COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 13, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rockbridge is proving that small companies can bring mighty fundraising results to national events.
Rockbridge is named today as the fourth-largest fundraising team in the sixth-annual Pelotonia – the largest single-event cycling fundraiser in the U.S. Founded in 2008, Pelotonia was established with one goal, to cure cancer. Pelotonia will announce that they raised more than $20 million in funds raised in 2014 alone through efforts of 7,000 riders.
Making a difference in the community has been in the Rockbridge DNA for more than 20 years, but with just over 60 employees, Rockbridge CEO and President Jim Merkel faced a challenge to be one of the top fundraising teams for Pelotonia. In spite of competing with many of the largest companies in Columbus, OH, many with thousands of employees, Rockbridge was one of the top five fundraisers in 2014, raising more than $350,000 for life-saving cancer research.
"Almost every family I know has some connection to a loved one with a cancer diagnosis or undergoing treatment," said Rockbridge President and CEO Jim Merkel. "I knew we had to get involved on a bigger scale and use our strengths for the cause."
Merkel wanted to uncover a way to expand financial impact and team size – since the firm's size placed limitations on Rockbridge fundraising. "We had two issues to solve in expanding our role in Pelotonia," Merkel explained. "First, everyone in Columbus is asking the same circle of influencers for donations, so how could we reach people outside of Columbus to step up financially? Second, how do we get people outside of Columbus to ride and experience Pelotonia with us?"
To solve both challenges, Merkel created Rock the Road, a hospitality industry conference scheduled the day before Pelotonia. He directed all proceeds from the conference to Pelotonia, and invited conference attendees to join the Rockbridge team and ride in the event. Over the last three years, Rockbridge's leadership team has introduced the cause to key industry players who share the urgency of cancer's impact with their own workforce and want to do more.
"It's truly a David and Goliath story, when you look at the size of the organizations in the Pelotonia top five," Merkel said. "Our vision is to take the Rockbridge Peloton to a $1 million team over the next four years and I have full confidence that we have the creativity and dynamic industry partners needed to make that level of impact on the fight against cancer."
Rockbridge is proof that strong strategy and innovative, creative thinking can make companies of all sizes powerful among corporate giants.
With government cancer research funding flat in recent years, despite the fact that one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in his or her lifetime, Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Michael Caligiuri recognized the need to expand current funding and created Pelotonia, which has now raised more than $81 million for cancer research. Pelotonia named Doug Ulman, former Livestrong CEO, as its new president & CEO in September. www.pelotonia.org
Rockbridge is a private equity firm that invests in hotels. Over the past 20+ years, it has made more than 333 debt and equity hotel investments in 44 states in transactions worth more than $5 billion. Through its deep, in-house experience and strong foundation of industry relationships, Rockbridge has delivered a track record of attractive risk-adjusted returns across multiple cycles and is well positioned as a leading investor in hospitality. www.rockbridgecapital.com
CONTACT: ERIN VOGT/CHELSEA MOORE THE ZIMMERMAN AGENCY 850.668.2222 CMOORE@ZIMMERMAN.COM