How & Why
88bikes was started in 2006 by Dan Austin, Nicolas Arauz, and Jared Austin.
In November 2006, 88bikes started its first project in partnership with the Friends of Cambodian Children, to raise funds for 88 bikes.
After exceeding its fundraising goal in just 2 weeks, the organization gave 88 bikes to 88 kids at the Palm Tree Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in January 2007. In January of 2008, 88bikes completed its second project with the Global Youth Partnership for Africa in Patongo, Uganda, donating 200 bikes to children at a refugee camp in this war-torn region of Northern Uganda. 88bikes has since added endowment locations in Uganda, Peru, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Ghana, Mongolia and Tanzania. In addition, 88bikes provides the kids with bike maintenance training, safety workshops, group bike rides, and bike-based job skills. Since 2011, 88bikes has evolved to focus on girls, especially girls rescued from human trafficking.
How it works
88bikes carefully chooses endowment sites that are well-managed, thoroughly-vetted by trusted partner NGOs and that demonstrate commitment to 88bikes’ curriculum. We have chosen sites with great advice from friends at National Geographic, Free the Slaves, Banff Mountain film festival and Mountainfilm in Telluride, and networks of past partners such as the Global Youth Partnership for Africa and Andean Outreach. Our goal is to select places where 88bikes can have the most powerful impact, and likelihood for success; where the bikes can be reasonably accommodated, safely stored and kept in good repair; and where there is strong leadership in the school or orphanage receptive to the project.
88bikes believes strongly in the power of one-to-one philanthropy, where every stakeholder is an active participant. Each individual donation is $88 dollars, which is the approximate cost of a bike in most developing countries. Each sponsor also provides their name (or the name of a friend, if it is a gift), along with a photo of themselves.
All Sponsor bicycle donations are used to purchase and assemble the bikes… so that 100% of the donated money goes directly to the local economy and to the bike donation.
After the donations are raised, 88bikes travels to the project site in person. New bikes are purchased in-country from local merchants. Buying the bikes from regional sources infuses capital into the local economy and ensures that children receive equipment that is most suitable for their region. Any required labor for transportation, assembly, or assistance is also hired locally. All Sponsor bicycle donations are used to purchase and assemble the bikes, and for local transportation, so that 100% of the donated money goes directly to the local economy and to the bike donation. All other costs, such as setting up on-site 88bikeshops in various countries, running bike repair workshops, orchestrating bike repair apprenticeships, IT, travel, 88bikes volunteer programs, administrative costs and overhead are paid for by the Endowment Fund. Additional costs are paid for by the founders.
Each child is given his or her bike in person by the founders or an 88bikes volunteer, on behalf of the individual Sponsor who donated the bike. The child is also given a postcard with a photo of their Sponsor and a world map, indicating the Sponsor’s hometown. Photos and film of the project are made available to the Sponsors, and each Sponsor receives a thank-you letter with a photo of the child who received their bike.
We don't take any salaries, and we don't maintain an office or staff. Every $88 dollar donation given to purchase a bike is used to purchase bikes. If we can drive a good bargain with the local merchants, extra money is used to defray the cost of assembling the bikes, transporting the bikes locally, and for purchasing spare parts. We work hard to ensure that every penny donated is a direct contribution to the purpose of the project– buying bikes for kids in challenging places, and supporting the ongoing bike culture that we leave behind so that it can continue to be a source of joy and inspiration for the kids as they grow up.
In 2008, we became a registered 501(c)3 organization and started an endowment fund to support past projects and to defray some of the expenses related to accounting and project implementation that are a part of our success. Additional costs are paid for through grants or by the founders.
Contact Us Anytime.
We love to hear from people about our work - whether you are long-time supporter, someone who loves cycling, if you want to help out, or if you have questions about what we do or how to make a donation. We're here to answer any questions you have, and we usually reply within a day to all emails. If you want to talk over the phone or in person, just send us an email saying so and the best way to reach you. Donations by check can be sent to our mail box at 88bikes Foundation at 1752 NW Market Street #818, Seattle, WA 98107. You can email us anytime at Donations (at) 88bikes.org.