By Anna Burgess
Sentinel & Enterprise
August 1, 2015
FITCHBURG — As part of an ongoing effort to have the Longsjo Classic embraced as a community event, the Longsjo Foundation donated $2,000 to local nonprofits this week as a “thank you” for their participation in the race.
Representatives from the Longsjo Foundation Board of Directors traveled to four area nonprofits to present donations as a show of gratitude for the organizations’ help preparing for the 2015 Longsjo Classic.
Twin Cities Community Development Corp., the Leominster American Legion, the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, and Help For Our Community all helped gather volunteers for this year’s three-day, three-city cycling event, which took place June 26-28.
This is not the first year that local nonprofit organizations have worked to make Longsjo a success in Fitchburg and Leominster, but this year’s swell of support was so overwhelming that Longsjo Foundation Board member Donn Ingemie decided to give back to the communities.
“These nonprofit organizations were all excited to participate and be included, and I really feel this sense of upheaval in pride of the race,” Ingemie said. “So the organizations that stepped up, we want to give them money.”
The staff at the four nonprofits they visited Tuesday, Ingemie said, were “tickled pink” to receive the donations.
Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Donata Martin said the donation was “unexpected and greatly appreciated.”
She and her staff, in addition to putting word out in their organization, helped put Ingemie in touch with some of the other nonprofits that ended up helping with recruitment, including Twin Cities CDC.
Brenda Piccard-Muniz, the Housing Counselor at Twin Cities CDC, said she helped recruit race volunteers by making phone calls to residents in the “North of Main” area, near where the Fitchburg Criterium of the Longsjo Classic takes place.
She said it wasn’t difficult to find volunteers, because “a lot of people wanted to give back.”
The Longsjo Foundation gave $250 to Twin Cities CDC, $250 to HFOC, $500 to the American Legion, and $1,000 to the Boys & Girls Club.
Ingemie said he especially enjoyed presenting the check to the Boys & Girls Club.
“As soon as we walked in there, it was so cool. A kid came right up to me and said I’m going to race in the kids race next year,” he said. “To see the kids get so excited is really hitting home, because that’s what we want. We want to get more kids on bikes, more kids exercising at a younger age, more kids interested in cycling in general.”