Thoughts about Pallotta

AIDS ride: Thoughts about Pallotta

As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own. -Margaret Mead, anthropologist (1901-1978)

We can do it togetherBe the People I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence: / Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference. -Robert Frost, poet (1874-1963)
Ride to your
heart's content

Thoughts about Pallotta

by Bill cLaughlin, Greg Avila, Brad, Chris, and Greg again

   Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2002 23:09:42 -0500
   From: "William A. McLaughlin" 
Subject: Pallotta is history ...

Dear friends:

It looks like it's the end of Pallotta, and the end of the AIDS Rides 
and Breast Cancer 3-Day Walks ... see:

It's sad, but I'm very grateful for what they did manage to do.  I 
believe that the rides and the walks really did open up a lot of people's 
eyes to  two serious issues.  They 
also empowered a lot of people - those that thought (or their friends 
thought) that they were just a wee bit loco thinking that they could 
really ride 500 miles or walk for 
three days straight.  But, in the end, they did, and became stronger 
though the experience

When I signed up for my first AIDS ride, I had learned to ride (maybe) 
a year and a half earlier.  Did I have a lot to learn!  I remember my 
first training ride.  It was still cold, 
we rode up to Norris on Northwestern's campus, and back.  All of maybe 
10 miles?  I was beat.  I remember coming home, firing up the rice 
cooker, and making a big 
feed to replace all of those calories I burned (!!! ). Had to take a 
nap, too!  That was in 1999, and it seems like such a long time 
ago now.  It's certainly 
two more AIDS Rides and many thousands of bike miles ago!

Remember that in the earlier years Pallotta did collect a fair amount 
of change for the causes.  Got a lot of people walking and riding again.  
Got me on the bike, too ...

Bill McLaughlin
Twin Cities - Wisconsin - Chicago  AIDS Ride '99, '00
Heartland AIDS Ride '01
Training ride leader '00 & '01

 "Greg Avila" 
Date: Tue Aug 27, 2002 2:06am 
Subject: RE: [AIDSRider-Forum] the end of the road for PTW 


After going back and reading the news from today, and all of the 
posts on the different lists I fully agree that this is sad news to 
that Pallotta TeamWorks is closing its doors and facing 

I am saddened by the fact that the critics, often those benefiting 
from the
money, and all of the associated negative press have essentially 
killed a
set of events (Breast Cancer Walks and AIDSRides/Vaccine 
Rides) that have
provided over $200 million dollars in charitable contributions 
directly to
the beneficiaries since 1994.  I am further saddened by the fact 
that with
the absence of these events a huge hole now exists and the 
people that will
ultimately be affected by the loss of this money will not be the 
of PTW or the corporation itself (yes the company may cease to 
exist and the
employees have lost their jobs)  - but the people who are living 
HIV/AIDS or Breast Cancer and, even worse, those who are 
dying of these
diseases daily.

Although the media chooses to focus on PTW, I think we need to 
change that
focus.  Forget about PTW!  The company is not the point, NOR 
POINT!  That is not why I rode, and that is not why any of the 
people I know
rode either.  We rode and walked in the events because people 
are dying!
People were dying, money was needed, and our participation 
was a way to make
a difference.  That is why we took part in the events.  That is why 
events existed.

Being part of three AIDSRides in the last two years has opened 
my eyes to a
new world around me.  A world filled with hope, a world filled 
compassion and support, and a world filled with ordinary 
individuals who
care for the people around them.  I have met strangers who I 
would do
anything for, and who would do the same for me.  I have seen 
people's lives changed because they struggled and overcame 
their personal
doubts and fears, and completed the ride.

I fully believe that everyone who has been involved in these 
events over the
years has made a HUGE difference in people's lives - not just 
through money
raised but through their personal actions.  Every rider, every crew 
every volunteer, and all of the PTW staff deserve to be called 
heroes.  Each
of them sacrificed of themselves to train, to raise money and 
awareness, to
educate, and to support those around them while conquering 
personal doubts
and those that are expressed by the public and mainstream 
media.  Each of
them have shown what it means to be "HumanKind" or to turn 
the "Impossible"
into "I'mPossible".

So I too would like to echo the exact same sentiments as said by 
Hopkins in the e-mail below:

"I would like say publicly to all the staff at Pallotta TeamWorks, 
especially those who have worked in Chicago and Minneapolis: 
Thank you for making it possible for the Heartland riders to raise 
million for AIDS-related charities during HAR's remarkable 
seven year run.
Thank you for your personal commitment and dedication, which 
was clearly
above and beyond the call of duty for "just a job and a paycheck."  
You have
made a difference in thousands of peoples lives, and have 
helped shape a new
vision of the world we would all like to live in.  Good luck and 
best wishes
for continued success in your future."

I would also like to leave everyone by restating a fact that we saw 
this year's events... 8,500 people from around the world died of 
AIDS today,
and another 8,500 will die tomorrow, and another 8,500 people 
the day after

That's right... 8,500 people will die each day.  This means that 
men, women and children died during the 21 days of the 
AIDSRides this

So although today may mean an end for the current existence of 
AIDSRides, Vaccine Rides, and Pallotta TeamWorks it does not 
mean that the
battle against AIDS is finished.  There is still work left to be done!  
as long as men, women, and children are dying there remains 
pedaling to be

I hope to see all of you out there on the road as we figure out 
what is
next, and make our futures a world that we want to live in.


Greg Avila

2002 Heartland AIDSRider # 1169
2002 California AIDSRider # 1042
2001 Heartland AIDSRider # 1261
Captain Team Canticle (
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their
dreams. --Eleanor Roosevelt
"The fool is the one who dares not to dream..." -- Greg Avila

   Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2002 12:04:45 EDT
Subject: Dollars raised

Hey everyone...Im writing a few emails today.  Sorry you have not heard 
me, but Ive been visiting my parents in Kansas for the last few weeks 
replacing the clutch in my car in dad's garage, under his watchful 

With the shutdown of PTW, I dont have access to the computer system 
would tell us exactly how much we raised in 2002.  Before I left town, 
I did 
a quick run on the numbers...that was a week after the Heartland Ride.  
numbers I have (rough,) rounded off, assuming that everyone raised 
minimum, not including money mailed in after the cut off date or 
drops on Day 0 for people who had already made their minimum, not 
matching grants not yet processed, is...

European Riders...$268,800
Heartland RIders...$359,300

Total:   $616,100

With donation checks that bounce (not uncommon) and matching grants 
that wont 
come through for a number of reasons, and riders listed on the team 
didnt show, Id put this number as correct give or take $20,000.  And 
then we 
need to remember to add in people who trained with us and didnt 'join' 
team whose names I didnt have on the team list.  And people who raised 
money and then dropped out of the ride.

While we will probably never know exactly, I think we can safely say 
that the 
CBG raised 'over $600,000' in 2002.  And thats damn impressive guys.  
Congrats; and more importantly, thank you.

And now I need to write the email to the 2002 Team Captains (at Cathy 
urging) for us to get together and decided what CBG will do for next 
year and 
who the new team captains will be...

Former Fearless Leader John


   Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2002 17:46:32 -0000
   From: "hillboy2u" 
Subject: Message from Brad Ogilvie - Director of Canticle Ministries

My two cents: 

As a person working for one of the beneficiaries, as well as a person 
living with HIV who has seen first hand how the "ride" experience 
(commitment to health, a taste of what healthy community and 
compassion is really like) can be as healing as any medical 
treatment, I too am saddened at the news of Pallotta Teamworks.  
Since my first ride in 1996, I have always felt nothing but respect 
for the vision that Dan Pallotta sees for the world, and his ability 
to bring others in and share the vision.   

Because we live in such a materialistic world where we sacrifice so 
much of our spirit and soul for the almighty dollar, we sometimes 
lose sight of what I think are the really important things.  With 
that in mind, rather than thinking of the current PTW state, I look 
at that organization as a huge success.  Unlike the business world, 
those of us working for a cause, we should look to the end of the 
need for our organizations as a sign that we have done our job well.  
Pallotta Teamworks has brought thousands of people together over the 
years and said "This is the kind of community that we know can 
overcome huge obstacles, and make the world a better place for 
everyone".  As Greg said, it is now time for those of us who got the 
true spirit of the message to take it a step further.   

Having ridden much of last year's Northeast Ride with Dan Pallotta, I 
feel confident that he is already moving ahead to the next 
challenges, and we must do the same.  Thanks, Dan, and all of the 
energetic and passionate people who have worked on all the events.  
And, to all the riders, crew, volunteers, etc., I look forward to the 
future with excitement. 

Brad Ogilvie 
Canticle Ministries 

>>  Original Message

None of my sponsors have yet to be contacted as this letter 
It is now up to me to tell these good people that their money has 
been given to sponsor an event that never took place. While I do 
not expect any of these people to request a refund, I think it has 
the appearance of impropriety for them to cancel this event 
without warning. I also think that there is more than meets the 
eye. Several of the benefactors have left Pallotta. Emery, Avon 
and now is UCLA research center following suit? Who is asking 
WHY? Where is Pallotta? 
There is no mention on their website. No rebuttal, explaination - 
nothing. Some of my sponsors contributed by mail. I cannot even 
goto "My Webpage" to access the list of donors anymore.  Does 
it cost them money to let a webpage just sit there? NO. 

I know this letter will not be well received. I have posted here 
several times in the past. If I ever had anything less than rosy to 
say about Pallotta, I was never replied to. Open your minds. 
Accept that there is the POSSIBILITY that there was a problem 
here. I do not know. Do you?

If anyone has any contributions left to send. Please do what I did. 
Send them directly to the benefactors you wish to support. Do 
not mention AIDSRides, Heartland, Pallotta, or anything. Send 
the money directly. If Pallotta has any honor they will respect the 
decision. They are a for profit company. They may well be in the 
crash and burn stage. The research centers are the ones who 
need the money.

You may wish to attack me, (I doubt I will be ignored this time 
since I mentioned I have been ignored in the past) but please do 
not be blinded to the fact that there is a possibility that there is 
something wrong here. I am not suggesting that there were bad
intentions. I am not saying that the people working there were 
not good, sincere people. I am just saying open your eyes.

And I am asking...

Where is Pallotta?

Why the silence?

Why have they not contacted my sponsors as they said they 

What happened to my access to the list of sponsors?

Why have so many beneficiaries jumped ship this year?

When will we see the accounting for this year?

Why with the US-CAN ride minimum of $3500 could they not 
hold the 
event even though nearly 1200 people made their goal? 

If it cost $500 per rider to provide SAG and tents for 5 days that 
would be excessive. ($100/day!!!) 

Can anybody tell me how can they not make a profit on the 
$3000 remaining dollars (per rider) and still not "donate" a 
substantial amount?

500 * 1200 $600,000 Expenses for riders
3,000 * 1,200 3.6 MILLION DOLLARS

Where is the accountability?

Show me the money!

Bring on the flames

Response From: "hillboy2u"


The points you are raising may, or may not, be valid but they are 
certainly worth discussion. 

Could there be a problem? Maybe, perhaps even yes. Given 
everything that has happened with PTW in the last year and 
everything that is going on in today's business world it is pretty 
much human nature to immediately assume impropriety.

However, having been part of the AIDSRide Advisory board for 
PTW for the last 8 months (and having had the opportunity to 
work directly with PTW  including their President and several 
VP's) I personally would find it difficult to believe that an air of 
impropriety exists  within PTW or with the cancellation of these 
events. I may be totally wrong - it wouldn't be the first time, but I 
don't believe PTW is closing down the shop and running off with 
the beneficiaries' money. If that was what you were referring to...

So, I would like to add a differing viewpoint and some other facts 
in responding to some of your questions and statements.

Why have your donors not been contacted as was stated in the 
letter and the website to your donors been removed? 

I cannot say, and won't care to venture a guess. It does cause 
frustration with the lack of communication from PTW though.

Why have several of the large organizations split ways with 

This is a very complex question. Part of this is due to the 
negative feedback that PTW has received and continues to 
receive in the media. As a charitable organization or corporation 
sponsoring such events would you want to continue working 
with a company like PTW when the press is simply reporting that 
they are getting rich on the donor's behalf? No, probably not. 

But there is more to this than may be readily apparent.

You should also realize that PTW is not solely responsible for 
the production costs and the amounts that are finally returned to 
the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are as much responsible for 
controlling the costs of these events as PTW. In fact, they have 
the direct signature authority for all expenses for the event. 

100% of the money - YES 100% - goes directly to the 
beneficiaries! When your check is sent to the bank care of the 
AIDSRide or Vaccine ride, it goes into an account owned and 
operated by the beneficiaries. PTW does not have access to the 
money, nor can they take any of the money without the 
beneficiaries' knowledge. To get the money PTW has to be paid 
by the beneficiaries.

If you haven't realized it, PTW is simply a "contractor" proving the 
service of the event production. The BENEFICIARIES have 
contracted PTW to do this for some fixed amount and then pay 
PTW for the production costs associated with putting on the 
event PLUS PTW's production fee or "profit". So I would care to 
say that they share as much, if not more of, the blame for the 
failure of these events as PTW. 

However, do you think they are going to step up and take the 
blame? Do you think AIDSCare, Avon, Emory, etc. would want the 
negative press? Hell no, as a non-profit that could spell their 
death... similar as it is doing to PTW right now. 

So what are they doing? They are separating themselves from 
PTW as fast as they can and attempting to start their own events. 
You see it in the new Avon announced walks, in the AIDSRide 
events (CA, DC, Chicago). These organizations are taking the 
steps to keep the events happening... but as they may find out it 
isn't as easy as it looks.

Why is PTW silent?

The only thing I can tell you that in the past PTW has always 
been BAD as responding to negative publicity. In the past they 
used to try to respond to these types of claims in the press but 
when they do, their critics slam them harder. So PTW has 
developed the attitude (correctly or incorrectly) that it is better to 
say nothing. 

Rather than fight the negative publicity and feedback, they just 
took it... believing that what they were doing was correct. This 
may be part of the reason why the company in now in complete 
disarray and teetering on the brink of failure. So now, as a 
corporation they are feeling the mistakes of their actions. 
However, in shutting down and laying off... they are still trying to 
reduce costs to ensure that more money stays with the 

When will we see the accounting for this year?

A good question... and one we are all waiting to hear. But I would 
almost guarantee that the figures will not look good. But when 
they do show up, please look for the production fee or profit that 
PTW has taken on the events. In Europe and CA, the figure was 
$0. In other events, it was discounted from the initially contracted 
figures! Yes, PTW took NO PROFIT on many of these events. 
Also think hard as to why the beneficiaries didn't do more to 
control or limit the
costs associated with the ride? This is not just a PTW problem.

Why with the US-CAN ride minimum of $3500 could they not 
hold the event even though nearly 1200 people made their goal? 

Wow, all I can say is that your math is much too simplified! 
Simply saying... "If it costs $500 per rider to provide SAG and 
tents for 5 days that would be excessive. ($100/day!!!)" is not 

The costs associated with the production of these events is not 
simply SAG & tents. You need to realize that there are costs 
associated with insurance, marketing, safety (ambulance 
services), event staff's salaries, fuel, renting gear trucks, etc. Add 
all of these items up, so the costs are probably higher than you 
have even guessed. In fact, in both DC and the Heartland, that is 
the stated reason as to why the beneficiaries have split. It costs 
too much to produce these rides.

So the reason that Canada was cancelled is that, had the ride 
taken place it may have cost more than the $3.6 million figure 
that you showed being raised. If the ride were to have happened 
then NOTHING stays with the beneficiaries. Instead, the ride 
was cancelled and some money may end up staying because 
the costs were not incurred. 

Which would you choose? Personally, I would rather see the 
cancelled than have the ride burn through all of your donor's 
money and have nothing left for the beneficiaries. 

Where is the accountability?

There is accountability. I would not be surprised to see PTW end 
up out of business due to the negative (and often incorrect) 
publicity from all of this. Many, many PTW employees have been 
layed off or furloughed in the last year and will feel this, as they 
now have no job. 

And unfortunately, the beneficiaries will begin to feel it as well 
when the money from these events disappears next year. They 
will also feel this as they begin to plan their own events next 
year, and realize that it isn't as simple as it looked. So they will 
begin to feel the accountability from the other side as well.

In fact, we should all take a lesson from what has happened in 
the last year. Was the death of the AIDSRides and Vaccine 
Rides, and perhaps PTW necessary to fix things? Would it have 
been more productive to have the beneficiaries play a more 
"active" role with their contractor in managing the events costs or 
coming up witha different operating model? 

We will all see when the financial results from the new events 
are shown. 

So in closing, I can clearly say that your frustration is felt by all 
of us. We all want the money we raised to provide as much 
benefit as possible. However, I think it is also as important to 
realize that there is more out there than may have been 

Thanks for sharing your view.

Greg Avila

our cabbage kids on our way

Join the crew

     See about my participation in the Avon 3-day walk for breast cancer prevention.

     See also my 4-day walk around Nijmegen, Holland.

      There are over 300,000 Americans living with AIDS. In 1999, over 10,000 Americans died of AIDS many of them poor.   And a new generation of young people is growing up with a frightening lack of respect for the deadliness of this virus.

Noah's arc I received the following on email and thought it was appropriate:

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah's Ark...

  • One: Don't miss the boat.
  • Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
  • Three: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
  • Four: Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
  • Five: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
  • Six: Build your future on high ground.
  • Seven: For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
  • Eight: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
  • Nine: When you're stressed, float a while.
  • Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
  • Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.
  • On difficult ground, press on.         On encircled ground, devise strategies.         On death ground, fight.                     ---Sun Tsao

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