Wheels4Life – Providing Low Cost Quality Bikes for Third World Countries

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Yes. Wheels 4 Life has a qualified tax-exempt status (501 c3). See our 501c paperwork (.pdf file) for more details.

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Do you have a Board of Directors?

Yes. Our first meeting was in March 2006. The Board approves  all spending, policies, and procedures and takes responsibility for the organization.

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How will you distribute the bicycles?

We prefer to partner with organizations and individuals that have that expertise and can guarantee us that the bikes will end up where really needed, and not just with persons who would like to get a free bike. Often we work with charities, schools, hospitals, churches and other organizations. Sometimes we deliver bikes in person. Hans Rey pays all his related expenses out of his own pocket. At moment we are giving away between 10 - 30 bicycles per location, often we buy the bikes in that country, to not only support the local economy, but to make it easier to find spare parts and to avoid shipping and custom duties. In the future, once we grow bigger, we plan on sending whole containers of special made bikes from China.

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How will you decide who gets the bicycles?

Our philosophy is to provide bicycles to the poorest of the poor, at no cost.  We make no exclusions on race, age, sex, religion, or nationality. Our distribution  partners must also accept this philosophy. We really like to find people who need the bike as transportation to significantly better their lives or the lives of others.

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Does Wheels 4 Life distribute bicycles to the poor in the USA?

We have not at this point. Even though there are many people in the USA in need of a bicycles, the need is much more pressing in Third World countrie, whichis where we concentrate our efforts at the moment.

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What if someone wants to donate a used bicycle?

We are not set up to renovate, store,  ship, or distribute used bicycles. It’s very complicated and expensive to do this, furthermore, it will almost be impossible to find replacement parts, especially in Third World countries. We can buy new bikes sometimes for under US$ 100.-. We recommend if someone wants to donate a used bike, to sell it personally and send us the money instead or to contact one of the many charities that deals with used bicycles.

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What if someone wants to volunteer?

Please click here to view volunteer opportunities.

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How much of the money donated will go towards the cause?

So far we managed to have almost no overhead cost or administrative costs. Most of the work in our organization is volunteered. We had some startup costs, small accounting fees, and some costs for promotional items such as post cards and flyers. In the future we might have to hire a staff person, but at the moment approx. 95% of donations go towards buying bicycles. People have donated their time and money for making banners (which we use at events to promote the charity), our web site designers have contributed their services for free, our server gave us free server space, some artists designed our logos and artwork, etc.

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Do you offer opportunities for volunteers to participate in the distribution of the bicycles in developing countries?

Our distribution partners are carefully reviewed and selected  based on their ability to clear bicycles through customs,  transport the bicycles, store and assemble the bicycles, and distribute  them to the poorest of the poor. Or to help us locate qualified bikes in their country to buy.  As a small yet growing organization,  rarely do we get the chance to meet our partners before we ship bicycles,  nor do we send volunteers over to assist in the distribution.  Our partners  are amazing in their ability to rally local volunteers to help them help  themselves.  We do, however, arrange opportunities for donors who contribute  a full container to participate in the distribution of the container they  have funded. In order to keep our cost per bicycle as low as possible,  we must ask volunteers willing to travel to also be willing to pay for their  travel expenses. We know that it is a powerful experience to see and  interact with the recipients of the bicycles and hope to offer this opportunity  to anyone with the heart to make this kind of contribution. We fully hope  to offer more opportunities for volunteers to travel to the field as we continue  to grow as an organization.

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