The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2014, April 12-13

Free Bikes 4 Kidz

Paired with The Hooded Do Gooders

FB4K Mission: Helping all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need.

FB4K is now the largest dispenser of free bikes in the country, over 20,000 given in the past few years. Here's a 90 second video that tells the story.

The FB4K Method

1. Invite public to donate used bikes to us. Every year 25 million bikes are sold in the US. One-third of those bikes are 20” wheel-size, or smaller. That means over 8 million bikes are virtually outgrown each year. Endless supply. Sustainability.

2. Organize thousands of volunteers to clean and refurbish those bikes. Every bike receives three touches before given away. Touch 1: Triage/Clean/Shine, Touch 2: Replace worn tires/chains/parts, lube, fully refurbished, Touch 3: Quality Checked by pro mechanic to insure ‘like new’ functionality and safety. A complex system FB4K has perfected.

3. Give bikes away through non profit partners. (Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, Campfire Girls, Liberian Women’s Initiative, TreeHouse, Bolder Options, Inner city schools, Native American reservations, Social Services Orgs, Churches, etc.)

The FB4K Story

• Then—2008, Started in a garage, gave away 250 bikes.

• Now—2014, 5-6000 bikes given away each year

• 20,000 bikes given away in last 6 years

• We are Green. We recycle the equivalent of a 737 airplane in metal and rubber each year.

• 100+ non-profit partners (They choose the kids to receive bikes)

• 3-4000 volunteers engaged each year. That represents 65,000 hours of volunteer time.

What new functionality we are looking for

Our greatest need right now is not a total website rebuild, but a rebuilding of several of our systems on our website. We use thousands of volunteers each year and our system to organize and schedule those volunteers needs work. (FYI, those systems are inactive right now on our website, because we are in our off-season)

We also need to look at a system to register thousands of kids who will be receiving bicycles. We work with over 100 non profit groups who actually select the kids to receive bikes. They need to furnish us with the child's name, age, gender, and height. Then we match each child up with a bike. That whole registration system needs work.

Also, we want to create a bike inventory system, so we can track the 6000+ bikes that are donated each year, and know where each bike is at, regarding location, and where it is at regarding cleaning and repair. This would greatly help us in streamlining our process.

Lastly, our website does need some work. However, like I said, it is not our number one priority.

We would also like to explore creating a mobile app for FB4K. The app could help in registering volunteers, tracking bikes, etc.

How the new functionality will help

We are just beginning our expansion to other cities in the US. Like I said earlier, we have now given away over 20,000 bikes in the twin cities. We believe that giving 5-6000 bikes each year in this metro area is sustainable, but if we grew beyond that, it could be problematic. So we intend to grow 'out', not 'up.' Our goal is to spread to cities across the US. We field requests every week from cities asking us to help them plant a chapter of FB4K in their city.

A beefed up website, that can handle differentiating city from city--in other words, a volunteer registration system that is centralized, but yet separates those wanting to volunteer in MSP vs. Denver vs. Austin…etc, will be critical to our ability to expand and manage things properly. The same is needed regarding our non-profit partner registration system for the kids receiving bikes.

I should also mention that we are just completing an exhaustive How-To Manual that lays out our whole process. We would like to incorporate that into our website so that our outstate chapters have easy access to the logistical details of the whole process.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

18 Messages from Supporters

2014-02-27 17:42:17 UTC
steve flagg

FB4K: Free Bikes For Kids:
this is a 95% volunteer run non profit. I help with off and on with everything frm bike repair to some spreadsheet work to some board function work. Not too much. But what I really love is to see the kids select and jump on a bike. They light up , get a helmet and choose the color and bike and proudly wheel it out the door after a quick fitting. It makes my holiday season special.

the work the Nerdery could do would mean FB4K could roll out to additional cities . We know how to do this event in town because we have the process in our heads. If we could take the tools into a electronic format, we could share the tools with anyone. Getting volunteers is not the problem, it si getting the organizational prowess.
Thank You for considering this,
Steve Flagg

2014-02-27 19:51:16 UTC
David Rulifson

I am amazed by the smiles from kids when they receive their "new bikes" in December. FB4K is an incredible organization which impacts thousands of kids, adults and volunteers to spread the joy of cycling and living a healthy lifestyle. The Twin Cities is one of the best cycling cities in the country and this grass roots organization will help the least among us have fun and efficient transportation for the future. The Wells Fargo Green team leadership has been amazed on how FB4K has such a "green impact" by the reuse of the materials of 6,000+ bikes. With all of these moving pieces a more robust technology backbone will help the organization move forward and make a bigger and better impact on our community as well as others.

David Rulifson
Wells Fargo Twin Cities Bike Commuter Chair

2014-02-27 19:58:24 UTC
David Wood, Volunteer, Board Member

FB4K is one of the coolest things to happen in the 40 years that I have engaged with the biking community. It changes the lives of everyone it touches, from the donars to the volunteers to the recipients and beyond. I am on the Board and have been an ethusiastic volunteer since we took in that first donation in a cold green house in December six years ago. I have SO many great stories t tell that I could write a book. There was the little 4 year old sweetheart who got her first bike and looked up at me with big brown eyes and asked, "are you an angel?" There was the volunteer with Downs Syndrome who was grinning from ear to ear because he cleaned up a bike for someone he didn't even know. There was the young man whose self-confidence was transformed because he received a bike that was beyond his wildest hope. And then...and then...there was the struggling single mom who braved a blizzard to get to our giveaway with her 11 year old, physically handicapped son. I watched them from a distance as they drifted through the rows of bikes looking for the one that didn't exist. I overheard the boy protest,"But Mom you know I end up in the emergency room everytime I try to ride a bike". Mom replied,"Maybe they can put training wheels on one your size". The mom looked toward me sadly and sighed with resignation. I immediately knew that this was no chance meeting. They had come to the right place. A few days earlier we had recieved a donation of a very high quality handicapped adult tricycle. Without a second though I said,"Wait right here" and I ran to the back room and hopped on the trike. As I rode toward them, Mom's hands went to over her mouth to suppress a gasp, and the young man galloped toward me clumsily with eager anticipation. The two of us rode around the store together, me standing on the rear axle coaching, and an elated hot-rodder learning to shift and use brakes for the first time. 20 minutes later as I stood in the snow and cold wind loading the treasure into her van there were tears streaming down Mom's cheeks. She said to me, " This is a gift I could never afford, and can never repay, but I will never forget". And that's why I love FB4K. I'm a lifer!

2014-02-27 20:09:00 UTC
Brian Siska

Most of us have, sometime in our life, discovered a bike under a tree, in a driveway or in a store that almost immediately stole our heart. Kids just know what a bike can do for them. I remembered how absolutely thrilling it was for me to get that gold Schwinn Stingray with the banana seat. That bike led to another, then another until one day a few years ago, coincidentally on a bike ride, somebody told me about Free Bikes 4 Kidz. It was another immediate attraction. How could I not want to help kids have that same feeling that I had all those years ago?
The labor of love of a few people has grown to be the largest bike give away program in the U.S. In order to get better at this work, and to get more bikes to more kids, FB4K needs to improve its systems. As the numbers grow, so does the importance of improving the flow of bikes from kids who have outgrown them to kids that will love them all over again.
One of the very best reasons I can give you for doing this work with Free Bikes 4 Kidz is that you will be invited to attend a give away event at one of our locations. I guarantee, it will be one of the best days you'll have all year.
Thanks for your time and consideration,
Brian Siska
FB4K Board Member

2014-02-27 22:59:56 UTC
Fred Borstad

It's pretty simple--bikes make kids happy. Bikes also help keep kids in shape, and help to teach them that an automobile is not always necessary to get from point A to point B. I think I am like the other board members when I say I am passionate about bikes and biking, and about sharing this passion with those kids who may not have the opportunity to have a working bike that fits.

2014-02-28 19:24:35 UTC
Amy Carroll; Social Worker at Adams Elementary

I wanted to take a minute to recognize this program. I have heard nothing but gratitude and positive feedback from the parents and students I've referred for this program. One parent wrote this in a thank you note after the event. "Thank you so much. I had bikes on layaway and didn't know how I was going to finish paying for them and this program came along. Thanks for the blessing."

Many of my students cannot afford bikes and this program really helps a lot of families. Thank you.

2014-02-28 19:31:16 UTC
New Creation Baptist Church The A.R.K. Program

I first and foremost want to give a huge thank you to FB4K for making this past Christmas the best in the lives of several of our at-risk kids that come to our after school/summer enrichment program. 90% of our kids are special need and have several diagnosis. This was the first time many of them ever had a bike! It was so precious to see the smiles, laughter and tears shed for the grateful ness in their hearts! FB4K you're the greatest! You folks truly rock!

God bless,

Rev. Dr. Daniel B. McKizzie

2014-02-28 22:07:30 UTC
Amy Olson

Our camp, One Heartland, serves children and youth - ages 7 to 15 - facing serious health challenges or social isolation. Most of our campers - more than 81 percent - live below the poverty level and have never been on a bike. This year, thanks to a generous donation by Free Bikes4 Kids, bike riding will be a regular part of camp - and they are all looking very forward to it! This donation has also had a ripple effect, with several Twin Cities bike organizations offering to visit our camp in Willow River, MN, to build new bike trails on our 97-acre grounds. It has truly brought communities together!

2014-03-03 14:35:43 UTC
CMF at Way to Grow

The family I brought to FB4K arrived 45 minutes early because the kids were so excited to receive their new bikes. There were so many bikes to choose from in their favorite colors that it took some time to find just the right ones. The youngest child wore her helmet all the way home in the car and said she wasn't going to take it off! Even in March, when I come to their small apartment for a home visit the bikes are carefully and securely parked in the corner of their home, ready to go and waiting for the first warm day. Only this year spring is taking too long to come!

2014-03-03 21:53:34 UTC
Timothy O'Keeffe, FB4K, Bike Mechanic

I started out as a volunteer mechanic and my first impression was being blown away. Just try to picture the Metrodome Stadium field filled wall to wall with bikes. Last fall we fixed 5,000 bikes in 7 weeks. The bikes were collected during the first week of October, and then cleaned, repaired, renewed and finally given away the first week of December.

We need your help
Managing the bikes, parts, volunteers, organizations, recipients etc. is a large, time consuming effort and we could do that better.

As a Lead Mechanic, my responsibility is to make sure that the bikes get repaired, cleaned, test ridden and are ready for the give-a-way.

I'm always asking what do we need, as in how many 20" girls bikes, how many training wheels etc., setting up a data system that would let the collaborating orgs register recipients, allow volunteers to register and FB4K staff to access vital information. A user-friendly registration and inventory system is greatly needed and would make a tremendous difference.

We all share the intensity of this challenge and the immense joy when the bikes are given away. Many of us share our first bike memories and recall the freedom and self-confidence it fostered. We all hope that the boys and girls who get these will start to make their own, on these very bikes.

Lastly an invitation to all Nerds, come and see us next fall as we fix up these bikes for kids we don't know yet and hopefully see your work giving back as well.

2014-03-07 17:28:55 UTC
Sara Kemp- PRISM

I thank FB4K This is a wonderful organization!!! Many of our participates received bikes for their children this past December. This was the best Christmas gift many parents shared with me. Thank you FB4K keep up the great service you provide.

I will promote to donate and volunteer with this organization to everyone I can. THANK YOU,THANK YOU!!!!!

2014-03-07 20:24:27 UTC
Susan Wineland, Washburn Center for Children

FB4K is a wonderful organization providing happiness to thousands of children. This past year we partnered with FB4K for the first time. They don't just provide bikes but they open the doors to a lifetime of fresh-air fun and 2-wheeled adventure. Washburn Center for Children is grateful for our partnership with FB4K for helping kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need.

2014-03-08 16:10:31 UTC
Kristin Skrien

I am the Lay Coordinator for the Serve the World Team at Gethsemane Church and School in Maplewood, MN. We heard about Free Bikes for Kidz from one of our pastors, and wanted to give it a try. We put out an appeal to our congregation and school families, but only got one child request. The whole process seemed too easy to me. All I had to do was fill out a short online request form, select a pick-up place and time and then wait until the distribution date. I received an email a couple of days before the pick-up and I took the student to the pick-up location and the entire process ran like clock-work. We were instantly greeted and went from station to station with the help of two assistants. It went very smoothly and when we got to the step of picking out a bike, there were so many to pick from and they even brought out more for us to look at. We had quite a few to pick from. Then once selected, we went to the fitting area and everything was sized properly to her. The whole thing went incredibly smoothly and quickly. I was amazed by the entire process. It seemed too good to be true, but it was true! I hope to be able to do this again next year. What a blessing this organization is for so many people!

2014-03-08 17:55:51 UTC
NT at Way To Grow

All I can say is thank you, thank you, & many more THANK YOU FB4K!!! You made a lot of children very happy. A mother of mine told me a wonderful story of her son's excitement. Since residing in Minnesota for about a year now, her son had wanted a bike. They couldn't afford one, but FB4K made it possible for him. He had the biggest smile when he found out he was getting a bike. Everyday when he gets the chance, he'll get on it and pretend he's riding it. This is a great organization, and keep up the good work.

2014-03-10 19:59:07 UTC
Rachael La Friniere

I am the receptionist at the American Indian Family Center in St Paul MN. This was my first experience with FB4K. I received a lot of pleasant remarks to the experience clients had with FB4K. They were surprised at how well the whole process went and the bikes their families received were more than they could have hoped for. FB4K you provide a very special service to a lot of less fortunate families who truly appreciate the gift. We thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this and hope to participate again in the future.

2014-03-12 20:15:03 UTC
Penny Kallas Kinship of Greater Minneapolis

Our program works with low income families from Anoka, Ramsey and Hennepin counties that are use to doing without. FB4K gives the kids a chance to be a "typical kid" and have a bike that is the correct size, in perfect running condition as well as have safety helmets showing them that the community really cares about each of them individually. A bike might sound like a typical toy in all kids lives but it truly is a luxury in our kid's lives. FB4K helps the kids feel like they are just like everyone else for a change and gives the parents a sense of relief knowing their kids now have the typical experience of riding a bicycle like other children. Thanks for providing this opportunity and organizing such an enormously appreciated event. This event shows community building in action with all the help from the many volunteers, donors and seeing so many happy recipients.

We appreciate being a part of this and hope it continues in the future.

2014-03-14 21:48:25 UTC
Wes Fredenburg: HelpSystems General Counsel

We all want to help others, we all like to reach out. Sometimes we're not sure where to start. It turns out this is the place. Bringing the freedom of a bike to kids who would not otherwise feel the wonder of riding down the sidewalk for the first time; i remember it…glorious. Terry and the originators of this adventure have done an amazing thing and the happiness of the children is a testament to their commitment. There is a big future ahead and the launch of our new website will provide the means we need to expand the joy of riding to many more families.

2014-03-17 14:16:32 UTC
Joe Bottensek

I've been involved with Free Bikes 4 Kidz for 2 years now, and I've found the energy contagious. It's a truly phenomenal experience to be part of a charity that has such a large presence in the community, and I can't wait to see how FB4K continues to grow. It's hard to not put a smile on your face when you see a kid receiving their first bike, and the freedom they feel as part of recipient process. Free Bikes 4 Kidz is an amazing organization, and the reach of the charity could only expand with the help of The Nerdery.

Our Mission

FB4K believes that every child should have a bike. Not only does it create a sense of worth, promote an attitude of responsibility, enables the child to commute to school and activities, brings joy and fun into their lives, but it also promotes and encourages a healthy lifestyle. We have grown our organization to where we have given away 5-6000 bikes each of the past 3 years. Now we are beginning to focus on planting chapters for FB4K in other cities. We hope to see a chapter of FB4K in all major cities within ten years.