Dear Bikes Not Bombs supporter,
Bikes Not Bombs (BNB) is proud to release our new 2025 Strategic Plan! We have worked intensely over the last two years in partnership with Ellen Bass at the Capacity Institute and key BNB stakeholders to reaffirm our mission, set a long-term vision, and establish 7 strategic goals which we are sharing with you today.
Bikes Not Bombs was founded in 1984 as a solidarity campaign with the people of Nicaragua, and it was quite literally “Bikes Not Bombs”. Since then, we have evolved to understanding bombs to mean something more than just physical bombs, but also injustice and oppression. We are not just in the business of building bicycles, we are also in the business of building communities. We are committed to advancing racial equity and providing tangible opportunities, tools and resources so Black and other marginalized people can empower themselves.
In Boston, there is a greater need than ever to help youth develop vocational skills and pathways as an avenue for violence and gang activity prevention. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teen and young adult employment has plunged to the lowest level in 45 years with youth of color suffering the worst unemployment statistics- a situation that has only become more dire throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. Lack of opportunity impairs teens' ability to find jobs well into adulthood and leaves them facing consequences of inactivity, and in some cases, pressures of violence and gang activity with no alternatives. To help them not only meet these challenges, but also fully thrive and contribute, we want to step up our game.
Over the next five years, we will formalize a 3-year apprenticeship program that engages youth staff as leaders in every BNB program. We will leverage community partnerships with Madison Park Technical Vocational High School and Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology to create a professional certification program in bicycle mechanics - the first of its kind on the East Coast. This is an effort that will undoubtedly increase access to jobs and opportunities for Boston-area BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) youth.
Overseas, the demand for quality bicycles has sharply increased, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. We take our role in reclaiming bicycles out of the waste stream and repurposing them to communities in Boston and overseas seriously- in particular, for our active international partners CESTA in El Salvador, Cycloville in Kenya, and Learn Work Develop in Rwanda - whose businesses and livelihood depend on timely container shipments of quality bicycles, parts, tools, and accessories to survive. Over the next five years, we are committed to improving the quality of bicycles sourced and shipped to our international partners and growing the number of partners in the Caribbean region.
Our new strategic plan factors in key organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, setting us on a path toward long term success and sustainability for our partners and participants. We have made critical investments in our operational and financial sustainability that will provide a solid foundation for years to come. Since 2017, Bikes Not Bombs has undergone enormous transformation, including the recruitment of new staff and board members, moving the Bike Shop and Hub under one roof, and retooling operations and programs. We are excited to chart a new vision of the future - grounded in our history, values, and the success of our past accomplishments. Highlights of our new strategic plan include:
- Racial Equity: We will unite the organization around shared values and commitment to racial equity. BNB is recognized as a leader in Greater Boston in addressing racial equity in its leadership, programming and organizational culture. We will shift power to the community elevating BIPOC community members across our board, staff, donor and volunteer bases so we better reflect the people and communities we serve.
- Building Capacity: We will strengthen staff, board, and volunteer training in positive youth development and racial equity. We will fulfill professional development needs and hire the staff needed to close key operational capacity gaps in youth development, case management, business operations, programming, administration and development.
- Mission Effectiveness & Program Expansion: We will leverage key community partnerships to increase reach, engagement, and employment of our target population. We will increase the quality of bikes and parts distributed locally and globally to meet basic demand and ensure partners and their businesses are sustainable. We will increase our physical presence in target neighborhoods: Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury.
- Board Development: We will increase board member effectiveness by strengthening systems of accountability. We will recruit members specifically from BNB’s target population to provide creative strategic vision and strong connections within our broader community.
We want to thank everyone who helped shape this strategic plan - our amazing staff and board members, volunteers, youth apprentices, and donors. Bikes Not Bombs aims to create a more just and equitable society in Boston and around the world. We are excited to embark on this new journey. We want to invite each of you here to join me and the Bikes Not Bombs community. There are so many ways to get involved and take action!