PITTSBURGH, PA (December, 2020) Like many large-scale events this year, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix was affected by the pandemic. Ten days of car shows, races and motorsport parties were canceled, but that didn’t stop the Grand Prix from delivering a meaningful donation for our charitable partners.
This past May, the PVGP announced it was canceling its 2020 Race Week events and “Shifting Gears” to encourage its car club partners to get out on the road in the safety of their own cars. The result – more than two dozen events were held throughout the summer and fall, raising $60,000!
We applaud our racers, volunteers, car club partners and event participants who got involved and made incredible efforts to keep the Grand Prix spirit alive. From staging events to donating their 2020 registration fees, the response was overwhelming and vital to our charity mission.” said Dan DelBianco, PVGP executive director.
Joseph S. Martz, president of Merakey Allegheny Valley School, said, “thank you for all you did to make lemonade out of lemons, we are incredibly grateful to the PVGP and its supporters for putting your hearts and souls into the “Shifting Gears” campaign.”
Jesse Torisky, CEO of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh, exclaimed “during this pandemic autistic people haven’t stopped being autistic and they need our services now more than ever and likewise, the PVGP supporters have not stopped working – we are humbled by their tireless efforts.
Sixteen racers generously donated their 2020 race entry fees, crossing the finish line with a whopping $10,450 donation! PVGP Chairman Jim Dolan was the first racer to make a donation and said “this has been an unprecedented display of what community involvement is all about and I thank everyone”. Stu Long and the team at Nelson Ledges staged a Test & Tune in August to benefit the PVGP and added $1,150 more!
The Porsche Club raised $6,100 with Parade Laps in Schenley Park on our normally scheduled Race Day on Sunday, July 26, and they also held several driving tours.
The idea to get together was the mastermind of Ed Rice, President of the Allegheny Region Porsche Club. “The impromptu event was a stunning success”, according to Ed “I was in a melancholy mood when the event was canceled and I just didn’t want to sit around and do nothing that weekend. Then I thought, what the heck, every year in the days before Race Weekend in Schenley Park I drive the racecourse to get into the vibe of the PVGP. I decided I was going to invite all of my Porsche Club friends to join me.”
The Pittsburgh Section of the Mercedes-Benz Club matched the first $1,000, of member donations for a $2,555 donation and added $1,000 with a fall road tour to Moraine State Park.
Jason Uhler and the Greater Pittsburgh Mustang Club raised $2,137 while touring the countryside in their pony cars in our Orange Belt Tour in July. The Marque of the Year Corvettes, led by Jim Kinest, staged a Corvette Club Caravan Challenge in May and donated their 2020 registration fees, $1,448!
Karen Hanchett and Patrick Martin staged two Motorbike Tours to Jamison Farm in Latrobe that raised $1,200. Bud Osbourne and the Western PA Triumph Association worked on these tours and the PVGP July Countryside Tour that raised $2,030.
The Rolls Royce & Bentley Club raised a grand total of $14,080 through three separate events. Greg & Christie Farrell hosted a party at their home in June, raising $1,400. Bentley Pittsburgh hosted a car show at their dealership in Wexford in September that brought in $7,950. With an auction of her Handmade Glass Art Terri Hohmann added $3,530, and Rolls Royce Club President Chris Davis’s neighbors’ “Little Miss Cookie Squad” baked and sold cookies weekly this summer for $1,200.
The ALFISTI Alfa Romeo Club pledged $1,000 from its July Over the River Tour. West Penn Miata Club raised $800 with its own kick-off style Rallye. Jack and Cathy Dernorsek led the 3 Rivers Region Model A Restorers Club on a Red Belt Tour in August that brought in $465.
Land Rover North Hills sponsored the October 24/25 Fall Car Show at Pitt Race Complex that raised $2,100 the same weekend that the Western PA Triumph Club and Gary Fredo hosted a road tour netting $1,555. To get the PVGP over the $60,000 mark the Greater Pittsburgh MG Club donated $1,000 from its membership.
With the pandemic raging around the world and most car events cancelled for the foreseeable future many charities are being left with no fundraisers. Concours marketing leader Bernard Martin recently stepped up to the plate to offer his services to help charities across the country.
According to Bernie, "The conversation actually started at Amelia Island early this year. Dan DelBianco and I where sitting at the pool late Sunday afternoon and we where more or less reaching the conclusion that we may not be able to hold any. PVGP events this summer. I suggested that we get all 17 car clubs and encourage them to drive their cars in a series of fundraising rallies. We had just completed hosting the 2019 Alfa Romeo Owners Club convention and had used the belt system around Pittsburgh for a number of the driving tours so we had a ready made tour route with signage already in place."
The Pittsbrugh Vintage Grand Prix has renamed this year theme to "Shifting Gears" as a result of that conversation.
In early Spring Lilly Pray approached Bernie about a project that she had become involved in called "Rally Across America". Lilly has been a highly respected concours judge for many years and she was the first Ambassador for the effort. The founders of "Rally Across America", Jim and Wendy Petty, wanted to create a website and social media for their concept of raising $1 Million for charities across the United States by helping car clubs and car aficionados host driving events for their local charities.
Bernie told Lilly that this project was right in his wheelhouse as he was already planning events for the Three Rivers Alfisti to raise money for the PVGP.
Bernie created the website and social media for the organizations and also create all of the "Rally-in-a-Box" tools needed to ambassadors to create their own driving event. He tested a number of auto touring and rally apps for mobile devices and included the functions for the Rally Ambassadors.
Lilly Pray has a passion for cars, she’s been channeling that energy into an organized drive that will give back to the community. Lilly, a nurse in Boulder, Colorado, serves an ambassador for Rally Across America, a grassroots organization whose goal is to raise more than $1 million for nonprofit groups across the U.S.
Lilly jumped at the opportunity to help Rally Across America, which hosted its inaugural drive on June 7, with proceeds going to the Connecticut Foodbank. A total of 41 cars took part, with each driver donating the suggested $100.
Some of the stories, pictures and articles that we have been included in over the years.