Newton’s RAGBRAI committee says they’re donating $35,000 that was leftover race money to local non-profits, organizations and projects.
“It’s a warm fuzzy moment, I mean you can’t get any better than being able to give back to everybody who helped,” said Amanda Price, Executive Director of Newton Chamber of Commerce.
‘Tis the season to be thankful has a whole new meaning for folks in Newton. The town square may be decked out in Christmas lights now, but a few months ago this place was transformed.
Newton was selected to be an overnight stop along the RAGBRAI route. And thousands of people pedaled in.
“I believe our population doubled,” said Price. “And we have a population of about 15,000 so that was pretty incredible, something we totally didn’t expect.”
Vendors and other RAGBRAI bills have since been paid, but the city still has a lot of leftover funds.
“But we never could have imagined that we made $35,000, so that was very shocking to us,” said Price.
And in the spirit of holiday giving, all of that money is being dispersed to local events and non-profits that are important to the community. Price says that was the plan all along.
“The first thing we said was if we make any profit from this whatsoever we are giving it all,” said Price.
And locals who experienced the excitement of RAGBRAI first hand are grateful of that.
“And I know the community very much appreciates that as so do I,” said Erin Erickson.
Erin Erickson works at Fine Things Reclaimed and remembers the ride like it was yesterday.
“It was phenomenal, there were so many kind people that rode by,” said Erickson. “They would stop and one of our people from the salon would do chair massages.”
It had been over a decade since RAGBRAI stopped in Newton. Since it was such a success on the day, and now that local organizations are reaping the benefits from the big donation, everyone hopes it comes back to town sooner rather than later.
“We are kind of excited to do it again. We are kind of thinking maybe another 5 years or so, we’ll see,” said Price.