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Ride for Refuge rolls out

June 28, 2021

By Janice Biehn

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Since 2014, PWRDF has participated in the Ride for Refuge, a cross-country fundraising campaign organized by Blue Sea Philanthropy. As the name suggests, it began as a cycling event, though later added walking, running or just about any kind of travel you could imagine.

But last year, COVID-19 forced the Ride organizers to make a left turn. Ride Freestyle was born, and it encouraged people to participate in pretty much any activity they wanted. Hymn singing, reading Agatha Christie novels, crocheting baby blankets, hiking to the peak of Gros Morne Mountain, kayaking multiple rivers, and yes, cycling are just a few of the ways our supporters challenged themselves last year.

And it paid off. PWRDF had its best year ever, raising more than $42,000 for St. Jude Family Projects in Uganda. Last year there were 135 charities participating and PWRDF finished in the number 8 spot in terms of funds raised, said Jen Taylor at the June 3 launch webinar. “Last year 94% of your participants fundraised which is phenomenal. The national average [for the Ride] was 87%, and the average peer to peer event has about 60% of people fundraising, so the fact that your event has 94% of your participants fundraising just speaks to the commitment of your participants and their desire to really help your campaign to grow.”

Taylor also noted that the average dollar raised per Ride for Refuge participant was $509, “but your average participant raised $762 last year, that is unheard of. … I just want to say what a privilege it is for Blue Sea to have PWRDF as one of our partners. You really are phenomenal and I’m excited to see what another year will do for you.”

This year funds are being raised for the Light for Every Birth project in Mozambique. This ambitious project will bring clean solar power to 50 remote health clinics with the installation of a solar suitcase. The bright yellow cases are mounted to the clinic wall and then connected to a solar panel on the roof. The suitcases can power up portable lights, head lamps, a fetal Doppler and even charge cell phones. Women can give birth at night safely. In 2016, PWRDF installed 30 solar suitcases in remote health clinics and the improved health outcomes for women giving birth during the night are impressive. More than 80,000 women have given birth in the health clinics since 2016, with some clinics reporting as much as 17.5 times as many night-time births. A safe birth experience sets families on the best path for post-natal check-ups, family planning and disease prevention.

Our fundraising target for this year will open at $40,000 and we already have two high profile participants lined up. Archbishop Linda Nicholls will reprise her online hymn sing on August 25 and September 8. Last year Primate Linda crescendoed past her fundraising goal to bring in $3,450. PWRDF Volunteer Coordinator Kim Umbach, a decorated paralympian, last year ran 150 km over the course of the summer. This year she’s stepped it up to run the Boston Marathon, which this year is opening up to online participants.

Click here to view the We Care Solar webinar.

“We’re really excited to be participating again in this fundraiser,” says Carolyn Cummins, Director of Fundraising and Supporter Relations for PWRDF. “It’s such a great way for our committed supporters to share about PWRDF partners and their work.”

To register as a Ride for Refuge participant, visit