Philanthropy Q&A: Bryan Harkins, Cboe Global Markets


Bryan Harkins, Executive Vice President and Co-Head of Markets Division at Cboe Global Markets, won the Philanthropy Award at the 2019 Markets Choice Awards.

The Philanthropy Award was one of three ‘Positive Change’ Awards sponsored by Instinet.

Markets Media caught up with Harkins to learn more about his motivations and his vision for his annual benefit event, Wall Street Rides FAR.

Why is philanthropy important to you?

Bryan Harkins

Generally speaking, I’m incredibly grateful to work in such a generous industry. Not only that, whether it’s the finance industry or the wonderful city of New York that I live in, opportunities are plentiful. Opportunities are everywhere. However, being able to take advantage of opportunities is highly dependent upon your environment. To me, philanthropy is being self-aware of those bestowed opportunities and giving back in whatever way you can.

What have been the main achievements of Wall Street Rides FAR?

As we approach the 5th annual event this October, it has been truly amazing to be a part of its growth. Six years ago it was just an idea. It was a tireless effort to get to a launch date — not to mention the task of recruiting people and sponsors one by one to an event that had no track record. Now, here we are with dozens of corporate sponsors and an impressive list of recurring riders that come back year after year. We have surpassed well over a million dollars raised and the growth rate climbs every year.

What is the future of Wall Street Rides FAR?

Bryan and Melissa Harkins

My wife and I wanted to build an event that can endure for decades to come. We wanted to build an event that can outlive us or that we could hand off and have it stand on its own (once we are burned out from the planning!). I sense that we are rounding that corner. It is a good sign when word of mouth has taken over, when people sign up and donate without even being solicited. The playbook for the ride is largely the same year after year. Now, the future lies in scaling, marketing, and growing the ridership and participation to further support autism research. And importantly, seek to continue improving the effectiveness of treatments, and enhance the quality of life for those affected.

What is your advice for a budding philanthropist, ie someone who might have an idea to do something like Wall Street Rides FAR, but is having trouble getting started?

Define your idea. Be passionate and convinced that it can work and then sell the heck out of it. It is also important to be unique. There are countless wonderful charities out there. They are all vying for dollars to support their causes. When you have your unique idea, leverage your network and be relentless in channeling that passion towards building your idea and soliciting support.

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