WORLD BICYCLE RELIEF NFP

Mobilizing people through The Power of Bicycles

Chicago, IL   |  worldbicyclerelief.org

Mission

World Bicycle Relief mobilizes people through The Power of Bicycles. We are committed to helping people conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence and thrive. For many people in rural regions of developing countries, poverty is a daily reality. In areas where walking is the only mode of transport, a Buffalo Bicycle offers the real and immediate benefit of reliable access to essential goods and services. Powered by the remarkable human spirit, bicycles are a catalyst to possibilities. Our innovative model, combining philanthropic distributions with social enterprise sales, is the backbone on which we deliver greater efficiencies of scale, distribute more bicycles per donation and generate deeper impact where we work.

Ruling year info

2006

President

Dave Neiswander

Main address

1000 West Fulton Market, 4th Floor

Chicago, IL 60607 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-5080679

NTEE code info

International Economic Development (Q32)

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

International Relief (Q33)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In rural regions of the developing world, distance and lack of reliable transportation is a barrier to independence and livelihood. Students spend hours walking to and from school, or cannot attend classes at all. Healthcare workers are limited in the number of patients they can see and the distance they can travel to care for the ill. And for farmers and entrepreneurs, mobility plays a key role in market access and productivity. Girls, in particular, face cultural obstacles that limit their access to quality education, well-paid employment, quality reproductive healthcare, and property rights.

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?

Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP)

The Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program is an innovative program providing bicycles to students in rural areas of the developing world. In these regions, the biggest barrier to education is often the physical act of getting to school. Girls are at an even greater risk of falling behind in school because of the cultural obstacles they face, which include many more domestic chores than boys. In many of the areas where we work, it is common for girls to arrive at school late and tired if they arrive at all. By providing bicycles to children, especially girls, you can empower them with knowledge and ultimately, change the course of their lives. Keeping girls in school has been shown to have a multiplier effect that can help break the cycle of poverty, which is why we distribute 70% of our Buffalo Bicycles to girls. Educated girls have more employment opportunities, are more likely to close the gender pay gap, and are less likely to become pregnant as teenagers. All educated students bring valuable skills and knowledge to their communities.

A key element of every BEEP initiative is the formation of a Bicycle Supervisory Committee (BSC). The BSC is made up of community members and students who are responsible for selecting bicycle recipients, enforcing student contracts, and monitoring program success. The BSC model ensures that the community feels a sense of ownership over the BEEP initiative, which increases its chance of success.

Population(s) Served

Overview: Buffalo Bicycles, Ltd. is a wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary of World Bicycle Relief and a key element of our innovative model. Profits from the sale of Buffalo Bicycles help fund World Bicycle Relief’s philanthropic programs and build a sustainable bicycle infrastructure in Africa. Our bicycles fill a tremendous market gap, and our infrastructure keeps bicycles working. Buffalo Bicycles are assembled and tested locally with close attention to end-user feedback and rigorous quality control. The result is a robust bike engineered specifically for rural African terrain and load requirements - the best bike in Africa.

Our Africa-based product development team oversees a fleet of riders who design and test current and prototype components under the most punishing field conditions. Buffalo Bicycles are compatible with locally available spare parts, and we train Field Mechanics to service bikes. This creates a sustainable system that provides new jobs and income streams to local mechanics. We seek end-user feedback for continual improvements and innovations.

Population(s) Served

The Mechanics Training program is one of World Bicycle Relief’s economic empowerment initiatives, and it supports our efforts to implement a sustainable bicycle transportation infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mechanics training is integrated into any program we run ourselves, and we also offer it as a product to our clients who purchase bicycles for use in their own programs. The goal of the program is to promote the long-term sustainability of bicycle transportation in rural Africa. Even the most robust bicycle needs maintenance, particularly in the harsh conditions of rural Africa; this program ensures that bicycle owners have access to local, qualified maintenance and repair service so they can keep their bicycles in working order. Through the Mechanics Training program, local individuals receive intensive instruction in bicycle assembly, maintenance and repair as well as basic business, marketing and management skills. Each trained mechanic receives a bicycle built during training, a technical manual, a set of high quality bicycle tools, a work uniform, and marketing materials; some mechanics also work with microlenders to establish formal businesses and purchase a stock of spare parts. To date World Bicycle Relief has trained over 750 local field mechanics in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda, effectively launching micro-enterprises across the continent.

Population(s) Served

Long distances and rugged terrain make it difficult for many people in the developing world to access healthcare. Many communities rely on Community Health Workers (CHWs), who visit and treat homebound patients. CHWs often walk long distances to reach their patients, limiting the number of patients they can see in a day and the amount of time they can spend with each one. With a bicycle, a CHW can travel four times further than on foot, making 45% more patient visits.

We work with organizations to help procure, distribute, and maintain bicycles for CHWs and other healthcare workers. Our data shows that bicycles can contribute to greater retention of volunteers within a healthcare program, resulting in higher quality care and healthier communities.

Population(s) Served

Distance and can make it challenging to earn a livelihood. Bicycles make it possible to earn a living in ways that require reliable transportation, hauling capacity, or traveling over long distances. With bicycles, one can transport more produce from farm to market, more grain to the mill, and more milk to the dairy collection center.

We collaborate with organizations and employers to sell bicycles to individuals and employees who need them for economic development. Profits from these social enterprise sales are put back into our philanthropic programs.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Top 25 Most Effective Philanthropies 2010

Barron's

Chicago Innovation Awards 2011

Chicago Innovation Awards

Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2013

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of bicycles deployed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Since 2005, World Bicycle Relief has delivered over 350,000 bicycles and trained over 1,600 bicycle mechanics in Africa, South America and South East Asia.

Total number of social enterprise sales for Healthcare

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Healthcare

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

To date, over 126,000 health care workers have received bicycles, expanding their circle of care and creating healthier individuals and communities.

Total number of social enterprise sales for Economic Development

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Economic Development

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Mobility is vital for anyone running a business or seeking a livelihood. Owning a reliable, durable and affordable Buffalo Bicycle increases access and productivity.

Total number of philanthropic distributions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We continue to build upon our sustainable Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP) in our focus program geographies. Between 2009 and 2016, we mobilized 126,104 students through BEEP.

Total number of field mechanics trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Field Mechanics Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our innovative Hub & Spoke model creates direct-to-consumer access to spare parts in regions where they’re most needed, and WBR-trained field mechanics keep bikes rolling.

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.

At WBR, we strive to help people conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence and thrive with reliable bicycle transportation. By combining philanthropic bicycle distributions with social enterprise sales, we help people in rural regions of the developing world achieve the mobility they need to thrive. Our Buffalo Bicycles are used to access education and healthcare, reduce commutes, transport goods, and improve recipients' quality of life.

We also focus on empowering women and girls with bicycles to unlock their potential and provide access to education, income and safety.

It's not just riders who benefit from WBR's programs; to support philanthropic program rollouts, we train local field mechanics to service bicycles, creating new income streams for these entrepreneurs. WBR also runs assembly facilities in several of the regions where we work, creating jobs and infrastructure for local employees.

Our primary strategy is to distribute bicycles to rural students who need bicycles to conquer the long distance to school. We also sell bicycles to organizations and entrepreneurs who need reliable, rugged transportation. Combining both strategies builds widespread bicycle infrastructure that can sustainably support all riders and generate a deeper impact. Plus, social enterprise sales also help fund philanthropic distributions, making every donor dollar stretch further by lowering philanthropic program costs. By addressing the entire bicycling market in rural regions, we create many opportunities for smart innovations that can benefit all riders. We are responsive to our end-user needs and are constantly looking for ways to improve.

We have been working in rural Africa since 2006, and our operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Kenya are fully staffed. Our approach addresses the underlying causes of poverty, such as gender inequality, lack of mobility, and lack of education. Buffalo Bicycles give individuals the means and freedom to transform their lives as they want. Constant innovation in both our programs and our products, inspired by the needs of our end-users, ensure that we are delivering truly useful solutions to those who need them.

There is still unmet need for reliable, affordable transportation in rural regions of the developing world. Our primary goal is to meet that need and mobilize vulnerable populations with purpose-built bicycles. Through the years, we have established our core program areas & continued to build upon that success in those regions. For example, we are expanding our reach in Malawi in 2017 and are now expanding our reach to Colombia in 2020. We are committed to working toward the UN's Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating poverty, eliminating hunger, promoting good health and well-being, making quality education accessible, promoting gender equality, and sustainable transportation for all. Collaborations with corporate partners like ING Bank and Postobon have resulted in improved mobility for students in areas outside of rural Africa. We plan to expand our corporate partnership program in the future. We continuously look to the field to learn how we can improve our programs and bring more bicycles to more individuals. Dialogue with our end-users, field mechanics, teachers, dealers, and partners in development and government is crucial to our work. We listen carefully to better understand their needs. Based on our learnings, we are: Strengthening the community-based Bicycle Supervisory Committees to take greater ownership in selecting and monitoring student bicycle recipients Deepening training for bicycle recipients on riding skills, preventative maintenance, and repairs Extending BEEP's “Study-to-Own" student contracts through graduation to encourage retention and academic achievement Reinforcing the bicycle fork design and including front-wheel hand-brakes for student bicycles Expanding the training programs and increasing the number of trained WBR Field Mechanics to better support the communities where we work Investing in Buffalo-branded shops and dealer networks to create greater access to spare parts Over the next 5 years, we intend to strengthen the bicycle infrastructure in our core program areas to support more riders, bring bicycles to new areas in need, and develop more institutional partnerships to deepen our impact.

Financials

WORLD BICYCLE RELIEF NFP
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Operations

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

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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WORLD BICYCLE RELIEF NFP

Board of directors
as of 11/4/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Brian Benzer

VP of Corporate Development, SRAM Corporation

Stanley Day

President and Chairman of the Board of SRAM Corporation

Michael Herr

Chief Financial Officer, SRAM Corporation

Brian Benzer

VP of Corporate Development, SRAM Corporation

Robert Perkowitz

Managing Partner of VivaTerra, LLC and ecoSalon, LLC and a partner in Arqua Equity Partners, LLC

Byron Dailey

Partner of Lane Powell PC

Paula Restrepo Duque

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
  • 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