Another year in the books! 2018 was our 16th year on the road, and boy it was sweet. Our 5 teams did what we do best all summer long - eat, sleep, bike, and build.
This year was a year of growth, exploration, and problem solving for Bike & Build. Our 3 week Coastal Drift route was expanded to a full South to North cross-country ride, Keys to Canada. We organized two alumni rides, and are in the planning stages of another. We partnered with two marathons for alumni to run to raise money for Bike & Build.
Bike & Build has been experiencing some financial dilemmas since we cut our routes down in 2017 - we have been working hard to find solutions and ease our woes. We launched an alumni giving campaign, have continued growing our partnerships, and have hunkered down to fill our 2019 teams!
As a staff and board, we have nothing but energy and excitement moving forward to 2019 and beyond.
Bike & Build Staff & Board
Bike & Build engages young adults in service-oriented cycling trips to raise money and awareness for the affordable housing cause. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that fosters a sustained connection to community. We advocate for the need for affordable housing in thousands of communities across the country.
Through service-oriented cycling trips, Bike & Build benefits affordable housing and empowers young adults for a lifetime of service and civic engagement.
We envision future generations who are committed to a lifetime of civic engagement and who inspire individuals and communities to create fair, decent housing for all Americans.
Matt “Beef” Gleason was a rider on NUS’16. This past summer, he joined Bike & Build again, this time as a leader for SUS’18. Even more recently, Beef jumped onto the Lone Star Loop alumni ride in Texas over the new year.
Beef grew up in Broomfield, Colorado. In his free time he bikes, runs, climbs, camps, plays ultimate frisbee, and dreams of his next ride with Bike & Build.
After NUS’16, Beef joined AmeriCorps and began serving with the “I Have A Dream” Foundation of Boulder County. The focus is in assisting under resourced youth and their families in an effort to bring success in school, college, and a career. This is done primarily through after school programming that focuses on academics, social, and emotional development from elementary school through college. He joined the cohort of students that he has been serving half way through 5th grade and will be continuing with them in some capacity through 8th grade.
“Kids are cool, education is very important, but also incredibly fragile, and there are always things that can be improved,” says Beef.
I asked how he is committed to service post Bike & Build, but I think that his actions and realm of work really speak for themselves.
Beef plans to grow his involvement with affordable housing for years to come, with aspirations of going back to school for urban & city planning. He says, “I plan to continue working with homeless population in an effort to be apart of the solution. One of my current ‘low key’ dreams is to start an organization similar to what Greg Boyle has done in L.A., but for the homeless…If you haven’t read Tattoos on the Heart, get ya eyes on it. Then we can talk about how to get this non-profit off the ground.”
Matt is an all star alum that we are proud to have in our community. He exemplifies the Bike & Build mission and lifestyle beyond his time out on the road with us. We can’t wait to have him ride again!
Just for fun - here is one of Matt’s favorite ride days on NUS’16:
“Riding into Glacier 2016. Growing up with the Rockies in my backyard, I took those things for granted. It certainly took time away from them to realize that. Do you know how neat they are? Pretty darn. It was also the first quality time I had spent in a National Park…what I was doing before, who really knows? I will forever remember the descent into the visitors center- feeling so free and at ease bombing down the mountain at 45 mph with uncontrollable tears of pure joy. So good. That day was the real deal baby.”
This year we launched an alumni giving campaign, Every Rider, Every Year. This campaign’s goal is to engage our alumni from past years to help support Bike & Build’s sustainability for years to come. Since the campaign’s launch in mid-2018 we are projected to raise over $60,000, and we think that’s pretty amazing.
So far, over 440 alumni have supported us through recurring monthly donations, yearly donations, and special fundraising events. We are far from reaching our annual goal of $200,000 but have laid the groundwork for maximizing this campaign as we move forward.
Thank you to each and every supporter of Every Rider, Every Year!
In 2018 we had our first team ride from Key West, FL to Calais, ME along the Atlantic Ocean. Following the East Coast Greenway, Keys to Canada rode from bottom to top, ending at the Canadian border. This was our most build-heavy route last summer. With a cluster of builds in southern Florida, riders aided in rebuilding communities heavily affected by natural disasters. They then continued to roll north through some of the most populous southern cities - Savannah, Myrtle Beach, then jumped into the Tar Heel State and on to Virginia before making their way to our Nation’s Capital. Once north of the Mason-Dixon, the team was welcomed into our hometown of Philadelphia before sending them on their way to the Big Apple, through New England, and towards the depths of northern Maine.
Not only did K2C get to jump in the ocean many times throughout their summer, they were also met by many alumni in the East Coast hubs they rode through, showered in potlucks and always had a tub of nutella gifted to them.
In September, we gathered a group of alumni to pilot a mountain bike ride through National Forest land throughout southern Idaho. For ten days, this small Dirt Drift team rode along forest roads, gravel roads, and limited pavement, camping and exploring what an off-road Bike & Build trip could be like. After building in Boise and learning about the local affordable housing landscape, the team saddled up astride knobby-tired bikes and shredded through the Sawtooths, never missing an opportunity to dip in some steamy springs.
We held our inaugural Lone Star Loop alumni ride in the Texas Hill Country over New Years. 24 alumni joined us in Austin for orientation and a build day, then set off for a 5 day ride that brought us through longhorn ranches, taco joints, and karaoke bars. This ride was a fantastic alumni engagement event and we are looking forward to doing it again this coming winter!
Thanks to the Chris Webber Memorial Scholarship, Margaret Lowe Scholarship, Pat Zuza Scholarship, and Alumni Council Scholarship funds we were able to award 5 full cross-country scholarships, 2 partial cross-country scholarships, and 2 full Drift scholarships.
We received an unbelievable donation to our Alumni Council Scholarship fund that has ensured our scholarship program will continue to open doors for more young adults for years to come!
Roots of Renewal • NOLA
$3,250 - NUS
Roots of Renewal NOLA is a community development nonprofit located in New Orleans, focusing on the successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated young adults, the elimination of blight and decay in New Orleans, as well as the creation of affordable housing projects. 2019 finds the organization putting the finishing touches on their 2nd piece of renovated property in the 7th ward of New Orleans, providing a new home for a deserving family.
The grant given to Roots of Renewal came at a crucial time for the organization, allowing them to purchase necessary components for finishing the renovation of a previously abandoned property. With this property completed, Roots of Renewal NOLA will continue to help build affordable housing in the New Orleans area, while continuing to help formerly incarcerated young men reintegrate back into society.
“These funds were a blessing that we could never express enough gratitude for. The fact that Bike & Build cares enough about our organization and our community is incredible”, said Executive Director Kat Rieder. “We are honored and privileged to have been considered by your riders as an organization to receive these hard earned fundraised dollars.”
unCommon Construction • New Orleans, LA
$3,510 - SUS
unCommon Construction is a New Orleans based nonprofit who uses the build process to empower youth to lead the workforce after high school or college. They currently have 16 paid high school apprentices building a 1300 sq foot single family home in New Orleans’ historic Treme neighborhood, which will be sold at at an affordable rate through a local partnership.
“The funding we’ve received from Bike & Build is playing a critical role in the way unCommon Construction develops a sense of team unity and belonging amongst our high school apprentices”, said Executive Director Aaron Frumin. The partnership between unCommon Construction and Bike & Build has continued to grow over the years, as they have been both a grant recipient and build site host for our Southern route multiple times. “Bike & Builders who served as volunteers were awesome, enthusiastic mentors for high school apprentices, giving them a sense of the kinds of world-expanding opportunities they might reach in the future”.
Abby Kelley Foster House • Worcester, MA
$2,750 - NUS
Abby’s House works to provide shelter and housing, as well as advocacy and support services to homeless, battered, and low-income women, with or without children. Abby’s House is in the midst of renovating all major systems to increase accessibility of their largest building of supportive housing in Worcester, MA. Upon completion, 56 single room occupancy units will be available and ready to support and provide shelter to many women in need.
Abby’s House will be using the Bike & Build grant funds to continue to provide women and children who are at risk of being homeless with safe, supportive housing that will allow them to rebuild their lives. Along with renovating their largest housing property, Abby’s house aims to expand their existing programs, serving even more disadvantaged women in the greater Boston area.
“It is through the generosity of organizations such as Bike & Build that we are able to provide safe, supportive housing for women who are at risk of being homeless.”
Casey lead NUS’17 and after giving her notice as construction manager at Habitat DC, she was literally scooped up by a 15 passenger van and started her position as our newest Program Director by jumping right into summer travel to leader and rider orientations. Coming from Milwaukee, Casey loves cheese, -16 degree weather, and snuggling up with a book.
Alan rode with SUS’17 and hopped on as our Office Coordinator in 2018. He hails from Laramie, Wyoming, enjoys rock climbing, 3D printing, and reminiscing about his hot & humid summer with Southern.
In November, we partnered with the Philadelphia Marathon to create Team Bike & Build. The team of 24 alumni & friends ran a collective 393 miles in the name of affordable housing and raised nearly $10,000 for Bike & Build's Every Rider, Every Year Campaign. One alum ran the full marathon in his camelbak and safety triangle! That's commitment.
Dozens of alumni came out to help serve and host a pasta dinner, to cheer along the route, and to celebrate the big accomplishments of our runners.
Watching people finish a race is always a joyous occasion, but it was extra special and heartwarming to have so many of our alumni commit to a personal goal, see them cross the finish line, and dedicate their efforts to Bike & Build.
Since the Philadelphia Marathon was such a wonderful event, we have partnered with the Colfax Marathon in Denver this coming May. We are looking forward to Team Bike & Build for a second time, running for affordable housing, making new friends, and re-engaging with the organization.
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As we prepare for the 2019 summer, we will be riding 3 cross-country routes: Northern US, Central US, and Southern US. Drift West continues as our 3-week regional route up in the stunning Pacific Northwest. We look forward to continuing to offer more alumni rides, as the Lone Star Loop through the Texas Hill Country was such a success. This summer we will offer a week long ride on the coast of California to better engage our West Coast alumni!
We plan on continuing to find more opportunities like the Philadelphia and Colfax Marathons to partner with, as they provide not only meaningful engagement with Bike & Build and the alumni community, but help us diversify our revenue sources.
As an organization we continue to structure our 5 year Strategic Plan. A major pillar that Bike & Build will be focusing on is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We feel that honing in on DE&I is not only a crucial step for the organization, but will also help us better reflect our values and mission. Diversity amongst our organization on all levels will allow us to grow stronger in numerous areas; with diversity comes greater range of impact on our leaders, riders, hosts, partners, build partners, and grantees. Our first step as an organization is learning how to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion into each layer of what we do here at Bike & Build through outside expertise, trainings, and focusing on individual & organizational understanding.
We are energetic and enthusiastic to continue pedaling forward.
Thank you to our 2018 riders and leaders, to our donors, hosts, partners, alumni, friends, and family! We couldn’t do it without y’all!
Onward and upward!