Meet Mae – Your Personal Fundraising Coach!


Hello, Cycle of Hopers! My name is Mae Pennington, and I’m your fundraising coach. While you can count on me to take the mystery out of fundraising and give you the tools to raise support for affordable housing, today I wanted to share my own Cycle of Hope story.

HabitatEast Bay/Silicon Valley doesn’t build houses without people like you. Habitat has served over 10,000 people. Families are living in safe, stable housing as a direct result of support like yours – and the people you’ll invite to join you.

I’ve worked at Habitat for six years now, and in that time I’ve learned exactly how dire the housing crisis is in our area. Too many families pay too much of their paychecks to rent inadequate places to live. Homeownership is out of reach for most in our community. But, during my time at Habitat, I’ve also learned about all of the people and programs working tirelessly to change that reality. Cycle of Hope fundraisers are enabling us to build hope for families throughout our community.

Growing up, my Dad was (and still is) an avid cyclist. When I first told him about Cycle of Hope in 2018, I saw his face light up through my computer screen. He lives in New Jersey, where I’m originally from, and we stay connected through video and phone chats. He’s always wanted to make a trip out to the west coast for Cycle of Hope, but timing never quite worked out. So, when this year’s ride adapted to be a “ride from home” event, I jumped at the chance to train and ride with my Dad! Even though all of the sadness, grief, and uncertainty of this time in history, Cycle of Hope is one bright spot that is bringing me closer to my family despite the distance.

We set up a Cycle of Hope fundraising team—the Bicoastal Peddlingtons (we love our punny humor) – and scheduled weekend training rides. We’re riding at roughly the same time but 2,800 miles apart. We then share our times and elevation climbs on Strava with each other! My Dad has a bunch of experience doing full Century rides, so he gives me pointers about hill climbs, conserving energy, and road safety.

We are using Facebook and email to share our journey with our friends and family. We’re going to keep sharing photos and selfies from our rides along with our fundraising page. I’ve even had a couple of extended family members ask to join the team and ride with us! During this time, we all appreciate the meaningful connection we get by doing something physically by ourselves, but united by intention and purpose.

Between October 10th and October 25th, we’re going to pick a day to do our full rides and then celebrate! I’m choosing to do a 32-miler, one step up from the 11-mile route I did last year. Although my Dad says he’s also going to do the 32-miler, I could easily see him pushing himself up to the Metric Century ride, last minute. He’s always going above and beyond the expectations he sets for himself, which is truly a wonderful trait to grow up around. Although Cycle of Hope looks different this year, I appreciate the flexibility that allows friends and family across the country to all ride towards a future where everyone has a decent place to live.