on climate change, clean energy, active transportation, sustainable infrastructure, and public health, that will receive grants through the Climate Ride grants program.

Climate Ride 2008 NYC-DC Cycling Event - the first Climate Ride
Cyclists on the first Climate Ride NYC-DC in 2008


In 2008 Climate Ride began as a bike ride from New York City to Washington DC. From that first event, we’ve grown to organize dozens of philanthropic events around the world that merge environmental education, advocacy, and grantmaking attracting more than 3,000 participants. Climate Ride has given 519 grants totaling nearly $5 million to sustainability, conservation, and bike advocacy efforts at a local and national level.  Climate Riders have pedaled over 800,000 miles and Climate Hikers have hiked over 6,000 miles for the Climate Ride cause.

Glacier Riders arrive at Many Glacier in Glacier National Park
Glacier Riders arrive at Many Glacier in Glacier National Park

Financial Information

Financial prudence is a top priority at Climate Ride and we take great care of donors’ contributions. On average, the total of all Climate Riders’ fundraising that goes directly to non-profit grants and advocacy is 70%. Approximately 55% goes to our beneficiary grants program and 15% goes to support Climate Ride. Climate Ride is a 501(c)3 with programs that include awareness-raising campaigns, beneficiary support, participant support, Congressional visits, advocacy, grants management, and more. This ratio is far better than the average of other successful nonprofit organizations.

The approximately 30% that remains supports the event programming. This includes all the hard costs that go into creating the immersive, fully-supported Climate Ride events which inspire and motivate advocates around the world.

As you raise more than the fundraising minimum for your event, a larger percentage of your total funds raised goes toward the Climate Ride grants program.

Participants register for a Climate Ride event and get to select the beneficiaries they wish to support through our grants program. We calculate our beneficiaries’ grants based on each participant’s individual fundraising. The percentage of dollars going to the Climate Ride beneficiary grant program increases as you raise more. After we have covered the hard costs of your participation, 80% of every dollar raised goes directly to the end-of-year grant of the beneficiary you selected and 20% goes to support Climate Ride.

Some participants choose to make a self-pledge (a donation to one’s own fundraising goal) so that even more of their donors’ dollars go directly to supporting Climate Ride and our beneficiary grants program.

Our Goals For Making Fundraising Accessible

Our goal is to make Climate Ride events accessible for all people, so we can engage as many people as possible in the cause while allowing us to deliver impressive grants to our beneficiaries. To that end, we purposely keep the fundraising minimum lower than comparable events. Additionally, we work to help participants fundraise as much as they can, by developing tools and offering individualized support, in order to increase the amount that goes to the grants program. By raising more than the fundraising minimum, you can increase the percentage of your total fundraising going to the end-of-year grant of your selected beneficiary.

Climate Ride Midwest - Cyclist arrive at Chicago Finale
Climate Ride Midwest at Chicago Finale

Why Fundraising for Climate Ride Matters

At Climate Ride, we are building a movement, a community, and encouraging healthy, sustainable living through our immersive multi-day events and personal challenges. Climate Ride events empower participants to actively engage in the fight against climate change by completing multi-day cycling and hiking events to fundraise for and raise awareness of the climate issues and organizations they value most. On average, every participant reaches out to 200+ people with their passion for the Climate Ride cause while fundraising!

Immersive outdoor experiences and personal challenges are powerful tools to ignite activism on climate policy, raise critical funds, and influence public opinion. This is what our organization is after!

As part of this effort, our rides and hikes generate impressive grants for 125+ non-profit organizations each year. It’s important to note that our beneficiaries do not have to expend any resources to be part of Climate Ride. We take on all of the costs, months of planning, and risk of running these events, and then our beneficiary partners can simply benefit from our programming and use the funds to further their missions.

We’re a bit different than most other charitable events. Most charitable rides and walks are put on for health- and disease-related causes and are run by very large national organizations with significant corporate underwriting. We constantly seek funding and sponsorships from socially responsible organizations to help support the cost to produce our events, but to ensure that our voice represents the values of our community, Climate Ride relies mainly on small donations from individuals to operate.

In addition, there is no one, single environmental or active transportation advocacy group that dominates our cause. Overall, less than 3% of charitable giving in the U.S. even goes to environmental efforts! Climate Ride was designed to give participants the opportunity to support a variety of organizations that they are passionate about that are operating on both a local and national level. By joining together on Climate Ride, we can give powerfully to environmental efforts.

You can get the full picture of Climate Ride’s programs and accomplishments by reviewing our Annual Reports. You can also visit our Grants Program page to see the grants we’ve distributed over the years. As of the close of 2017, we have delivered more than $4.5 million in grants to beneficiaries with our small, but mighty staff of 5 people.