WORKING BIKES

Giving Old Bikes New Homes

Chicago, IL   |  www.workingbikes.org

Mission

Working Bikes gives old bikes new life by redistributing them as tools of empowerment in local and global communities.

Ruling year info

2008

Executive Director

Trevor Clarke

Main address

2434 South Western Avenue

Chicago, IL 60608 USA

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EIN

54-2138339

NTEE code info

International Relief (Q33)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Working Bikes tackles two key problems - an excess of waste, and a dearth of opportunity. Working Bikes reduces the number of bicycles that may enter the waste stream or sit languishing, unused, by giving new life to those vital tools of transportation. Each year, Working Bikes refurbishes several thousand bikes for people who will use them to access resources in and around Chicago and sends twice as many bicycles to global partners who will fix and distribute bikes to empower members of their communities.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

International Shipments

Working Bikes ships over 6,500 refurbishable bicycles per year to projects in countries throughout Latin America and Africa including, El Salvador, Guatemala, Tanzania, Malawi, Lesotho, Uganda, Ghana, and many others. For these global donations, we partner with organizations that run bike shop programs, mostly in rural communities. Raw bikes from Chicago are the raw materials for these shops, many of which are managed by an all-women staff. Bikes are used to access educational opportunities, markets, medical services, community resources, as well as for recreation.

Population(s) Served

Working Bikes runs two local donation programs, known as Cycle of Power (adults) and Cycle of Peace (kids and youth). We partner with numerous organizations to donate repaired bicycles throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. These organizations include veteran hospitals, health and human service agencies, transitional housing facilities, youth organizations, community centers, and schools. In a typical year, Working Bikes donates between 800-1,000 bicycles to individuals through this program. In addition to a bicycle, adult local donation recipients receive a helmet, u-lock, and a set of lights. Recipients are encouraged to bring their bike to us within the first year if service is needed.

Population(s) Served

Working Bikes continues to operate today largely through the efforts of our dedicated volunteers. Individuals and groups looking to lend a hand are always welcomed. There are many ways to get involved, whether you are an expert bike mechanic, a novice wrencher, or just enjoy giving back!

Population(s) Served

WTF! Night provides an exclusive space for women, transgendered, and gender non-conforming members of the Working Bikes community to learn bicycle mechanics. The intent of WTF! is community building, consciousness raising, and development of mechanical skills amongst those who have been historically left out of many opportunities for technical education. WTF! Night is every Thursday from 5-9pm at the Working Bikes warehouse at 2434 S Western in Chicago.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Working Bikes believes that bicycles are the most reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly transportation option available, and we’re working towards a world where everyone has access to bicycle transportation, whether in Africa or Chicago. We know the resources - bicycles - are out there, unused or unwanted in Chicago and the greater Midwest, and we’re committed to making sure that none of these vital tools of empowerment head to the scrap yard instead of back on to the street. We also believe that there is a role for everyone in this work, and so we foster a culture of volunteerism and work to train volunteers as mechanics, host groups to pack bicycles into containers, and have ability-appropriate tasks for volunteers with special needs.

We provide the raw materials - both bikes and tools, and even some mechanical training - to seed and support bicycle shops in underserved communities all over the world, with a focus on Africa and Central America. Locally, Working Bikes donates bicycles repaired by volunteers, many of whom learn bike mechanics through volunteering, to individuals and partner organizations here in Chicago, providing transportation to people in homeless transition, refugee resettlement, and youth empowerment programs in our own community. Working Bikes’ service department offers repairs at reasonable rates and donates services to donation bike recipients and low income folks. Working Bikes sells over 1,500 bikes each year and is widely regarded as the best source for an affordable quality used bike in Chicago.

Over the past 20 years, Working Bikes has established itself as a cornerstone in Chicago’s nonprofit community and a hub for cycling enthusiasts from around the world. Our three story inviting and inclusive warehouse, bike shop, and volunteer space is an institution on Chicago’s Southwest Side, and our longstanding relationships with community groups, municipal organizations, schools, and neighborhood associations have ensured a steady stream of bike donations, volunteers, and financial contributions. We host five volunteer sessions a week, where new and novice volunteers are guided through the process of repairing a bike by other more experienced volunteers and trained staff. A dedicated all-volunteer board of directors, an outstanding and committed staff, and hundreds of volunteers are all committed to Working Bikes’ success.

For 20 years, Working Bikes has recovered tens of thousands of bikes from Chicago and the Midwest. More than 100,000 bikes have been given new life across the Midwest and the world, empowering tens of thousands of individuals to access resources in their communities. 2019 was a milestone year for Working Bikes, as we broke records in our international and local donation programs. Looking ahead to the next 20 years, we will continue developing partners in our community and around the world, deepen our connections and feedback mechanisms, and of course get as many people on bikes as possible!

Financials

WORKING BIKES
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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WORKING BIKES

Board of directors
as of 2/21/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Phil Kaplan

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes