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Bikes for the World Announces Retirement of Founder Keith Oberg

Rockville MD –Bikes for the World, the nation's largest bicycle reuse charity, today announced the retirement of founder and Executive Director Keith Oberg. Last summer, Mr. Oberg advised the Board of Directors, that after 13 years leading the organization, it has a strong team in place, a stable home, and he is confident that it can successfully continue to grow and advance the mission to change lives around the globe, one bike at a time. He further stated that, "with my wife Jessica's retirement, the timing is opportune, and together we look forward to engaging in new opportunities, both civic and recreational. I have been privileged over two decades to have worked with hundreds of volunteers and institutional partners to establish, define, and build Bikes for the World. I am extraordinarily proud of what we have accomplished together."

Board Chairman Karen Hendrixson commented,"the Board is grateful to Keith for his leadership in founding and building Bikes for the World into the strong and vibrant organization it is today. We look forward to his continued service on a part-time basis for a transition period and as a Member of the Board of Directors." She also announced that the Board has appointed Taylor Jones as the new Executive Director. Jones has been serving as the Chief Operating Officer since September of last year. Previously, Jones had managed in the bike industry and served as Bikes for the World's Operations Program Manager. In conclusion, Hendrixson said,"the Board looks forward to continuing the outstanding progress of the past year, which saw the non-profit take on a first-time commercial warehouse lease, mobilize a record number of donors, volunteers, and set a new annual bike donation mark. The Board and I have no doubt about the strength of Bikes for the World's business model, social impact, and financial base, and that we will carry this momentum forward under Mr. Jones 'leadership."

A message from the Board:

You might be thinking that the Board and staff of Bikes of the World are sad at Keith's departure as Executive Director. After all, he has spent over 10 years growing this wonderful non-profit to where we are today, and he is now retiring. But you are wrong! We aren't sad at all!

How can that be, you ask? Well the truth of the matter is that Keith can safely retire because he has done such a stellar job of building and strengthening BfW that he knows he can step back and be certain that he is leaving the organization in good hands. For so many years, Keith was not only the passion and enthusiasm driving BfW, he was the only staff member! Many of you will remember our "gypsy" years when we floated from one free space to another free space – random containers in a parking lot near Tysons Corner, occupying the former gym at the old Lorton prison, the charming but decrepit barns at Kings Farm, and the cavernous warehouses in Pentagon City. (None of which had heat!)

And where are we now? We have permanent warehouse/office space in Rockville, which is the first time we have combined both functions in the same space. Keith has built a 501(c)(3) non-profit which has formal bylaws, state-of- the-art governance policies, and a dedicated Board of Directors. Over the years Keith has also recruited a small, permanent, and highly effective staff of three (Yvette Hess, our Community Outreach and Communications Director; Liz Daley, our Development Director; and Bob Leftwich, our Operations Manager. Our new Executive Director, Taylor Jones, has previous experience working at BfW; has headed bike share operations in Ohio; has worked in bike shops and is a bike racer; holds a MA in International Relations from American University; and speaks fluent French.

That is why we are not sad that Keith is leaving! We are confident that the organization that he has devoted the last 10 years building is on sound ground with a tremendous staff, a litany of committed volunteers, and sound finances. Keith knows that the staff and Board will continue to build on the extensive foundation that he has created. Moreover, as Executive Director Emeritus, Keith will continue to both sit on the Board and meet with donors and organizations that need to learn more about Bikes for the World. And knowing Keith, he will still be regularly showing up at the warehouse with random bikes he has collected in his neighborhood and will engage with any and all volunteers who happen to be there that day!

Your messages to Keith:

-The Board and Staff
Thank you for creating Bikes for the World. You have established an organization which is transformative in changing lives around the world for recipients of our bikes; which creates genuinely fulfilling volunteer opportunities for a wide variety of groups and individuals; and which has a profound environmental impact by keeping bikes out of landfills. We wish you many good hours of biking with your wife Jessica, but know that we will continue to mine your wisdom and vision, organizational and nonprofit expertise, and enthusiasm for all things bike-related!

- Mark Winn-Ritzenberg
What an amazing organization you've nurtured all these years, Keith! It has been a pleasure working with you. I'm sorry I'll be away and will miss your party. Though you have "retired", I certainly hope to see you around the warehouse. All the best in your future endeavors.

-Tim Fricker
Congratulations to Keith for the amazing achievements over these years, and best wishes for a great and well deserved retirement.

-Mike McMillion
Never really believed that Keith would retire. Keep up the good work! Tell Keith to take a vacation to Pulaski and ride bikes...a lot.

-Richard Foot
CONGRATULATIONS on a servicefull tenure as CEO of BfW! Through your passion for positive change in lives in the developing world, your sustained dedication to community and economic development you have truly made a difference…one bicycle at a time.

-Mike Lidell
Thanks for all the work you have done to make the world a better place!

-Valerie VanHollen
I'm so sorry I have to miss this. We followed you from Pedals for Progress...that's how long it's been!! Best Wishes for a happy retirement.

-Rich Reis
Mazel Tov

-Joel Uichico, Founder Bikes for the World
I have only to thank Keith for trusting and continuing to support Bikes for the Philippines. He has touched the hearts and minds of more than 13 public high schools all over the Philippines, a farmers group, countless numbers of security guards and maintenance people.

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Friday, July 20 2018

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