When Ganesh Shenoy thinks back on the 25 years he has spent building his business as an Amway Independent Business Owner (IBO), he wishes he had figured out something a little sooner: It feels good to give back to society.
“I learned this very late,” Ganesh says. “I was so aggressively building the business that I didn’t pay a lot of attention to giving back. And so, a year ago I started to ask myself, ‘What could I do to not only inspire myself, but also inspire other IBOs to get involved?’”
An epic idea
That’s how Ganesh’s professional journey turned personal – and The Epic Bike Ride was born. This August, Ganesh plans to ride his bicycle 1,000 miles in 30 days, from New York City to Amway World Headquarters in Ada, Michigan.
The goal is to raise awareness and money for Easterseals® Michigan, a nonprofit that provides services for people with disabilities and their families. His money-raising goal is not modest. In fact, it’s huge: He wants to raise $500,000 for programs that serve children with autism and homeless veterans.
In 2020, his efforts earned him recognition as one of Amway’s Everyday Heroes, ordinary people doing extraordinary things during a world pandemic.
Inspired by others
Ganesh was inspired to help kids with disabilities by his experiences dropping off his own kids at school. “When you see families that have kids with disabilities, you see how much they have to overcome just to do certain things that are easy for us,” he said.
His drive to address the needs of homeless veterans comes from the times he and his family have donated to food kitchens. “We’ve seen families without a home and also veterans, and they have paid a price,” he says. “We feel strongly that we need to give back.”
Easterseals Michigan is honored and excited that Ganesh wants to raise money for the organization, said Regan Goldberg, senior vice president and chief development officer. “We were blown away when we heard what he is doing,” Regan said. “Ganesh is a true believer in the power of philanthropy. He is a relentless leader. I think he has so much grit. And he’s selfless.”
Going virtual for safety
Ganesh originally planned the ride for the summer of 2020. But due to the pandemic, and for the health and safety of the participants, the ride will take place in August 2021. In the meantime, virtual rides, walks, jogs and swims are taking place in several countries.
So far, more than $59,000 has been raised to help Ganesh reach the goal. He hopes The Epic Bike Ride will motivate other IBOs to help causes they believe in, “so that the idea of giving gets into their minds and it becomes part of their lives.”
It’s all about joy
When Ganesh reflects on his efforts, The Epic Bike Ride comes down to one simple idea: joy. “As you go through life, you want to experience joy, and you spend a lot of time trying to find and receive joy,” he said.
“I’ve realized that to truly experience joy, you need to give joy. The Epic Bike Ride will raise awareness for Easterseals, children with autism and homeless veterans – to help put joy in their lives and their family’s lives.”
Join the ride
To learn more about Ganesh’s efforts, make a donation or register to ride along with him, visit theepicbikeride.com.
To read more great stories about Amway IBOs, philanthropic partners and employees who lead with their hearts, visit Amway Connections. Let the stories inspire you as we all continue to make the world a better place.