When Ganesh Shenoy thinks back on this 25+ years building his Amway business, there’s something he wishes he had figured out 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 in 2019, Ganesh started asking himself what he could do to not only inspire himself, but also inspire other IBOs to get involved.
That’s how Ganesh’s professional journey turned personal – and the Epic Bike Ride was born. In August 2021, Ganesh rode his bicycle 1,000 miles in 30 days, from New York City to Amway World Headquarters in Ada, Michigan. The goal was to raise awareness and money for Easterseals®, a nonprofit that provides services for people with disabilities and their families.
His money-raising goal was not modest. Infact, it was huge – he wanted to raise $500,000 for Easterseals®, in particular for programs that serve kids with autism and homeless veterans. He was inspired to help kids with disabilities by his experiences dropping his own kids off 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,” Ganesh says.
His drive to address the needs of homeless veterans comes from 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® was honored and excited that Ganesh wanted to raise money for the organization. “We were blown away when we heard what he is doing,” says Regan Goldberg, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Easterseals® Michigan. “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.”
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 took place in August 2021. In the meantime, virtual rides, walks, jogs and swims took place with IBO participants from several countries which, at that point, raised $24,130 to help Ganesh reach the goal. Ganesh hopes the Epic Bike Ride motivates 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.”
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 says. “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.”