Our Stories

BRAKING AIDS® Rider: Michael Pellman Rowland

BRAKING AIDS® Rider: Michael Pellman Rowland

Each September hundreds of bicyclists, or as we here at Housing Works call them, endurance activists, ride 285 miles from Boston to NYC as part of BRAKING AIDS® Ride. Though the three day ride is fully supported by staff and crew, it requires a level of commitment above and beyond a typical donation. The riders form teams – really quasi families – who train and fundraise together all in the fight to end AIDS and homelessness. Over the next few months, Housing Works will highlight these supporters in our Community Stories.

Our first featured activist is Michael Pellman Rowland, Housing Works Thrift Shops board member, first-time rider AND team captain. We caught up with Rowland to discuss the Ride, his team and, as a nice bonus, got some basic financial advice.

Housing Works: Name, location, occupation.
Michael Pellman Rowland: Upper East Side NYC, Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor at Morgan Stanley

HW: You’ve made a name for yourself as a financial adviser largely serving the members of the LGBT community. In fact, you were recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal for your niche work. What advice would you give younger members of the Housing Works community planning for their financial future?
MPR: Start saving early, even if it’s a small amount. Ideally coming directly out of your paycheck into a 401k (or similar retirement plan). The biggest mistake most young people make is waiting too long to begin saving. My dad told me to save 10% of my paycheck and it’s really paid off. The longer you wait, the harder it is to start.

HW: You serve as a member of the Board of Directors for Housing Works Thrift Shops (THANK YOU), what compelled you to join?
MPR: Having grown up in the West Village, I witnessed firsthand how AIDS/HIV affects people. After looking into the various organizations that work to end this disease, I chose HW. To me, it felt like home. It just felt right. And it was. I truly love the people I’ve gotten to know at HW. It gives me immense pride to call myself a member of this organization.

HW: How did you learn about BRAKING AIDS® Ride?
MPR: A fellow board member of Housing Works (Alan Miles) told me about it. He said it was one of the more fulfilling things he’d done, and thought I’d enjoy the challenge.

HW: You’re leading a team from Morgan Stanley on this year’s ride. What’s your recruitment plan and, perhaps more importantly, what’s your team’s name?
MPR: We’ve done some outreach within the firm, and posted it on our internal homepage for all employees. So far we’ve had good participation/interest. Looking like we’ll have a good group. Good question! Haven’t decided yet, thinking something like “Morgan Family” or “Ride with Pride.”

HW: What does participating in BRAKING AIDS® Ride mean to you?
MPR: It means that we have an opportunity to focus on those who need our help. To push ourselves physically, to honor those who can’t ride with us, who’ve left this earth too soon, and to inspire those around us that the fight to end AIDS is as strong as ever.

Learn more about BRAKING AIDS® Ride here. Support the Ride and our mission through purchasing a $1 bike Saturday, May 23 – Sunday, May 31. Finally, meet riders from select teams on Saturday, May 30 at our Tour de Thrifts event. Buy a wristband for $10, and receive 25% off your purchase (while supplies last).

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