If you spend some time at Schwinn headquarters you’ll quickly learn everyone has a ‘Schwinn Story.’ Some of the stories harken back to Schwinn’s rich heritage and others are modern-day tales of bicycle benevolence. Regardless of where the stories end up, they always begin in the same place, with people and bikes.
This blog will recount an event that took place at Schwinn HQ called ‘Together We Bike.’ It was a collaboration between Pacific Cycle (parent company of Schwinn) and the national non-profit, Together We Rise. The Wisconsin Bike Fed was invited to take part in the day of giving!
On the surface, the event seemed straight forward. Schwinn would shut down for the afternoon, build bikes, and donate them to deserving children in Wisconsin foster care. However, once you peel back the first few layers, it is easy to see that executing a donation event of this magnitude took an impressive amount of planning, coordination and logistics!
Planning the event began six months prior when the Schwinn team decided to celebrate their 125th anniversary (1895 – 2020) with a philanthropic approach. After researching several non-profit partners, the Schwinn team reached out to national non-profit Together We Rise (TWR) in an effort to aide in the TWR mission of improving the lives of children living in foster care.
Together We Rise had already established a donation model to coordinate foster care agencies with corporate give-back events. TWR specializes in developing structured team building activities to assemble items that children could use during their time in foster care. Their programming goes beyond bicycles, also providing travel duffel bags, skateboards and birthday boxes.
With the partnership in place, the format of the bike build began to take shape. Eighty-five volunteers were split into nine interdepartmental teams to build different sized bikes. The bikes being built were pre-determined through the need outlined by the participating local foster care organizations Anu Family Services and Family Works Programs.
The energy in the building on the day of the bike build was contagious and uplifting. The teams were given an area to work in, tools to build bikes and name tags of the children who would be receiving the bikes. Walking through the halls, you could feel the buzz of excitement as each team broke open their boxes and started to assemble the donation bikes. Every team was designated a captain who was comfortable checking over the final assembly for safety and functionality purposes. This would alleviate any concerns for amateur bike builders.
During the bike build it became apparent how impactful these types of events can be. The act of assembling a box of parts into a completed bike elicits the feeling of accomplishment and ownership. Donating time and physical labor to the project creates a bond with the final act of giving that can’t be felt or accomplished through any other form of giving.
At the end of the day, it was amazing to look at all the built bikes and think about the children who would be receiving them. As the bikes left the building, en route to their new homes, it was hard not to imagine all the Schwinn stories that were just getting started.
‘Together We Bike’ was a kick-off event for Schwinn’s 125th Anniversary. Schwinn plans to continue their work with national non-profit Together We Rise and donate $125,000 worth of bicycles throughout their anniversary year.
Keep up with the give-back campaign by checking out https://www.schwinnbikes.com/en/usa/together-we-rise