El Tour de Tucson drops Tu Nidito as main beneficiary - Tucson News Now

El Tour de Tucson drops Tu Nidito as main beneficiary

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A big blow for a Tucson non-profit that helps children and young adults.

El Tour de Tucson is dropping Tu Nidito Children and Family Services as its primary beneficiary.

Since 1997, Tu Nidito (Your Little Nest) has been the main beneficiary of El Tour, a premiere bicycling event.

El Tour has contributed $3.7 million to the charity that provides comfort and coping skills to children and young adults and their families as they deal with sickness or the death of a loved one.

Tu Nidito does not charge for those services.

The charity says $3.7 million works out to about $217,000 a year.

That's a huge lost for any non-profit.

El Tour's contribution makes up about one-third of Tu Nidito's annual budget.

Perimeter Bicycling of America puts on El Tour de Tucson and also is a non-profit.

For both Tu Nidito and El Tour, it has become about keeping going and each finding a way to do that.

Tu Nidito still can be, what's called, a supporting beneficiary of El Tour, but the charity says that won't raise near enough money to make up for the loss.

"Our new mantra at Tu Nidito is, 'With change comes opportunity.' And we're really believing that and it's going to be okay, but we don't know how we're going to do that right now," says Tu Nidito Executive Director Liz McCusker.

From the clients to the volunteers, there is a special place in their hearts for Tu Nidito.

"I believe in what Tu Nidito does. We change the course of children's lives," says volunteer Amber Jacoby.

El Tour de Tucson is one of the biggest events in Tucson, bringing more than 8,000 cyclists from around the country and the world every year.

However, the event has struggled recently finding a primary sponsor.

So its board of directors made the decision to make a national non-profit organization, with a local presence, the main beneficiary this year.

Perimeter Bicycling Association of America puts on El Tour at an annual cost of about $1.8 million.

Perimeter's CEO, President and Founder Richard DeBernardis says it needs a beneficiary with national ties and influence in order to bring in a national level sponsor to help El Tour continue.

"If we had a national organization as a primary beneficiary, they would bring us more exposure than we could ever get because they're national. They have ties to national publications," DeBernardis says.

"They'll be bringing us national exposure, cyclists from all around--probably from around the world. And we are a national bike ride, but with a local presence. So, for Perimeter to exist, that's our next step in our development is to find someone that will become a national partner with us to keep us going," DeBernardis continues. 

He says El Tour has a $16 million to $20 million economic impact on the Tucson area and benefits dozens of charities.

McCusker says she has no idea how Tu Nidito will replace the lost funds, but that it simply must.

"There's absolutely no hard feelings because they really did help us get here. But, at the same time, we now find ourselves kind of in a hole. We have to be here. We have to be here for the children and families in our community because there's no one else who does what we do," McCusker says.

"We have to be here for families. It's important. I mean you look at our outcomes and the changes that we're making in lives and in the futures for some of these children and parents whose children die. We can't not be here. And we can't close down some of our programming or turn some people away," McCusker continues.

DeBernardis says El Tour will be choosing the new primary beneficiary soon.

McCusker says Tu Nidito must find a way to close its budget gap soon.

She says she's very hopeful and has confidence in the generosity of the community that continues to be supportive.

To donate to Tu Nidito, click here

There is a way to continue supporting Tu Nidito through El Tour.

It's called Ride For A Child.

Click here for that information.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

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