The Seattle Storm has announced that Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder has joined the “Pedal for Pat” initiative, a 1,098 mile bike ride to raise money for The Pat Summitt Foundation. Pedal for Pat will span Oct. 17-28, 2017, beginning at the Pat Summitt statue in Knoxville, TN, and concluding in Key West, Fla., The route was chosen so cyclists will ride one mile for each of Summitt’s wins as the University of Tennessee women’s basketball head coach.
“I never met Pat Summitt, so it’s reasonable to wonder why I am doing this ride,” said Gilder. “The truth is, I didn’t know much about Pat until 10 years ago when I became a co-owner of the Storm. Suddenly, I was in the thick of women’s professional basketball. In my first year as an owner, 2008, one of her players, Candace Parker, went #1 in the draft. Suddenly, I knew about Pat Summitt. And just like that, I became an instant fan of this driven, passionate, and wildly successful woman, a big one.”
Storm fans have the opportunity to support Gilder and the Pedal for Pat cycle event through financial donations. She’s set a personal goal of $15,000, with the first $10,000 set to be matched by an anonymous donor. Those interested in donating will have the opportunity to take advantage of Seattle Storm tickets, merchandise and autographed items. In accordance with Pat Summitt’s wins, suggested donations start at $10.98, and can be made directly to Gilder.
Added Gilder, “I’m irate that she was cut down too early by a disease that not only robs its victims of precious years, but also strips away their memories and stories, and their ability to retain connection with those they love. Pat was an inspiration when she was alive, and she continues to serve as one. She was tough and engendered tough. In a world where people are relentlessly researching, writing and talking about how to develop persistence, how to coax the growth of grit, we have Pat Summitt to show us the way. I only know of Pat through others’ memories and public accounts. But I have a good imagination. I imagine that she was a hard ass with a giant heart. She was tough on those she cared for, because a well-lived life demands toughness, and how else could she prepare her athletes for the rigors of adulthood, except by being demanding and exacting? Love is not all about sweetness and light. It’s about figuring out how to call forward the best of those for whom we care. Pat Summitt did that, and, in doing so, exemplified the hidden-in-plain-sight promise and power of high expectations.”
Gilder is the managing member of Force 10 Enterprises, which owns Force 10 Hoops, the WNBA’s Seattle Storm franchise, Force 10 Sports Management, which provides marketing and management expertise to local and national sports organizations, and Force 10 Performance, an affordable multi-sport training center for all athletes and abilities. This latest career chapter blends her love of business with her passion for sports and deep belief in its power to transform lives. Force 10 Enterprises is dedicated to the philosophy that women should enjoy access to competitive opportunities at every level: the Storm showcases the power of women as inspirational athletes and leaders and Force 10 Performance makes affordable, world class training available to everyone.
In addition, Gilder has started several entrepreneurial ventures, both businesses and non-profits, whose founding dreams range from the practical to the transformational. She is CEO of the Gilder family investment office (which she founded in 2004) and president of one of her family’s philanthropic entities, the Starfish Group, whose mission is to champion the underdog, individuals who face steeper odds in creating a sustainable life for themselves.
A rower, she earned four varsity letters at Yale University, and was an All-Ivy Champion three times. Her freshman year, she helped usher in the post-Title IX era at Yale by participating in the now-famous women’s crew strip-in protesting the lack of equal facilities. Gilder represented the United States on four national teams, including two Olympic teams. She was named to the U.S. team which boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games and won a silver medal as the stroke of the women’s quadruples sculls with coxswain at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. She holds a pair of international medals, including a bronze from the 1983 World Championships in the single.
The author of the memoir, Course Correction: A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX, Gilder helped launch community rowing programs in Boston, MA and Derby, CT. She received an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award for community service in 2004 and was the recipient of the 2015 US Rowing Association Jack Kelly Award and the 2015 Yale University George H.W. Bush ’48 Lifetime of Leadership Award.
“Ginny is not only a world-class athlete, she is a world-class person,” said Michelle Brooke-Marciniak, a former Seattle Storm player and co-founder of SHEEX. “To have her intimately involved in our ride is a huge win for Pedal for Pat for the spirit, energy and passion she will bring during the entire ride. As we embark on our journey, we need people like Ginny who will put their heart on the line in order to make a dent in this awful Alzheimer’s disease, not only for Pat but for all whom this disease has affected, both directly and indirectly. As a woman who charges through life with guts and vigor, Ginny epitomizes what Pat was all about; courage and fight. Pat is smiling down on us. As the co-chair of Pedal for Pat, it feels like we just signed one of the best players in the country!”
“Ginny’s background as an elite athlete and leader naturally make her a great fit for our event, but more than that, Ginny lives out the values that Coach Pat embraced every day,” said Joshua Crisp, founder of the ‘Pedal for Pat’ initiative. “Ginny’s commitment reflects her work ethic, resilience and passion for giving back. With Ginny, and the Seattle Storm, joining the Pedal for Pat team, we will indeed accomplish much more together.”
Crisp and a core group of riders announced Pedal for Pat in March 2017 and have been training ever since. Each team member is committed to raising $10,000 which will be donated to The Pat Summit Foundation, which designates 100 percent of its grant funding to The Pat Summitt Clinic.