History of the Sonoma County Kids Gran Fondo
Race for Kids
Petaluma local and professional cyclist Steven Cozza founded the Race for Kids organization in 2009 to make a difference in the lives of children who are living with disabilities or life-threatening illnesses. The organization aimed to provide awareness and support of causes benefiting these children through its philanthropic activities, fundraising efforts, website, and social media. Steven’s motto while racing and to children was to “Never Give up!” no matter what obstacle they faced.
When Steven became an elite professional cyclist, racing internationally, he decided he wanted to help disadvantaged children throughout the world. With this intention, he and his father Scott came up with the program called the Race for Kids Fan Club. In 2009, Steven began raising money by rallying his fans to make donations that would help children in need by asking them to donate to a list of selected charities identified on his website. The money raised by fans went directly to charities around the world that helped disadvantaged children.
Many fans donated funds directly to Race for Kids – that money collected went to pre-selected children suffering from life threatening illnesses. In 2010, Race for Kids raised $800 for the organization Families of SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) in the name of young Aaron Phelps. In 2011, Race for Kids received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, shortly before Steven was forced to retire from cycling when he was diagnosed with colitis. In 2012, Race for Kids raised $1,058.58 for 2 year old Brody Tatman, who was diagnosed that January with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Driven by his undying passion to help others, Steven retired from cycling and dreamed up an event he and his nurturing Petaluma community would eventually call the Petaluma Kids Gran Fondo (PKGF). This event would give Race for Kids new life and inspiration as an organization to again help make a difference in the lives of children that were disadvantaged suffering from chronic or life threatening illnesses – and the inaugural event would come to life in 2013 in the town where he was born and raised. Race for Kids raised $15,000 in 2013, $24,000 in 2014, $43,000 in 2015, and $42,000 in 2016 from the Petaluma Kids Gran Fondo event and Race for Kids Supporters Night Out.
As years passed and the event grew, it was clear that the impact of the Kids Gran Fondo went well beyond the community of Petaluma, so it became the Sonoma County Kids Gran Fondo, in the spirit of inclusivity for all.
Petaluma Active 20-30 #30
From the first race in 2013, members of Petaluma Active 20-30 have been proud supporters of the Kids Gran Fondo, volunteering for set-up, serving as course marshals, carnival attendants, and lunch crew! This year, we are proud to be hosting the 7th Annual SCKGF, as a continuation of our mission to help disadvantage children in our community.