Toronto | June 24, 2020: Leading global men’s health charity Movember has partnered with The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) to launch a new project aimed at tackling social isolation and poor mental health within the global motorcycle community. The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge has been developed with a goal of identifying initiatives from around the globe – including Canada – that demonstrate promise for improving the social connectedness, life satisfaction and mental wellbeing of motorcycle riders.
Motorcycle riding is inherently isolating. Many men who may be experiencing mental health challenges might not ride to talk; instead they jump on their motorcycles as a means of escaping problems or to avoid any chance at forced vulnerability. However, motorcycle riding is community-based at its core – meaning the possibilities for communication and the ability to develop strong bonds with fellow riders is immense. Recognizing this and seeing an opportunity to ‘meet men where they are’, Movember and DGR are looking to identify and fund initiatives that will help motorcycle-loving men better understand the importance behind opening up, encouraging and showing motorcycles how to stay socially connected while continuing to enjoy the escapism that defines motorcycle riding.
The new funding opportunity will leverage money raised by The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride community to create a pool of AUD 1.15million ($1.07million CAD) to support projects working with men in motorcycling. Recognizing the camaraderie that already exists among motorcycle riders, the Challenge aims to improve the quality of social connections between motorcyclists, improving the chances of those men being satisfied with their relationships and social connection, thus resulting in strong mental health fitness and wellbeing generally.
Movember and DGR are proud to challenge the creative and forward-thinking people of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and the US to think outside the box and deliver innovative concepts which will lead to game-changing solutions targeting social connectedness, life satisfaction and mental wellbeing of motorcycle riders.
“Movember is excited about finding new ways to help men create stronger connections. We know that getting involved in hobbies or shared interests can really help strengthen our sense of belonging and build a strong foundation of support when we experience life’s challenges,” says Brendan Maher, Movember’s Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. “Funds raised from The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride have enabled this opportunity, and it’s great to be able to give back to make what we hope is a lasting impact on motorcycling communities.”
Mark Hawwa, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Founder is thrilled to see funds raised by the motorcycle community going back into programs designed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of riders. “The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride began to help build positive connections between riders and their health. Since 2013, our community has tirelessly fundraised to make a positive impact on men’s health programs and awareness,” he says, adding “Along with Movember, we are recognizing that men in motorcycling are unique, so we are taking the ‘going to where men are’ approach to nurture and grow more accessible and engaging programs targeted to men in motorcycling. We are proud to announce The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge to fund new programs that will give back to our riders using funds they have raised to make a difference to them.”
The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge will operate in two phases. Phase 1 will see a maximum of 25 development grants, valued at up to AUD $7,500 ($6,700 CAD), awarded internationally. These grants will enable applicants to ideate, pitch and develop their idea. Phase 2 will see a maximum of 10 pilot project grants, valued at up to AUD $75,000 ($67,350 CAD), allocated to selected initiatives. These grants will enable the most promising initiatives to be delivered in pilot format. The initiative will focus primarily on middle-aged men who ride motorcycles and are dealing with key life challenges, and young riders in need of mentorship.
The deadline to submit “Inspiration Statements” is July 6, 2020 with invitations to formally pitch coming the week of July 20th, 2020. The earliest project start date will be April 15, 2021.
Each year, The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride raises funds for men’s health, which is then invested in research and programs by Movember. The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge is one example of how Movember invests in projects aimed at achieving better mental health outcomes and suicide prevention interventions for men and boys globally.