Chiffon Dior: Hi Jack! It’s so good to talk with you again now that your restraining order has expired! How horribly have you missed me?
Jack Mackenroth: Who is this? JK. I can barely sleep at night because I miss you so much. Also I’m out of Ambien.
CD: For those new readers who might not be familiar with you, could you give them a little background on yourself?
JM: Oh goodness….Let’s see. Seattle gay boy turned UC Berkeley pre-med student turned model turned fashion designer turned D-list Project Runway reality hack turned HIV activist. Phew!!!!!
CD: Let’s get to the reason why we’re really talking, you just took part in the 2014 Braking Aids Ride from Boston to New York City! Now I would be winded simply driving from Boston to New York but you’re did it on a bicycle! And for a wonderful charity that is near and dear to your heart! How did you decide to partake in this particular event?
JM: Actually It took so long for me to gain the use of my limbs again that I am WAY late on this interview! I completed the ride last weekend. It was AMAZING. (Excruciating but life changing) As many of your readers know I am HIV positive and I am friends with the SVP of Development at Housing Works which services people facing the dual issues of HIV/AIDS and homelessness. HousingWorks.org is the beneficiary of Braking AIDS Ride so when he asked me to do it I thought WTF? Um….OK. Then came the hard part. I formed a team of 19 amazing people called the Mack Pack and then I had to start fundraising. I must have been high on booze and pills at some point because I pledged to raise $50,000 dollars. Once I put the crack pipe down I realized that I was clinically insane and that was very unrealistic–especially considering I signed up very late and I only had 7 weeks to pull it off.
HOWEVER! I was very aggressive and I got really creative on social media and as of today I have raised $47,500 dollars–the most money ever raised by an individual for Braking AIDS Ride and Housing Works! (Editor’s Note: Jack has since surpassed $50,000!!!) Honestly I’m exhausted and I’m pretty sure half my friends have blocked me on their contact list because they are so tired of me asking for money. HA!! But in the end it’s an amazing organization and AIDS is not over. The money will go a long way to help many people. Everyone who rode and donated can literally say they helped save lives. WOW!
CD: For people who want to contribute to this worthwhile cause, can you tell them the best way to do so?
JM: I encourage people to donate just like you did!! I would LOVE to reach that $50,000 dollar goal. My donation page is bit.ly/jackmack Also if you are in the New York or Boston area or anywhere in between you should sign up for next year!! I am a novice cyclist and I did it. I made amazing friends for life! DO IT!! I’d love to see you all next year.
CD: Do you have any other projects on the horizon that we should be keeping an eye out for?
JM: Nope. I’m going to the US AIDS conference in San Diego for the first week in October but after the ride I’m currently just massaging my taint and regrouping.
CD: Thanks for your time Jack! I hope we didn’t cut into your taint massage time too much! Congratulations on the ride and hopefully we’ll catch up with you again down the road!
FOLLOW UP PRESS RELEASE
Braking AIDS® Ride Update: HIV Activist, Jack Mackenroth Raises $47,455 dollars for HIV/AIDS. Sets Individual Fundraising Record
His 19 Person Team, #TheMackPack, Debutes Raising $128,300 For Housing Works
NEW YORK, NY (Sept 24, 2014)–2 months ago Jack Mackenroth, a well known HIV activist and novice cyclist, committed to Braking AIDS® Ride (BrakingAIDSride.org), a 3-day 300 mile bike ride from Boston to New York. He was encouraged by his boyfriend, other friends and colleagues that is was “not that hard” and he could certainly prepare in 7 weeks. As a life long athlete Jack figured that with the right training and equipment the ride would be extremely challenging but doable. The fundraising piece was a different story.
Mackenroth says, “I made the mistake of speaking before doing my research and I just announced that I was going to raise $50,000 dollars in just 7 weeks. I figured that with my massive social media reach I could just put out a few occasional call outs and the donations would come rolling in. Wrong.”
It’s now commonplace to use social media platforms to promote projects and raise money through crowd funding so Jack had to get creative after his first few attempts yielded tepid results. Subsequently he began “selling” personalized semi-naked selfies for donations over $250 dollars. He would tag the name, business, website or social media handle of any major donor and post it on all of his social media outlets which have a reach of over 500,000 followers. It worked.
“The donations started flowing in. And when I posted a pic and thanked the individual for their generosity, often other donations followed. But honestly it was a lot of work. I was diligent every day and I did a lot of direct asking to virtually everyone I know. I followed up. I hounded people. I think there are some people who have permanently blocked my number. HAHA!”
The buzz he created also gained the attention of two sponsors who believe in the cause as much as Mackenroth. Martone Cycling Co. (www.martonecycling.com) donated two bikes to the ride. One, which Jack used to raffle off to $100+ donors, and one that, was used as an incentive for other riders to push past the $5,000 mark. The popular dating app, Scruff (www.SCRUFF.com) also jumped in with a $2,500 donation and the purchase of team jerseys for the entire team.
“As an HIV positive man this cause is very important to me so I worked really hard to be innovative and persistent”, says Mackenroth. I didn’t reach my goal of $50,000 dollars but honestly I didn’t think I would even come close. And people can still donate here bit.ly/jackmack and of course there is always next year.”
Mackenroth hopes that by setting the fundraising record that it will draw media attention to Braking AIDS® Ride and Housing Works whose mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy and the provision of lifesaving services. It will also inspire and challenge others to dream beyond their “realistic” goals and step outside of their comfort zones.
Mackenroth concludes, “The Braking AIDS® Ride was life changing in so many ways. As you can see from the photos we had a blast and I made friends that I will have for life. You create amazing bonds with people when you conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges together. The ride was only 10 days ago and I could barely walk for two days after the ride but I can’t wait to do it again. I encourage EVERYONE to sign up for next year at BrakingAIDSride.org You will save lives and change your own!”
You can follow Jack on Twitter and Instagram @jackmackenroth.
For more information about BRAKING AIDS® Ride, contact:
Eric Epstein, Ride Director
For more information about Housing Works contact:
Andrew S. Greene
SVP for Development and Marketing
212-966-0466 x1134 (Soho)