Founder and producer of the Athens Twilight Criterium, Gene Dixon, announced in October 2010 the formation of the Athens Twilight Foundation. The foundation is a newly seated, 20 person board of directors whose mission is to execute the annual Twilight Criterium in downtown Athens every April. In addition, the group will plan a year-round calendar of fundraising events and support cycling and fitness initiatives.
The foundation's goal is to become a resource promoting community development and public health. The community adopted the Twilight from the start and the creation of the Twilight Foundation insures the event's future, said Dixon. The foundation is the best way for the Twilight to remain America's iconic criterium and maintain its legacy for the entire Athens community.
The Twilight Criterium was founded in 1980 and has been held in Athens for the last 31 years. What began as one race with 40 competitors has since grown to offer 13 separate cycling events, kid's events, running events, and festival activities. Some 150 of the best criterium cyclists in the world compete in the main event, the men's Terrapin Twilight Criterium, an 80-km race around downtown Athens. The formation of the Twilight Foundation paves the way for the future of this downtown festival for the community's enjoyment, benefit, and participation.
The Twilight Foundation, with the help of Community Connection's Non-Profit Development Alliance, has established its 501c3 status. Twilight has partnered for a number of yeas with HandOn Northeast Georgia, which operates under Community Connection's umbrella as a non-profit partner. HandsOn has coordinated the group of over 300 volunteers to execute the two-day event since 2009.
Community Connection Executive Director and Twilight Foundation Board member Julie Meehan was a driving force in the creation of the foundation. Becoming a non-profit foundation will optimize the potential of the Twilight for our community. There is a great deal of excitement in this group to move the Twilight forward and to be a positive force in Athens.
The Twilight Foundation board meets the third Tuesday of each month and includes notables from the Athens and cycling communities.