International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security


Giving Old Bikes New Homes

Chicago, IL


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

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Trevor Clarke

Main Address

2434 South Western Avenue

Chicago, IL 60608 USA


Bikes, Chicago, Africa, Central America, Sustainability, Recycling, Community Development





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

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 + Results

What we aim to solve

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

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

International Shipments

Cycle of Power and Cycle of Peace

Volunteer Program

WTF! Volunteer Program

Where we work

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

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.

We track our bicycle donations - incoming and outgoing - and collect anecdotal stories and photographs from local and global partners. Messaging platforms like WhatsApp enable direct communication with our international partners, allowing us to hear firsthand what items they need, and the feedback we receive from donation recipients, who return to our service department on donated bicycles for free or at-cost repairs, are invaluable for assessing the impact of our work.

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!

External Reviews



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  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?