World Bicycle Relief, a Chicago-based not for profit that was created by bike industry leaders SRAM Corporation & Trek Bicycle in 2005 to aid victims of the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, and is currently providing quality bicycles to people in need in sub Saharan Africa, has made Barron's Top 25 List (#12) for the most impactful philanthropists of 2010.
Since 2005, World Bicycle Relief has distributed 71,416 improved-design, culturally-appropriate bicycles to students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs in Asia and Africa. These bicycles help students get to school, connect healthcare workers to people living with HIV & AIDS in rural areas and enable farmers to carry heavy loads and get to market with their goods. These 71,416 bicycles have reached and improved the lives of 702,080 people.
“A bicycle in the U.S. is a recreational vehicle or an alternative form of transportation. In developing countries a bicycle can mean the difference between getting to school, to a doctor or making a living or not. Simple, sustainable mobility is one of the most un-recognized tools of development work there is,” says F.K. Day, president, World Bicycle Relief. “Yet what we found in Africa was a fundamental gap in the market that wasn't being filled — the availability of quality, sturdy and culturally appropriate bicycles to the millions of its residents living at the bottom of the market.”
By partnering with other relief groups and using existing supply chains, World Bicycle Relief has created an efficient, sustainable method for delivering aid to high-risk populations that offers not just a means of transportation, but access to independence and livelihood.