What is Bikes for the World?
Bikes for the World is a US-based nonprofit humanitarian organization and volunteer network that collects thousands of used bicycles, as well as bike parts and tools, and delivers them to community programs in developing countries.
- Bikes for the World donates all product to nonprofit organizations in receiving countries.
- Repair is done in the receiving countries—this builds job skills and provides employment.
- The reconditioned bicycles provide affordable transportation to laborers, teachers, students, farmers, health workers, and small business owners.
- Partners distribute the bikes free or at an affordable price, often on credit.
- "A bicycle can get someone, someplace...like from poverty to self-sufficiency."
Bikes for the World was founded in January 2005 by Keith Oberg as a sponsored project of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. We donated our first bicycles in February 2005 to Art for Humanity, which shipped them to its job creation program in Honduras. We made our first independent shipments beginning April 2005, to Sri Lanka (for tsunami recovery), then to Central America (Costa Rica and Panama) and Africa (Ghana). In our first year, we donated more than 5,000 bikes! Since that time, Bikes for the World has grown and is now the nation’s largest bicycle reuse program. Over the period 2005-2012, BfW averaged 9,000 bikes annually. In September 2012, we shipped our 70,000th bike, and for the entire year 2012, we delivered over 13,500 bikes, our largest year ever.
Meanwhile, the program has broadened its focus and matured institutionally. In February 2011, Bikes for the World incorporated separately and less than three months later obtained independent IRS charitable 501 (c) (3) status.Following completion of its first separate audit and IRS Form 990 tax return in January 2012, Bikes for the World applied for and was accepted into the 2012-13 Combined Federal Campaign, the workplace giving program of the federal government. BfW also registered with Guidestar.
Earlier, in the spring of 2007, Bikes for the World broadened its mission to benefit our own communities, opening the Rockville Youth Bicycle Project at the historic King Farm in Rockville MD, with support from the City of Rockville, Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), and the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club. The project currently has two goals--youth development through providing community service opportunities which meet Maryland public school graduation requirements, and the “TERRIFIC” earn-a-bike program for Rockville elementary students, in cooperation with the City of Rockville Department of Recreation and Parks. Over 2007-2012, more than 200 reconditioned bicycles have been awarded to participants in the TERRIFIC program. RYBP also partners with the Social Action Internship program of Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart (Bethesda MD), providing year-long internships for high school seniors at King Farm, and has mentored more than 70 Boy Scouts earning their Eagle rank, a dozen young men fulfilling their bar mitzvahs, and many other young men and women.