Tom Palizzi Brings Out the Power of People

CO Gives - Davis Phinney Foundation

Nine years ago, Colorado Gives Day was brand new—just a cool idea to highlight and magnify the work our local nonprofits do each year. Then, generous people stepped in, and that idea began to spread in extraordinary ways.

Today, on #ColoradoGivesDay, people from Colorado will give their time, money and voices to support the organizations they love, including the Davis Phinney Foundation.

So, in honor of this local day of giving, we’d like to say a huge thank you to one of our most generous Colorado Ambassadors Tom Palizzi. Last June, Tom, an avid cyclist and Parkinson’s advocate, put on a cycling event to benefit the Foundation. Tour de Victory rode through the streets of Boulder en mass and made a big impact.

After giving Tom a few months to reflect on the ride, we caught up with him to see if there’ll be another in 2020. Spoiler alert, YES! Mark your calendar for May 30, 2020.

Why was doing this event for the Parkinson’s community so important to you?

Giving back to the community has always been important to me—both personally and professionally. While people help out in a variety of ways, to me, fundraising is essential to the viability of an organization and its ability to support its constituents. As a person with Parkinson’s, I know I’ve drawn on the support provided by nonprofit organizations, especially the Davis Phinney Foundation. In hosting the Tour de Victory, we not only exceeded our fundraising expectations, but we did so with a fun day of cycling and a great party afterward!  

How did this event empower others?

I’ve always been awestruck by the power of people and the straight-up amazing things we can do. The week leading up to the day of the ride, we had about 35 people registered and $10,000 in donations. I was happy with that. Our sponsors helped cover the costs; so, we were in the positive for the foundation. But by Friday, things had really taken off!  

We had surged to nearly 90 registered and $40,000. Saturday blew us all away as people showed up from all over! The place was filled with so much energy and excitement. You could feel it!  When that happens, people reach a whole other level of commitment and generosity. Our 189 registrants donated nearly $60,000! 

But, the true power of people is when we go out of our way to help each other. We had a person with Parkinson’s join us on the ride on his single speed, steel tube trike—a full-on, conventional, upright tricycle with a basket on the back, angle handlebars and streamers on the handgrips. It was the best. He rode that trike the entire 50k; however, on the Triple B hills, he met his match.  Struggling up those three false summits, riders put down their bikes and pushed him while others reached out and literally pulled him on his trike up the hills!  

I’ll never forget how he was mobbed by the crowd that gathered to greet and congratulate him!  He was so overwhelmed by the experience, he laughed and sobbed tears of joy as did most everyone there.  

The energy of this event went on even after the ride. We’ve continued to receive donations from people that somehow heard about the Tour de Victory adding nearly $10,000 more! I can’t wait for 2020!

It’s people like Tom who make our work so meaningful. And make it possible for us to offer the free events, resources, webinars and programs that we do. 

If you’d like to help us bring even more great resources to people with Parkinson’s in 2020, please consider giving on Colorado Gives Day today.

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