NEW YORK, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- United Way of New York City (UWNYC) will team up with Williams (NYSE: WMB) -- a multibillion-dollar energy and high-technology company with a reputation for strong, unwavering commitment to communities, to host the starting point of "Williams' 2000 Riding the Line" (http://www.ridingtheline.com) bike fundraiser, in New York City. Once complete, the event will be the largest single fundraiser in United Way's 110-year history, raising $5 million for United Ways along the 12-state route. Approximately 80 cyclists will depart New York City on September 25, 2000 at Tavern on the Green, and will attempt the most successful bike ride fundraiser in the United States, embarking on a 2,000-mile ride that will end in Houston, Texas -- Williams' headquarters -- on October 3. The cyclists representing the United States and Canada are employees of Williams. The riders will roughly follow the path of Williams' Transco natural gas pipeline and telecommunications network, traveling through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana before finishing in Texas. "United Way of New York City is excited to host the starting point for Williams' 'Riding the Line'," said Ralph Dickerson, Jr., president of United Way of New York City. "This truly remarkable event, undertaken by ordinary people, will really help make a difference in the lives of people in need in New York City." The cyclists, divided into eight teams, will average from 60 to 70 miles per day, covering the 2,000-mile distance relay-style. The miles cycled each day will vary according to the terrain and experience of the teams. To participate, each team member is required to raise at least $2,500 in pledges for United Way. Williams will match each contribution dollar-for-dollar. "Although the record-setting numbers are staggering, the real story here is with the riders," said Cuba Wadlington, president and chief executive officer of Williams Gas Pipeline. "These are not professional cyclists. These are average people challenging themselves to make a difference in the lives of people in need. No, it's not easy, but that is what makes it so meaningful." Williams' "Riding the Line" began in 1999 with two employees and an innovative idea: a bike ride to raise money for United Way. Three months later, it had become one of the most successful fundraisers in United Way's history. Williams' 1999 "Riding the Line" Bike Ride started modestly with an original goal of just $100,000, but ended up raising more than $2 million. Last year, United Way of New York City's total revenue was $124 million that supported more than 800 nonprofit health and human service organizations, helping people in every city neighborhood. Its network of agencies range from large citywide organizations, such as local chapters of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, to small grassroots organizations anchored in inner-city neighborhoods such as the Miracle Makers of Bedford-Stuyvesant, and the New York Asian Woman's Center located on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. UWNYC has one of the lowest administrative overheads of any major charity, with more than 87 cents of every dollar contributed going to help people lead self-sufficient and productive lives. The Williams (NYSE: WMB) name has been associated with the pipeline industry and technological innovation for more than three-quarters of a century. Today, Williams is a multi-billion dollar energy and high-technology company with a reputation for strong shareholder value and an unwavering commitment to communities. A leader in the energy industry, Williams' interstate pipeline systems transport 16 percent of the nation's natural gas. The company also owns and operates a 25,000-mile fiber-optic network providing voice, data, Internet and video services to communications service providers. Williams is a national leader for United Way. Williams' Chairman Keith Bailey is a past chairman of United Way of America's board of governors. In 1998, Williams and its employees donated more than $6 million to United Way funding drives across the country, earning the Spirit of America Award.
SOURCE United Way of New York City