May 13, 2011 at 01:12 PM
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Pro Cycling Event Donates Presenting Sponsorship To Charity

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge today announced the donation of the competition's presenting sponsorship to Millennium Promise, a leading international non-profit organization solely committed to helping end extreme poverty. By changing its name to "USA Pro Cycling Challenge for Millennium Promise," both parties hope to introduce Millennium Promise to millions of fans following the event through live television coverage on NBC, VERSUS and online.

In addition to the sponsorship donation, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (UPCC) and Millennium Promise also announced the official launch of a "Spokes of Change." Using the tagline "If we move faster, we win," Spokes of Change seeks to equip mobile health workers in Africa with bicycles, cell phones, medicines, and other necessary supplies to deliver basic medical care to young children and mothers in rural locations. Spokes of Change will be promoted at race-related events and through public service advertisements.

Many other events have introduced charity sponsorship recently including FC Barcelona's shirt deal with UNICEF and Sporting Kansas City's naming rights partnership with Livestrong, but event officials at the Pro Cycling Challenge say this is the first time that a pro sporting event in the U.S. has given presenting sponsorship to charity.

"We are proud to be the first professional sporting event in the United States to name a charity as a presenting sponsor," said Shawn Hunter, co-chairman of the UPCC. "There are millions of bikes out there, creating a lot of energy. We want to use the USA Pro Cycling Challenge as a resource to harness some of that energy and make it work for Millennium Promise."

"To break the mold by having a charitable component tied into the race in some capacity has been a goal of ours for some time," said UPCC co-owner Rick Schaden. "The global magnitude and scope of the platform that the USA Pro Cycling Challenge provides gives the charity a means to generate mass awareness to an audience that might not otherwise be reached. We are proud to share this platform with such a noble cause and look forward to the continued development of our relationship and the positive impact we can have as we move forward."

To begin the initiative, Schaden has donated the value of 1,000 bicycles to Millennium Promise through the Spokes of Change campaign.

"A properly equipped community health worker delivers critical live-saving services at extremely low cost to several hundred people at a time in the poorest communities around the world," said John W. McArthur, chief executive officer of Millennium Promise. "Bicycles, mobile phones, medicines, and training are all essential underpinnings of success, so we are incredibly grateful to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and Rick Schaden for their efforts to promote such practical breakthroughs across the cycling community."