Funder’s Network awards Milwaukee-based Midwest BikeShare, Inc. $45,000 grant to bring shared bike program to community
Milwaukee among six grant recipients to bring sustainable initiatives to cities; nearly $500,000 committed to date to BikeShare
MILWAUKEE (January 14, 2013) – Midwest BikeShare Inc., a newly formed Milwaukee nonprofit organization committed to bringing shared bike systems to the region, has been named one of six recipients for matching grants to make communities more sustainable.
The Funder’s Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities awarded Midwest BikeShare a grant totaling $45,000 that will support the planning, installation and overall management of shared bicycle kiosks throughout Milwaukee. The grant, issued through the Local Sustainability Matching Fund, is intended to reward organizations that are serving as catalysts to create stronger partnerships between government and local foundations to advance community-based sustainability initiatives.
The Milwaukee-based Brico Fund, along with additional corporate supporters, will match the grant, bringing total commitments raised for Midwest BikeShare, Inc. to nearly $500,000 or roughly onethird of the funding critical to launch a Milwaukee bike share program.
“To be recognized by national funders and to receive strong, cross-sector local commitment from The Brico Fund, Spirit of Milwaukee, the City of Milwaukee and our leading corporate partners underscores the compelling case being made to bring bike sharing to Milwaukee ,” said Barry Mainwood, co-founder of Midwest BikeShare. “We believe a bike share program in Milwaukee will get more people outdoors to be active, enjoy our beautiful parks and roads, and ultimately makes the community stronger. We’re thrilled with the progress we’ve made so far.”
Through the program, Midwest BikeShare will install 25 bike rental kiosks and some 250 bike share bikes throughout Milwaukee by the summer of 2013. A relatively new, affordable, clean and simple transportation mode, bike share programs allow individuals to pick up a bike from any self-service bike rental kiosk and return it to any other kiosk located throughout the city. With a daily or annual membership, most trips (30 minutes and under) are free.
First popularized in Europe in places like Paris and Barcelona, bike sharing has quickly expanded around the world. In the U.S., 2010 was a pivotal year for the concept, with cities like Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago and Des Moines headlining the installation of systems. Since then, several more cities have joined the movement. “We work hard to attract businesses and talent to Milwaukee and bike share has become an icon for healthy cities and a healthy lifestyle. This is important for our economy and quality of life,” added Bruce Keyes, the other co-founder of Midwest Bikeshare.
Midwest BikeShare, Inc. also has received strong public sector support, including formal adoption through a Milwaukee Common Council resolution approved by the Mayor. The City of Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability is a direct partner on this funding award.
“For the city of Milwaukee to continue to grow and be a destination for families, events and employers, we need programs like BikeShare that allow more people to enjoy our amazing city on bikes,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “The city of Milwaukee is thrilled to work with the visionary folks at Midwest BikeShare to bring the concept here, and we’re even more excited to see the community’s financial support behind the program.”
In addition to the Milwaukee grant, other communities receiving national sustainability awards for the advancement of sustainability initiatives include Binghamton, New York; Portland, Ore.; Providence, Rhode Island; St. Louis, Mo.; and Yonkers/ New Rochelle, New York.
The Midwest BikeShare program was selected due to its sustainable business program, minimal environmental impact and strong cross-sector partnerships.
“The Local Sustainability Matching Fund is catalyzing efforts of local communities to green their cities and counties,” said Diane Ives, Fund Advisor for the Kendeda Fund. “The Kendeda Fund believes that the local passion and dedication demonstrated in this Milwaukee project will create new models for how to live sustainably. We are eager to see the impact of this work at the local level, and how it gets replicated in other urban settings around the country.”
About Midwest BikeShare, Inc.
Midwest BikeShare is a nonprofit corporation working to bring BikeShare to Wisconsin communities, starting in Milwaukee, by 2013. The organization will work to establish, fund and supervise the installation of 25 bike rental kiosks and 250 BikeShare bike share bikes throughout the city of Milwaukee.
Once established, Midwest BikeShare envisions operating a self-sustaining system, including the promotion of and ongoing maintenance and daily management of the bicycles, working hand-inhand with city and county government, and local bicycle experts.
The volunteer-based organization is spearheaded by three bike advocates: Bruce Keyes, a partner at the law firm of Foley & Lardner, LLP and Barry Mainwood, owner of Mainly Editing, Inc., are cofounders of Midwest Bikeshare, Inc.; and Jack Hirt, the former Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bike Federation and current partner in Midwest Cycling Series, LLC, a company that stages the Tour of America’s Dairyland bike races each year.
About The Local Sustainability Matching Fund
The Local Sustainability Matching Fund is a collaborative effort of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, Kendeda Fund, New York Community Trust, Summit Foundation, and Surdna Foundation. The Fund is designed to catalyze partnerships between local governments and local, place-based foundations and to advance community-based sustainability initiatives.
About The Brico Fund
The Brico Fund has been investing in the creation of a more sustainable Milwaukee for more than 20 years. The philanthropic organization is engaged primarily in grant making activities that are guided by the values of interdependence, fairness, equality, leadership, impact and transformation.
About the Office of Environmental Sustainability
The City of Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES) was created in 2004 by Mayor Tom Barrett to position Milwaukee as a leader in environmental sustainability and performance in the 21st century. OES works with City departments, the Common Council, area businesses, and academic, community, and workforce organizations, to save taxpayer dollars by among other things reducing energy bills in city buildings and in homes and businesses. OES also promotes costeffective green infrastructure solutions to the city’s storm water management challenges. The Office of Environmental Sustainability’s goal is to help create and promote a citywide strategic vision for making Milwaukee a more economic, environmental, and socially sustainable place to call home. For more information visit: http://city.milwaukee.gov/sustainability.
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