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League makes grants to women's cycling programs

Published June 6, 2014

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The League of Ameican Bicyclists is announcing $3,000 in mini-grants it will make this year to support new and growing programs to engage young women in bicycling, encourage more moms to ride and advance female leadership in the bike movement.

The League's Women Bike Mini-Grant Program is now in its second year.

"The Women Bike movement is expanding at a rapid rate with creative initiatives and innovative ideas helping to change the face of bicycling in communities across the country," said Carolyn Szczepanski, the League's director of communications and Women Bike. "We couldn't be more excited to help propel proven and promising initiatives from Bike Easy, West Town Bikes, Bike Works, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Multicultural Communities for Mobility that are providing job skills, advocacy training, youth engagement, and hands-on expos that are empowering more women, of all ages, to take advance of the many benefits of bicycling."

The recipient organizations and projects in this round of Women Bike mini-grants include:

Bike Easy (New Orleans), Youth Spokeswomen Mentorship Program. $1,000 mini-grant

Bike Easy and NOLA Women on Bikes' goal is to increase representation of women from diverse backgrounds in the bicycling community while cultivating paid leadership opportunities for youth in New Orleans. "The Youth Spokeswomen Mentorship is a ground-breaking partnership program in New Orleans that offers leadership skills and valuable paid work experience within a bicycle-related business," says Naomi Doerner, executive director of Bike Easy. "By specifically giving this opportunity to a young woman, it will also help to increase representation of women in the bicycle industry, where there is a significant gender gap, especially for women of color. The Youth Spokeswomen Mentorship is our way of creating opportunities for talented young women to make an impact in our vibrant city, increasing youth employment, and creating a more equitable and representative bicycle and active transportation advocacy community in New Orleans."

Bike Works (Seattle) Family Biking Immersion Seminars and Expos. $750 mini-grant
Bike Works has been a leader in building sustainable communities in the Seattle area by educating youth and promoting bicycling though programs, workshops and partnerships. "One of our partnerships is with Familybike Seattle, an organization that encourages families to find the appropriate bikes to transport their families to and from school, the grocery store, parks and all needed destinations," said Deb Salls, executive director of Bike Works. "We know many trips taken by car are 3 miles or less -- and we know that if people feel confident and well-equipped they'll be more likely to take those trips by bike. Our Family Bike expos and seminars help families gain those skills and find the right equipment for their family's needs."

West Town Bikes (Chicago), Girls Bike Club. $750 mini-grant
An inspiration at the Youth Bike Summit over the past several years, the young women of West Town Bikes are creating a model for a truly youth-led, female-oriented presence in the traditionally male-dominated bike shop space. "West Town Bikes' Girls Bike Club is changing the perception of biking in their community and getting more of their peers to hop on a bike for fun, building life skills and developing relationships with friends and their community," said Alex Wilson, executive director of West Town Bikes. "Girls Bike Club was created by a group of female high school students participating in a summer apprenticeship who began meeting every week to form their own unique group. Creating a welcoming space within the often male-dominated shop atmosphere, the young women of color plan rides together, make jewelry from bike parts and even have time set aside for homework help -- not only creating friendships, but also cultivating healthy lifestyles and job skills along the way."

Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition + Multicultural Communities for Mobility. $500 mini-grant
A new, joint initiative of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Multicultural Communities for Mobility, this pilot program will increase women's capacity to become community leaders by giving them a basic understanding of public policy; the relationship between biking, health, family and community; and the importance of coalitions for providing the support needed to do this work. Workshops will cover the role of biking in public health; smart riding skills and commuting basics; social media/effective marketing; and coalitions and advocates' impact on policy. "This project will reach out to women to tap into their abilities to create positive change in the bicycling community and empower them to take steps that will lead to action," said LACBC's Daniella Alcedo. "These bike rides, workshops and social events will help make civic engagement and advocacy participation more inviting and accessible to women who may not have been interested in or familiar with work related to advancing bicycle programs in the community and at the state level," adds MCM's Maria Sipin.

Topics associated with this article: Advocacy/Non-profits

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