Categories
News

Join Our Nonprofit Board

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Board Application (PDF)

Do you care about sustainable transportation, serving diverse people in need, and making a difference in your community? Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is seeking volunteers for our nonprofit board of directors. For the past few years, Sharing Wheels has been in a period of change and growth. To help guide our nonprofit into the future, one of our greatest needs right now is having a mission-focused board that can strategize and prioritize, with members who will ask important questions, help find answers, and reach out into the community. The board meets the third Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Elections to 1-year terms are held in January at our annual meeting. Board appointments to fill vacancies or expand the board (up to 9 members) can happen anytime. Right now, we are hoping to appoint some new members willing to serve through at least the end of next year (December 2021). The Board Responsibilities (PDF) document describes the basic expectations of our board, along with links to background documents such as our Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation, Annual Report, Budget, and Board Member Agreement. After you’ve reviewed some of our board expectations, I would be happy to answer any questions via email, phone, Zoom or by meeting at the shop.

We seek Board members who bring a diversity of age, race, cultural background, economic background, and experience, such as:

  • Business or retail management
  • Nonprofit and community connections
  • Finance or fundraising
  • Homeless and social services

Here’s the board_application (PDF) – mail or bring to shop anytime.

Categories
News

Remembering board member Scott Schmitz

Scott with his van and a kids bike
Scott Schmitz delivers bikes to Christmas House last year.

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

On Aug. 27 Executive Director Christy Cowley shared this message with our board: “It is with deep sadness that I write to each of you this morning to let you know that our friend and fellow board member, Scott Schmitz, has passed away. “

His family ran an obituary for Scott in the Everett Herald, his hometown newspaper. They suggest memorial donations to Sharing Wheels, or to a scholarship in Scott’s name at Washington State University, his alma mater.

Scott was an extremely dedicated volunteer for Sharing Wheels. At age 29, he was our youngest board member by far, and brought that youthful energy and ideas matched with great intelligence and wisdom.

The son of Everett residents Nick and Debbie Schmitz, he brought 8 years industry experience working for companies like Gregg’s Cycles, B&L Bicycles and Specialized Bicycle Components. He had a strong appreciation for all things mechanical and studied mechanical engineering at Washington State University. He loved living and mountain biking in Bellingham, WA, but spent much of the past year living and traveling around the West in a van he customized for that purpose. Even so, he never missed a board meeting and remained engaged in envisioning a bright future for Sharing Wheels.

Scott cared a lot about Sharing Wheels as an organization because he loved bikes. But he also cared because he saw – and knew in his own life – how important our community space can be for people who need comfort, a sense of competence, something to hold onto that is real (a bike) but that also represents freedom and the feelings you can exorcise while riding a bicycle.

Scott served as our Shop Operations Chair, and worked diligently to develop tools and systems to help both board and staff manage the bike shop. He planned and led our major shop clean-up and reorganization that started last fall and was completed in early 2020. The way the shop works now – better set up for everyone we serve – is to his credit.

Scott wrote several grant applications for us. In 2018 we got $6,500 from the Nysether Family Foundation for organizational development work thanks to his eloquent description of what we do, who we serve and why it matters:

“As the only non-profit bike shop in Snohomish County, we at Sharing Wheels believe bicycles are the fundamental link in the cogs which drive our everyday life. .. Just as bikes are more than just children’s toys, Sharing Wheels is more than just a bike shop. Bicycles serve a diverse purpose for people of all ages; offering freedom from disabling conditions, opportunity for self-reliance, and the ability to connect with and grow respect for our environment. One visit to the shop and it’s easy to see how fundamental our services are to not just the community but, specifically, the underrepresented population.”

His brother made a sketch that illustrates Scott’s free spirit, which we plan to frame and post in the shop in Scott’s memory – and to inspire the many adventures possible by bike. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the sketch, the family will donate all proceeds to Sharing Wheels. Look for more information about this in our September newsletter (you can “Join Our Email List” at the bottom of this page).

 

Categories
Donations News

Donors GaveBIG

Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Like so many small businesses and nonprofits, our finances were looking a bit shaky early this spring. The shop was closed for three weeks as we considered how to safely operate in COVID times. Even when the shop reopened, COVID had canceled classes and events like the Kids Bike Swap. Our bank account dropped $12,000 as expenses exceeded revenue. The Sharing Wheels Board took a deep breath.

That’s when many of you stepped up to GiveBIG. Thanks to matching contributions and 40 donors who gave from $20 to $1,000, we raised $8,511 during the statewide campaign. Another $2,200 came in the month following GiveBIG.

Your support bought helmets and new bike parts for our Kids Bike Giveaway program (see related article). It lets us loan tools for free to low income customers. We’re restarting classes – smaller for COVID reasons – without having to worry about the “break-even” point.

Even though bike shops have been considered “essential businesses” by the state and allowed to remain open (because bikes are transportation, not just toys), it’s been a difficult time. Knowing that you, too, think our work is essential has been a big boost – not just to the bank account, but also to our spirits.

Our board is fully committed to our mission – using bikes as vehicles for empowerment, affordability, sustainability and education. Thank you so much for supporting that vision.

Categories
News

2019 Annual Report

Committing to Our Mission

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Every nonprofit should have a purpose, a problem you are trying to solve. Simply getting bikes is not the problem, for us or our customers. We had more than 300 bikes donated to us last year!

The problem is that bikes need maintenance and repairs. And people don’t have the tools or know-how to fix them. That’s the basis for our new mission statement:

 Keeping People and Bikes Moving – with E.A.S.E.

Sharing Wheels Mission

We spell out how we achieve our mission below. To keep focused on it, we hired our first (part-time) executive director at the end of the year. A new shop manager starts in January 2020. But the most important work of Sharing Wheels could not be done without our volunteers. 

We couldn’t repair all the bikes, help customers fix their own bikes, or make the impact that we do without dedicated volunteers giving us their time and talents. Volunteers keep bikes affordable, empower people with one-on-one mentoring, learn bike maintenance themselves, and make our nonprofit sustainable.  50 people gave 1,800 hours last year – equal to a full-time staff person.

Empowerment

Open Shop: The tools and bike stands at Sharing Wheels are available for anyone to use, no charge. Free advice is provided by Sharing Wheels staff or experienced volunteers. 4-10 people each week; 73% identify as low income.

Bike Lights: Low income customers who use their bikes for daily transportation can get free front and rear lights.  37 lights installed.

Affordability

Bike & Parts Sales: Sales of refurbished bikes and used parts are the main source of income for Sharing Wheels. We make sure to have bikes at all price points, so everyone can afford a decent ride. 250 bikes sold.

Work for Wheels: Customers without cash can volunteer time in the shop to earn the parts or bike they need to get around.  10 work-trade participants.

Sustainability

Kids Bikes: Volunteers fix used kids bikes each spring and fall for our Kids Bike Swap and Christmas House programs. We add the new parts and elbow grease needed to keep old bikes going for a new generation. 102 bikes went home with kids during our June Bike Swap. 108 bikes donated to Christmas House.

Bikes to Africa: Some bikes that would never sell still have value. We donate excess bicycles to the Village Bike Project and Vision 224. 111 bikes to Africa

Education

Repair Classes: We had only a few formal bike maintenance classes in 2019, but have recommitted to this important part of our mission in 2020.

Events: County Earth Day, Bike Everywhere Day, WSU Repair Cafes, Family Rides in Arlington and Marysville. Riverside Neighborhood National Night Out.

WorkSource Intern: We hosted a young man for 90 hours of job training.

2019 Budget

Adopted budget.

Revenue

Bike Sales$37,248
Parts Sales23,580
Donations$17,400
Grants$10,500
Classes$1,472
Total$96,200

 

 

Expenses

Salaries$55,002
Bike Parts$14,599
Rent$10,500
Insurance/Fees$6,650
Administrative$2,775
Other Shop$4,800
Total$94,236

Grants & In-Kind Support

  • Nysether Family Foundation – $6,500 grant 
  • BIKES Club of Snohomish County – $2,000 grant
  • Everett Port Gardner Rotary Club – $1,750 grant
  • Tulalip Tribes – $1,000 grant
  • Boeing Employee matching funds – $1,000
  • Sno-Isle Food CoOp – $917 “register round-up” donation, meeting space
  • Evergreen Unitarian Universalist Church – $500 donation, group work party
  • Snohomish Giving Circle – $400 donation
  • 501 Commons – Satterberg Foundation – in-kind support

 

Categories
News Volunteers

Join Our Board

Updated November 2019

Board Application (PDF)

Do you care about sustainable transportation, serving diverse people in need, and making a difference in your community? Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is seeking volunteers for our nonprofit board of directors.

Board members commit to monthly Board meetings, and may take on additional committee or outreach work as well. Expect to give 4 to 8 hours of time each month. You’ll get the satisfaction of helping Sharing Wheels mature and grow. (There are other volunteer benefits, too!)

We have just hired our first executive director and soon a new shop manager. Staff are in charge of running the bike shop, classes, and bike donation programs. The board’s role is to make sure the organization as a whole is funded and serves our mission of “Keeping People and Bikes Moving.”

We seek Board members who bring a diversity of age, race, cultural background, economic background, and experience, such as:

  • Business or retail management
  • Nonprofit and community connections
  • Finance or fundraising 
  • Homeless and social services

Board members are usually elected to one-year terms each January, but can also be appointed by the board at any time.

We have at least two and up to four openings starting in 2020.

If you are interested, or if you know of someone who you think would be a great Board member, please contact: board president Kristin Kinnamon at bikenbus @gmail.com or 425-923-7868.

Here’s the board_application (PDF) – mail or bring to shop anytime.

Categories
News

Changes: New Mission, Same Goals

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Every nonprofit should have a purpose, a problem we are trying to solve. At Sharing Wheels, our tagline for years has been “Connecting unused bikes to people who need wheels.” People donate bike they don’t use to us, we fix them and pass them on.

But we’ve realized recently that getting a bike is really not the biggest problem for our friends and customers. You can find bikes at thrift stores, garage sales, on Craigslist, and in front of many a homeless camp.

The problem is that bikes break. And people don’t know how to fix them.  So people can’t count on their wheels to get around, and bikes get dusty and rusty.

We knew that was something we wanted to help with back in 2002, when we wrote our Articles of Incorporation as a nonprofit. The document describes our purpose as:

  • To provide information and education about bicycles and their maintenance and use
  • To encourage adults and youth to maintain and use bicycles, and
  • To encourage the use of bicycles in Snohomish County as a means of building community and alternative transportation.

If you’ve visited our shop lately, you’ve seen that we have kept true to our purpose all these years. There’s always someone fixing a flat with our tools, getting a bolt for their rack, learning how to adjust their gears.

Each fall and winter dozens of volunteers help us refurbish kids bikes. And while we haven’t successfully hosted any adult repair classes this year, we have a few classes on the schedule this fall and more coming.

A mission statement can be used to help the public understand what an organization does. But it’s also used by the board to judge what we should do. We need to focus our limited resources, staff and volunteers on the things that matter and make the most difference.

That’s why the Sharing Wheels board has spent many hours over the past year discussing and debating our mission. We thought about our current programs, how our shop is used today and how we want it to be used, about the small things we do, and the big picture.

We wanted something simple, that we could remember and recite when we are promoting our work. What our mission boils down to is:

Keeping People and Bikes Moving

To explain how we do that, it’s EASE:

Empowerment: giving people access to tools, shop, and advice

Affordability: A bike for every budget

Sustainability: Reusing and recycling donated bikes

Education: Repair classes for customers, volunteers and community

Our new mission statement is inspiring us to make changes (see Parts 1 and 3), but also to recommit to what we do best: helping people ride bikes.

You can contribute to our mission: By donating a bike, giving money, volunteering at a work party, taking a class, or coming in to see what cool bikes we have fixed up this week.

Categories
News

Changes: Hiring Our First Executive Director

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

I was around when Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop was established in 2002, watching Ron and Kristi offer free bike repairs at the Everett Gospel Mission once a month. I saw the first board president’s garage fill with bikes and parts, and watched our first earn-a-bike kid joyfully ride his new wheels (that he’d fixed himself) down the alley.

We’ve moved to our own shop and a different alley since then, and had many other changes as a nonprofit. But we have remained committed to serving a diverse clientele of people who use and love bicycles.

Just three years ago, we hired our first paid staff. That has helped to triple our revenue. But growth has also increased the complexity and responsibilities of our nonprofit.

After a year-long organizational review, the Sharing Wheels Board of Directors has decided we need more professional leadership than our volunteer board can provide.

It’s time to hire our first ever executive director. The board seeks to hire someone who can implement our new strategic plan, by developing the people (staff and volunteers), place (bike shop), programs (such as classes and work-trade) and procedures that will make us a more effective, mission-driven organization.

Here’s the official executive director job description (PDF).

The position is part-time because that’s what we can afford. But even so, we believe we can attract someone who wants to make a difference, either early in their career, or as they wind down professional work. The director will be assisted by our shop staff , along with volunteers and a very dedicated board.

Hiring our first executive director is a leap of faith – we can’t fully fund the position with current revenue. But we believe the position is sustainable in the long-term, once we get programs and partnerships established. Meanwhile, we are counting on grants and donations from individual supporters – like the people reading this blog post (you!)

We also need your help spreading the word about this unique job opportunity. The perfect candidate is not necessarily a bike nut or mechanic.  They just need to care about sustainable transportation, serving diverse people in need, and partnering with a nonprofit board.

This post is Part 1 of 3 about changes at Sharing Wheels. Part 2 is about our mission. Part 3 is about our shop space.