Together by the mile
The Pan-Mass Challenge, presented by the Boston Red Sox Foundation and New Balance, is the nation's original fundraising bike-a-thon, and today raises more money for charity than any other athletic fundraising event in the country. A model of fundraising efficiency, since 2007 the PMC has donated 100% of every rider-raised dollar directly to cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund.
The PMC is so well-known in cycling and fundraising circles, that each year people travel from around the world to participate. Thousands of riders and volunteers have lost loved ones to the disease, still more ride in honor of those in treatment, and over 300 PMC riders are cancer survivors. The camaraderie shared by riders, volunteers, and supporters is so strong that even the doctors at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute join their patients as teammates, riding toward a unified goal.
Since its 1980 inception, the PMC has contributed $414 million to lifesaving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. For more facts and figures, see the PMC Fact Sheet.
The 2013 Goal
On August 2nd & 3rd, 2014, 5,500 cyclists will travel one of 11 routes, logging between 25 and 190 miles over one or two days, through 46 Massachusetts cities and towns. Their collective goal is to raise more than $40 million for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund and bring the organization's 35-year fundraising total to $454 million.
The PMC is a model of efficiency for all non-profit events. The professional team is made up of nine full time and 2 part time staff; a 10-person volunteer coordinating staff; a 14-person Board of Trustees; 5,500-6,000 cyclists; 3,000 volunteers; 46 communities; 200 companies, which donate $4 million worth of merchandise and services; and more than 230,000 individuals who sponsor PMC cyclists.
The PMC Staff
- Executive Director: Billy Starr
- SVP of Operations: David Hellman
- Director of Marketing and Outreach: Bill Alfano
- Director of Provisions: Glynn Hawley
- Director of Volunteers & Kids Ride Coordinator: Sarah Mercurio
- Director of Finance and Administration: Michele Sommer
- Director of Fundraising: Alison Rush
- Fundraising Coordinator: Justine Darmanian
- Director of Sponsorship: Paul Gillespie
- Stewardship and Development Coordinator: Meredith Beaton-Starr
- Pedal Partner Program: Alex Smith
- Financial Consultant: Al Cote
- Special Events: Erica Kaitz
PMC Professional Staff
The PMC has a management team composed of six full-time and three part-time professional staff members who work year round at the PMC headquarters in Needham, Massachusetts.
Founder and Executive Director
Phone: 781-449-5300, Extension: 304
Before starting the PMC, Starr was a reporter for newspapers in Massachusetts and Colorado, worked in public relations, and was the squash coach at Babson College. He received his BA from the University of Denver in 1973, a Masters in Education from Northeastern University in 1978, an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Babson College in 1998, and an honorary degree from Bay Path College in 2008. An avid cyclist, skier, and racquet player, Starr has ridden in his own event for all 33 years. Starr lives with his wife, Meredith, and daughters, Hannah and Sophia. Starr consults on event programming throughout the country.
Director of Provisions
Phone: 781-449-5300, Extension: 309
Glynn first became involved with the PMC in 1995 and rode for 9 years prior to joining the Professional Staff in 2004. As Director of Provisions, it is Glynn's responsibility to provide riders with ample food and beverages. He also coordinates transportation for riders and their gear. Prior to joining the staff, Glynn was an operations manager for a local telecommunications company, an outdoor guide and cross country ski instructor and a security police officer in the U.S. Air Force. Glynn is a graduate of Boston College and lives in Natick with his wife and children.
Vice President of Operations
Phone: 781-449-5300, Extension: 303
David Hellman is a 23 year PMC alumnus, first riding in 1990. At that time he was living in Steamboat Springs Colorado. Over the next nine years David's career took him from Steamboat to Durango, CO and then Chicago. During his tenure in Colorado he was Director of Information Systems & Administrative Services at the Steamboat Ski Resort. He went on to become Vice President of Commercial Operations at Durango Mountain Resort in Durango Colorado. David's expertise with technology and customer service operations is evident in the way our riders and volunteers can now use the PMC website and MyPMC to manage their fundraising and logistics. David is also responsible for less technical aspects of the weekend even though he has given up direct control of Busses, Dumpsters and even, Porta-Potties to Glynn Hawley.
Director of Marketing & Outreach
Phone: 781-449-5300, Extension: 302
Bill Alfano comes to the PMC with experience in marketing, promotions, event management and social media. Bill started his marketing career in 1992 with Starter Sportswear in New Haven, CT where he was an on-field Marketing Rep. In 1997 he started his career in media as an Event Director in Phoenix for a radio station cluster. He moved back to CT to work for Clear Channel's Hartford and New Haven radio groups as a Promotion Director. He then moved to Dallas where he was the Director of Marketing for Clear Chanel Dallas. In 2006 Bill moved to Boston as the Director of Marketing for Entercom Boston, with the brands WAAF, WEEI and WRKO. During the years Bill has worked with and run many non-profit programs and fundraisers with his radio stations including The Jimmy Fund, Pan-Mass Challenge and other local charities. Bill himself is a three year PMC volunteer. Bill is originally from Northford, CT, he studied Communication at the University of Rhode Island and now resides with his wife in Charlestown, MA.
Director of Finance and Administration
Phone: 781-449-5300, Extension: 307
Michele Sommer comes to the PMC with experience in finance, business management and international relations. Michele started her career at the financial firm PwC where she rose to become a partner, working in auditing and international operations. After leaving PwC, Michele sought out a creative enterprise and founded a handbag company that would sell more than 30,000 bags online and in retailers across the country. During that time she was active in fundraising and development at her children's school. She has had a long relationship with the PMC. Her husband, Chet Geschickter, is a 16-year PMC rider and Michele has completed the ride seven times. In her PMC role, Michele will oversee the financial aspects of the PMC and work to ensure that the organization continues as a model for efficiency in the nonprofit industry. Michele, her husband and their three children live in Brookline.
Director of Volunteers and Kids Ride Coordinator
Phone: 781-449-5300, Extension: 305
Sarah first became involved with the PMC in 2007 as a member of her father's cheering squad and as a volunteer. After earning degrees in both English and Art History from Connecticut College in 2004 Sarah began her career in New York City. Previous to joining the PMC professional staff in June of 2010, Sarah worked for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art New England, and MassArt. Sarah currently resides in Boston's South End neighborhood, and when not in the office can be found skiing or hiking with her family in their home state of New Hampshire.
Director of Fundraising
Phone: 781-449-5300, Extension: 306
Alison Rush joined the PMC professional staff in March 2012. A graduate of Boston College, Alison previously worked at a private special education school in Dorchester as a middle and high school history teacher. A longtime supporter of the Jimmy Fund, Alison has been a PMC virtual rider. As the Director of Fundraising, Alison will support riders in their fundraising efforts, facilitate donor relations, oversee registration and help with event planning. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, reading, baking, and rooting for the Boston Red Sox. She lives in Jamaica Plain.
Phone: 781-449-5300, Extension: 300
A recent graduate of Sonoma State University, Justine majored in Communications with a Business minor and also played water polo during her time there. A California native, she recently relocated to the Boston area. As the Fundraising Coordinator, Justine will be helping with fundraising processes, social media, and Kids Rides. She enjoys food, reading and going to the Cape and Islands.
Director of Sponsorship
Paul Gillespie rode his first PMC in August 2001 conquering the Wellesley-Bourne route. He's ridden every year since covering the Wellesley-Provincetown route lately. As Director of Sponsorship Paul brings 25+ years of corporate sales experience to the PMC. He has forged sponsor partnerships between corporations and brands for a number of companies including MIT, Newsweek and Scientific American. For over two decades Paul has built relationships with major Boston area companies to help them maximize their brands' value through strategic sponsorships of events in New England and across the country. Paul lives in Holliston, MA with his wife Susan, his sons Sam and Ben, and his daughter Carrie. After 12 PMC rides he's thrilled to be on the inside helping develop corporate underwriting support for the organization.
Meredith Beaton Starr
Stewardship and Development Coordinator
In her 23 years with the PMC, Meredith has been involved in all aspects of the PMC, from cycling and volunteering to outreach, advocacy and development. In her current role, Meredith cultivates and enhances relationships with PMC donors, riders, volunteers, sponsors and advocates, keeping them engaged year-round in the PMC. She provides support and enables many to deepen their associations with the organization. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is a member of the Jimmy Fund Visiting Committee. Meredith has been practicing occupational therapy for more than 24 years in inpatient and outpatient settings and currently works part-time as an occupational therapist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in the Integrative Medicine Department. Meredith earned her Bachelor's of Science and Master's Degree at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jackie Herskovitz
Volunteer Head Staff
The major hub sites and key volunteer crews are run by members of the Volunteer Head Staff on PMC weekend. The Head Staff donate much time and energy to the event throughout the year and the PMC is most grateful for their many talents.
- Sue Brogan: Sturbridge Start Co-Coordinator
- Wil Carroll: Coordinator, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Bourne
- Anthony Polcari: Co-Cordinator, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Bourne
- Allan Eyden: Road Coordinator
- Shaun Keefe: Provincetown Co-Coordinator
- Susan Kagdis: Provincetown Co-Coordinator
- Jack Mowatt: Mechanical Coordinator
- Mathew McGuiness: Sturbridge Start Co-Coordinator
- Justin O'Connor: Emergency Communications Coordinator
- Jeff Rimpas: Wellesley Coordinator
- Alex Smith: Pedal Partner Program
- BJ Tynan: Medical Coordinator
Board of Trustees
Formed in 1994, the trustees have fiduciary responsibilities that include: determining the annual donation to the Jimmy Fund, salary reviews, budget reviews and vendor contracts exceeding $25,000.
- Billy Starr: Founder and Executive Director, Pan-Massachusetts Challenge
- Todd Langton, Chairman: President, Linkage Inc., Burlington, MA
- Josh Bekenstein: Managing Director, Bain Capital, Boston, MA
- Susan Brogan: Director, Continuing Education, Tufts University
- Robert D'Angelo: President, Twin Enterprises
- Caren Deardorf: Marketing Consultant
- Mike Dee: Chief Executive Officer, Miami Dolphins, Miami, FL
- Alan Einhorn: Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP, Boston, MA
- David Fialkow: Manging Director, General Catalyst, Boston, MA
- John Gilula: EVP Business Affairs, Boston Red Sox
- James Shulman: Chief Credit Officer, Boston Private Financial Holdings, Boston, MA
- Steven Singer: Senior Vice President of Communications, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
- Robert Smith: Managing Partner, Castanea Partners, Newton, MA
About the Pan-Mass Challenge's relationship with Starrting Events
The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC) is managed by Starrting Events, an event management company created by Billy Starr in 1992 as an independent business corporation. The PMC pays an annual management fee to Starrting Events for all management of the PMC event as well as the year-round rider and volunteer recruitment, training, sponsor recruitment, and administration. In 2012, the PMC paid $1.12 million to Starrting Events to manage the event. In 2012 the PMC raised $37 million for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Today, the management fee is underwritten by corporate sponsorship and not through contributions made to PMC cyclists' fundraising campaigns, thus allowing 100% of cyclists' fundraising amounts to be contributed to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The management fee covers the salaries of six full-time and three part-time Starrting Events employees, including Billy Starr. The PMC Board evaluates Starr's compensation with outside, independent compensation professionals who consider his performance and responsibilities alongside his peers in New England, and in non-profit management.
Starr founded the PMC in 1980, which he ran independently until 1994. That year, in large part because of the growth of the event, Starr formed Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, Inc., a tax exempt corporation with a Board of Directors to oversee the successful operations of the event. Starrting Events is accountable to the 14 member PMC Board of Directors.