Ride 4 Freedom: A Unique Fundraiser

Erin Whalen

Contributing Writer

A University of Dayton professor is teaching his students a unique lesson on philanthropy by creating a fundraiser that features a 600-plus mile bike ride from Cincinnati, Ohio to Montgomery, Alabama from June 2-9.

Sports management professor Peter Titlebaum, retired UD technology staffer Dwight Matlock and the Vice President of Frutarom Moshe Bargil will embark on the ride starting at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and ending at the Freedom Ride Museum. The money generated from the Ride 4 Freedom Legacy Tour will benefit both museums and create a scholarship for a senior who develops a community project that creates a lasting impact on the Dayton community.

The goal for the fundraiser is to generate $100,000 before the tour begins, and their Facebook page updates their weekly progress of that goal. Individuals can make direct donations or purchase Legacy Tour t-shirts online at the fundraiser’s website ride4freedomtour.com.

Titlebaum said the crew will make numerous stops during the tour at Boys and Girls Clubs of America facilities to educate the youth on the meaning of legacy, and how they can begin to build their own through an interactive discussion. He said the goal of these conversations is to say that no one should be satisfied with where they are at in life and that individuals should continue to look for ways to make an impact in others lives.

“It is important to talk about legacy and how to build one at an early age,” Titlebaum said. “People only have conversations about legacy when someone dies and I want to change that.”

Matlock said that these conversations are important to start at an early age because it allows children to think about their future and how they want to lead an impactful life.

“You can leave money as a legacy, you have a family that has a legacy, but often we as individuals don’t realize the impact we might have on an institution,” Matlock said. “That is the goal of these conversations, to encourage students to start to think about what they want their living legacy to be.”

Junior Jenna Giacone is excited for the fundraiser to begin, and she has high hopes for its success.

“I have had professor Titlebaum for several of my classes and it doesn’t surprise me that he has decided to tackle such a large fundraiser,” Giacone said.  “He encourages us throughout the semester to consider the ways in which we are building our living legacy so it is nice to see him put his words into action. I have no doubt that it will be a success.”

The fundraiser focuses on legacy, which is a shared theme among both museums. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio is a museum rooted in the personal stories of the Underground Railroad, and it educates individuals on the true meaning of freedom through their exhibits.

The Freedom Ride Museum is a rehabilitated historic Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, Alabama that uses words and illustrations from Freedom Riders who were civil rights activists. The museum shows how the Freedom Riders challenged the non-enforced law that segregation on interstate buses was unconstitutional.

Both museums use history to show individuals America’s past and how others have tried to make a difference throughout their lives.

“The ride acts as a symbolic gesture emphasizing the importance of the two museums so future generations can learn from the past,” Titlebaum said. “It is important for us to share that everybody has a chance to create their own legacy”.

Titlebaum has a history in successful philanthropy events and his students have helped him raise over $250,000 in 13 years for three different causes. Giving back is important for him and it is something he is passionate about.

“I’m not a poster child, I am just another person trying to get ahead and giving back is important to me. Raising money for people that will benefit from the experience and inspiring others to look at legacy differently is a win for me,” Titlebaum said.

To find more information about the Ride 4 Freedom Legacy Tour or to donate visit www.ride4freedomtour.com.

Photo from the Ride 4 Freedom Tour Facebook page.

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