By Drew Olson Special to Published Jul 28, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Each day, hundreds of people from Milwaukee and the surrounding area dedicate time, energy and financial resources to important work for non-profit organizations in the community.

These people -- who work on the front lines for causes including the environment, education, the arts, social issues, charities, health care, politics, religion, animal protection, sports and other endeavors -- go about their business without a great deal of fanfare or recognition.

In order to help rectify that, and create awareness for worthy causes throughout the area, created the Non-profit Spotlight. The featured organization today is the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

The weather forecast for Sunday in the Madison area calls for sunny skies and warm temperatures -- in other words, perfect conditions for a motorcycle ride.

Then again, cycle enthusiasts will tell you that just about every day in the summer is good for a ride.

Especially when it's for a good cause.

The fifth annual Wisconsin Ride For Kids, a benefit for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, is slated to begin at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Firemen's Park, 7400 Lee St., Middleton.

"Every day, nine kids are diagnosed with brain tumors and 76 percent of those diagnosed are under 15 years old," said Joe Bentz, a task force leader for Wisconsin Ride for Kids.

"There are more than 125 different brain tumors. The money we raise goes to support research that will save lives."

Bentz said that the Wisconsin ride, one of 37 across the country, raised $82,000 last year and could be close to $100,000 this year. "We get riders from all over the state and all over the Midwest," Bentz said. "We contact just about every motorcycle group we can. There will be people from all over."

The minimum donation is $35 per bike, but most participants exceed that amount with pledges. Registration for the event begins at 7:30 a.m., with a light breakfast served, and runs until 9:15 a.m.

The police-escorted ride begins at 9:30 a.m. and follows a scenic, 50-mile loop through some south central Wisconsin. The ride will end at roughly 11 a.m. followed by a "Celebration of Life," where participants hear interviews with young brain tumor survivors-the Ride for Kids "stars" of the day. Award presentations to top fundraisers and distribution of premiums will follow.

"That's always a great part of the day," Bentz said. "Of the 37 rides across the country, this is the only one where participants get a bag lunch from Culver's, served by (Culver's CEO) Curt Culver himself. He's nice enough to help us out.

"It's going to be a lot of fun."




Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.