Pan-Mass Challenge Welcomes New Chairman, Members to the Board of Directors

32-Year Rider Robert Smith Takes the Reigns as Organization Sets Sights on $52 Million Goal 

NEEDHAM, Mass. (April 24, 2018) – The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is excited to announce that Robert A. Smith, co-founder and managing partner of local private equity firm Castanea Partners, 32-year PMC rider and long-time board member, has been elected the new chairman of the organization’s board of directors. Smith is replacing David Fialkow, whose three-year term as chairman was completed this month. Fialkow will remain on the board of directors and continue to contribute to the organization’s growth and achievements.  

During David Fialkow’s tenure, the PMC grew exponentially, increasing its yearly donation to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute from $41 million in 2014 to a record-setting $51 million in 2017. Fialkow has rode in the PMC for more than 30 years and plans to continue being an active and impactful participant as both a rider and board member following his time as chairman, saying “It was an absolute honor to lead the Pan-Mass Challenge’s board of directors the past three years – together, we accomplished the unthinkable, taking our fundraising to dizzying heights moving our annual gift from $41 million in 2014 to $51 million in 2017. I look forward to continued success under Rob’s leadership and am confident both the board and organization are in excellent hands as we approach this year’s ride.” 

PMC founder and executive director Billy Starr is also looking forward to the future, saying “David was an excellent chairman, and we are so thankful for his dedication and grateful that he will continue to play an integral role in our organization moving forward. While David leaves great shoes to fill, I am inspired by Robert’s palpable passion for our cause and his pedigree as a long-time rider and board member. On behalf of the Pan-Mass Challenge, we welcome Robert and are eager to see where his leadership will take us in the years to come.” 

As the PMC’s new chairman of the board, Smith has his sights set on building momentum following last year’s successful fundraising campaign. “As a rider in the Pan-Mass Challenge for more than 30 years, and as a board member since inception in 1994, it has been a privilege to serve the PMC and witness the extraordinary passion it generates, the community it has built and the beauty and effectiveness of its engaged fundraising model.  It is a mission-driven organization like no other. My sincere desire as incoming chair is to continue to build on the excellence of our previous chairs in working with our talented board, leadership team, inspiring volunteers and of course our founder and executive director Billy Starr, in supporting the PMC's mission to eradicate cancer.” 

In addition to electing Robert as the new chairman, the board approved three new members – Judy Adler, 28-year rider, philanthropist and community activist from Coral Gables, FL, Mike Ascione, managing director, Berkshire Partners in Boston, MA, and Susan Brogan, 25-year PMC participant and director at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton, MA. 

Robert Smith will be addressing the PMC community for the first time as the new chairman at an upcoming PMC Heavy Hitter event, celebrating last year’s top fundraising contributors, on Friday, May 11 at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston. He will preside over the first board meeting to welcome new members on June 26, 2018. 

To see the full list of the PMC’s board of directors and to learn more, visit


About the Pan-Mass Challenge

The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is a bike-a-thon that today raises more money for charity than any other single athletic fundraising event in the world. The 39th PMC will take place on August 4 and 5, 2018. The PMC was founded in 1980 by Billy Starr, who remains the event’s executive director, an annual cyclist, and a fundraiser. The PMC has since raised $598 million for adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. The event donates 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the cause. The PMC generates more than 53 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue and is Dana-Farber’s single largest contributor. The PMC has successfully melded support from committed cyclists, volunteers, corporate sponsors and individual contributors. All are essential to the PMC's goal and model: to attain maximum fundraising efficiency while increasing its annual gift. The PMC’s hope and aspiration is to provide Dana-Farber's doctors and researchers with the necessary resources to discover cures for all cancers. For more information on the Pan-Mass Challenge, log onto