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Charity of the Month | 88bikes

by Caitlin McGrother | Posted on March 01 2016

Advocacy is a fundamental cornerstone of Bead & Reel. Not only should we help consumers make the best ethical decisions when it comes to wardrobe, we should also give back to others that share our mission.

This month, Bead & Reel is excited to announce its Charity of the Month, 88bikes. 88bikes is an organization that focuses on one-to-one philanthropy, where each stakeholder is an active participant. Each donation is $88, which is the approximate cost of a bike in developing countries. After the funds have been raised, 88bikes travels to well-vetted project sites to deliver bikes to girls, specifically the heroic survivors of human trafficking. 100% of all sponsored bicycle donations are used to purchase bikes from local merchants and assemble them in the community, which in turn places capital back into the local economy. After the bikes are donated, 88bikes provides the recipients with bike maintenance training, group bike rides, and bike-based job skills. This organization is about empowering young women and infusing the simple joy of bike riding into their lives.

A portion of each purchase made at Bead & Reel in the month of March will be donated to 88bikes. This organization holds such a warm place in our heart and we are so excited to share a behind the scenes look with you.

Dan Austin, founder of 88 Bikes, is a writer and filmmaker living in Seattle, WA. With a passion for bike riding, Dan chronicled his bike journey across the United States in the documentary True Fans. He is the inspiration, voice, and leader of 88bikes. We are incredibly privileged to have Dan offer his time to share more about this incredibly successful organization, along with ways everyone can help spread more joy.

On "Joy-Based Philanthropy"
"Joy-Based Philanthropy is our trademarked core value and mission. We believe that happiness is as important as sustenance, especially as it relates to the healing and progression of heroic folks who have been through a lot. As such, we endow bikes and instigate workshops with the primary goal of helping the recipients know that they are worth it. They are worth something that may or may not get them a job, but will make them happy, and we believe that that alone has a massive impact on their lives."

On Building Community
"We love building community, in whatever way folks are able. Lately we've been doing a lot of house parties and things... Obviously fundraising is always a concern, but I'd rathe look at it as community building, as that is how we are able to sustain our work and grow." 

On an Exciting Upcoming Project
"I love all of our projects, but I am especially excited about our remote, Seamless Possibilities workshops, where our curator will travel to remote villages to lead human trafficking survivors in designing and sewing their dream gowns... We've done several workshops at central locations, but none in the field, at the survivor's home (everyone also gets a bike too, of course)."

On One of the 88bikes' Fondest Memories
"One time in the Philippines we gave bikes to a few at-risk girls at a remote school. The rest of the girls politely applauded their classmates, thinking they would not receive bikes. We never endow bikes only to some and not all, and when I announced that in fact everyone would be getting bikes, the girls launched into an impromptu dance party! It was awesome." 

On Using Fashion as a Tool for Change Through 88bikes
"You can always donate directly to the Seamless Possibilities workshop, which helps a lot. You can also donate the full amount for a woman or girl to design, sew and model their dream gown. At this level, you'll receive in return a signed and numbered fine art print of the photo shoot, and an artifact (like a scarf) handmade by the recipient. I am enormously passionate about that program and hope to grow it substantially this year!"

On Ways to Spread More Joy in the World
"Spanish wine, French poetry, cuddling. When you're happy, you make others happy simply by being. So do the things that make you happy. It's a great place to start." 

A big thank you to Dan for taking the time to share his passion which is channeled through this amazing organization. Bead & Reel is incredibly excited to support 88bikes with proceeds from every purchase made in March. Please visit 88bikes.org to learn more about the mission, its projects, and see many photos of happy recipients receiving their bikes.

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