Here's How the Bike Industry is Funding Bike Paths and More

PeopleForBikes is both an advocacy group and a charitable foundation that promotes better biking throughout the United States. The PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program supports both bicycle infrastructure projects (bike paths, parks, racks, and BMX facilities) as well as advocacy projects such as Open Street Days or initiatives that increase ridership. Non-profits that have exhausted their local funders may want to consider this nationally focused foundation, which has awarded nearly $2.5 million since 1999.

PeopleForBikes works with the bicycle industry to connect bike companies back to the riding community. Its grants are funded by U.S. bicycle industry members through the Employee Pro Purchase Program. Every time an employee buys equipment at a pro-deal discount, a small donation goes to the PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program. Participants in the program include industry leaders like Fuji, Giant, Shimano, the State Bicycle Company, and Trek. Each year, more than $180,000 in cash grants is awarded. PeopleForBikes accepts requests for funding up to $10,000.

One initiative of PeopleForBikes is the Green Lane Project, which brings financial and technical assistance to partner cities over the course of two years. The project speeds the installation of bike lanes in major urban centers, with on-street lanes separated from traffic by curbs or planters. This year’s six cities have just been chosen from over 100 cities that submitted letters of interest. The 2014-2016 cohort will include Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA, Denver, CO, Indianapolis, IN, Pittsburgh, PA and Seattle, WA. The project will kick off in April in Indianapolis, IN.

Non-profits in and out of those cities still have a chance at PeopleForBikes funding. Last year, 10 different groups received grants ranging from $5000 to $10,000 for building and improving bike trails as well as advocacy campaigns. The Community Grant uses an online grant application composed of two parts—the letter of interest, followed by the full application. Folks interested in a PeopleForBikes grant should mark their calendars—the online application for the Fall grant cycle opens on  June 16, 2014.