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The end of the SMART Ride isn’t just the end of an era, it’s the start of a new chapter for the people who made the ride so iconic. Since I broke the news of the decision to end the event, the SMART Ride community has wondered: what now? Spoiler alert: riding off into the sunset is NOT an option. Compass is a SMART Ride beneficiary and Palm Beach County’s go-to resource for LGBTQ+. They received more than $142 thousand from the last ride, a funding gap that’s not easily made up. Their SMART Ride money has paid for everything from utility bills to life saving surgeries. Compass CEO Julie Seaver told me, “We all have the capacity to sustain or increase our events. We absolutely intend to carry the spirit of The SMART Ride with us in continuing our fundraising efforts to help those in need.” Meanwhile, one of the Ride’s most prolific, long running fundraisers, the Key West Mile Markers, has filed incorporation papers and pledge to keep raising money. Indeed, the leaders of the Ride say over 20 years, they’ve given people the tools to raise money without the SMART Ride umbrella. But organizers took care of sponsorships so all the money raised by riders, 100 percent, went back to the communities. Will these new iterations be as effective? We’ll see.. but kudos to them trying. You can read more of my exclusive coverage at OutSFL dot com now and on stands starting Thursday.