Ride to Zero began in 2015 with a modest goal—to raise a few thousand dollars for a local veteran's suicide prevention treatment program. Eight years, and many success stories later...
WHO WE ARE
Ride to Zero is a grassroots endeavor to put an end to the epidemic of veteran suicide. Since 2015, our all-volunteer staff has worked tirelessly to raise funds from generous individuals and businesses in our community. 100% of the proceeds are donated to programs that include community outreach, therapeutic recreation programs, and mental health research and treatment for veterans and their families. As veterans, veteran spouses, and concerned citizens, those of us who volunteer refuse to stand by while we have the ability to help put an end to this epidemic.
Ride to Zero began in 2015 when members of a veteran’s motorcycle organization decided to take action against the crisis of veteran suicide. The initial goal was modest: to raise a few thousand dollars, through a standard charity motorcycle ride, to donate to local researchers at the National Center for Veteran's Studies at the University of Utah. In its inaugural year, Ride to Zero out-performed all expectations, both in the amount of dollars raised and attendance. This trend continued over the following years, necesitating the formation of a stand-alone organization.
Currently Ride to Zero is its own fully recognized 501(c)(3) with a board and volunteer staff comprised of members from various riding organizations. Though it was started as a ride put on by one singular riding organization, it is now considered a non-denominational ride where all riding groups are wecome to volunteer and participate.
Due to the important cause, as well as the positive "celebration of a life worth living" atmosphere, the annual Ride to Zero event is often hailed as the must attend ride of the year. It has attracted more than 1,000 riders from multiple states, communities, and organizations over the last four years, with ridership and participation continuing to grow.
As visibility has expanded, funding and interest have been received from organizations looking beyond the annual ride. The board of directors is excited to explore additional opportunities to further the mission.
Donations from Ride to Zero (2015-2020) were used to help fund the following:
•A needs assessment survey to identify the most important risk factors for suicide and other mental health issues among National Guard and Reserve personnel and their families in both Utah and Idaho. Prior to this, no one had really assessed the needs of family members to see how spouses might be influencing/impacting each other’s health and well-being.
•Treatment for veterans through the R&R program. R&R is the National Center for Veteran Studies (now known as The Suicide and Trauma Reduction Initiative for Veterans-STRIVE) most innovate program, offering a two week PTSD treatment for veterans from across the US. The program is free of charge for military personnel with PTSD and their families.
•A statewide peer support program for the Utah Army National Guard that was rolled out in January 2016. The peer support program, called Utah Comrades, was one component of a larger program called VETS-Utah. As a part of this rollout, NCVS conducted a statewide needs assessment survey of National Guard and Reserve personnel, which helped to identify the greatest needs of reserve component personnel in Utah, and which factors are most strongly associated with suicide risk.
Donations from Ride to Zero (2021-Forward) will be used for the following:
•Treatment for veterans through The Suicide and Trauma Reduction Initiative for Veterans (STRIVE) through on-site and telehealth programs.
•Exploration of funding additional local mental-health treatment programs.
•Campaigns to provide mental-health and sucide prevention resource to the veteran community.
•Development of a therapeutic motorcycle riding retreat program with clinician support