The Chainlink

Bikes N' Roses - what's next? How can our Chainlink community help?

We need programs like Bikes N' Roses. And when I heard the story about the man walking a crazy number of miles to work go viral and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in a few weeks, I had high hopes of Bikes N' Roses. Their youth employment program is so important to our city, it won a grant (before the new governor stopped the funding). 

The Go Fund Me campaign has been up for weeks but it's not raising the money needed to help Oscar and his organization. I was so happy to see the article in the Sun Times this morning and I really hope that means more donations but I think we still need to ask the question - how can we help? 

So I am throwing it out there - what can we, The Chainlink community, do to help them? How can we help them get to their initial goal of $70k? Do we all share the Go Fund Me and the story with our friends? Facebook, Twitter, etc. Do we organize a fund raiser for them? All ideas welcome - let's roll up our sleeves and figure it out, together. 

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The silence in response to this is deafening.  Is everyone just overwhelmed, or do we just not care about a program that was well on its way to helping youth get a leg up?  I suspect that some folks have shared the story on the social media sites, but it is obvious that is not enough.

Seems unlikely that the community will support a fundraiser since there have not been any responses here, but maybe there could at least be a collection jar at the next Bar Night.  If folks have whatever it costs to buy a few beers, maybe they could put the cost of one beer in the jar.

Of course if everyone who is now a member of the Chainlink would give even $5 they would be pretty well on their way. And I know there are CL'ers who have already given more than that. However, I think Yasmeen's idea was to come up with ideas that the Chainlink community could implement to help reach the goal. The goal of the fundraising is $70K.  So far they have about $4700.  It is unlikely that we can raise the $65,000 or so that they still need, but we ought to be able to raise funds and raise awareness.  I am not very creative, but will be more than happy to do a job.  Can't the creative folks here come up with ideas and then people like me can do something to make the ideas work?

Thanks Lisa, I am going to try to come up with some creative ideas when I get a spare moment. I am hoping we can figure out something to help them and make a difference. I'll bring my iPad tomorrow to bar night if people are up for donating while they are there. And a "Bikes N Roses Tip Jar" too. Maybe this is just the thing we need to keep alive through out the year so that when people have a little money, they can direct it to BNR. I have an email in to Oscar asking what they need. Maybe we can build an amazon wish list?

I just noticed that Performance is doing a fundraiser for the Velodrome.  Any way to get shops to help out for Bikes n' Roses?

So here's a recap of ideas... 

1. Lisa had the great idea of involving local bike shops. Any volunteers?

2. Bike drive! They need bikes and it's hard to find the time to go out and get them. They are looking for donations. Anyone have a vehicle and the ability to bring the bikes to the shop?

3. T-shirt - I'm going to see about designing a Chainlink-BNR t-shirt with 100% of the profit going to BNR. It will be priced a little higher to help donate and you get a cool t-shirt.

4. Tomorrow night we will have a BNR tip jar/donation capture at the Chainlink Bar Night too. 

5.  Any other ideas? Bike wash? Anything? I feel like we could do things through-out the spring/summer to keep the momentum and visibility going. If you can "own" a fundraising activity, please let us know. 

Thanks to everyone that came out for our Chainlink Bar Night last Thursday - our Bikes N Roses donation jar raised $100 for BNR. It was submitted on their Go Fund Me site. I will need to gather more raffle give-aways for the next bar night. If you are a local business and you have some swag/gifts you can donate, please contact me yasmeen@thechainlink.org. I'm going to make this a monthly donation jar. 

When I first read about this a few weeks ago, it was great to see how many people quickly came out to give significant donations of $50, $100 or more.  I recognized many named on the Go Fund Me wall from the biking community and the Albany Park neighborhood where BNR is located. It is clear there are many people who supported this because they are passionate about biking and opportunities for youth.  However, I would not be surprised if they have already received the bulk of the contribution they are going to receive this way. 

I like all the other ideas you proposed, but I also wonder if in order to ultimately sustain BNR year after year the ultimate solution would be for this program to become an initiative of something like Active Transportation Alliance or become connected with a more sizable non-profit, such as World Bicycle Relief. I believe that BNR was initially formed under a non-profit community organization in Albany Park, but I suspect the don't have any deep pockets to give additional funds to BNR, so I wonder if such other partnerships might be the next step.

In the meantime, I think all the little things we do (such as the BNR tip jar at the Chainlink Bar Night and promoting our own donations to friends via social media) will continue to move the bar little by little.

I think the tshirt idea is pretty cool.

Also am I the only one surprised that there were no bike washes post-road salt season? I was hoping for at least one, so maybe I'm not alone. Maybe they could go along with CX races?

Great idea! Anyone want to lead the bike wash event? I'm going to sponsor the t-shirts and have a designer put something nice together for us. 

I've asked Oscar to put together a wish list - he usually needs supplies like paper towels, toilet paper, and other general non-bike related products. I think a wish list on Amazon could probably help get supplies to them. 

We are also bringing back the donation jar to April's Chainlink bar night. Maria from Po Campo was kind enough to donate a black Loop Pannier as a raffle prize. I'll also be throwing in some goodies to give away. We're hoping to surpass last month's $100 donation. 

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