At Propeller, giving back to the community is a meaningful part of our culture. Through our Uplift program, we leverage the business acumen of our consultants to support the needs of nonprofit organizations. Our goal is to make a lasting impact and uplift nonprofit partners through strategy, professional development, or direct service.

View our other featured community partners in the Uplift Community Partner Series.

As we approach the end of the year, a time many of us focus on giving, we reached out to some of our Uplift partners to learn more about their mission, and what seasonal giving means to them. Today we’re featuring our conversation with Momoko Saunders at the Community Cycling Center in Portland, OR.

Q: Can you tell us about the mission of Community Cycling Center and your role within the organization?

The Community Cycling Center’s mission is to reduce barriers to bicycling. We envision a vibrant community where people of all backgrounds use bicycles to stay healthy and connected. We do this with our full-service bike shop on Alberta Street, which has been around for nearly 30 years, connecting communities to bike services that meet their needs. We also have a robust roster of programs that deliver bicycle education, equipment, and fun to underserved communities in Portland.

As the Executive Director at the Community Cycling Center, my job is to provide the team with the resources they need to accomplish this mission. I assist with all aspects of operation, from understanding the needs of the shop, to highlighting the impact of our programs to other organizations and people who support our nonprofit.

Q: Where can the community see your team’s work in action?

You can find our work woven throughout the entire city of Portland. Throughout the year, our programs operate in Title I-A schools teaching youth to ride and helping parents navigate and advocate for safer routes to school. Our shop on Alberta offers Low Income Commuter Services and responsible recycling efforts 7 days a week. Our micro-bike shop, the HUB, is open from May to September in New Columbia (North Portland), offering free repair and education to residents of an affordable housing community. We have a STEM education program which teaches youth mechanical engineering principles through bicycle maintenance in East Portland.

Pre-pandemic, we had a Holiday Bike Drive at Legacy Emanuel where we gave away 400+ bikes, helmets, and safety lessons each year to families. Participants are children aged 3-8 who are living on low incomes, who qualify for free or reduced lunch at school, and who do not currently have a bicycle. For many, it is their first bike! We are currently doing smaller Community Bike Drives which bring the bikes directly to families in smaller batches. We plan to bring back our Holiday Bike Drive once gatherings are safe to coordinate. There’s many more programs and services we offer, but these are the broad strokes.

Q. What program are you particularly proud of?

Sometimes our greatest success stories come from cross-program pollination. Take Nina's story for example: she was introduced to the HUB because she needed help with her bike, then she began volunteering, and now she's a paid intern at our shop. Our goal is to have a lasting impact in individual lives -- not just a quick in and out program experience.

Or there’s the story of our food delivery program. When the pandemic required that schools shut down in March of 2020, many of our programs were suddenly halted, but because of strong ties we have with the families and schools, we learned that many of the families we had served needed help accessing food. We partnered with the Oregon Food Bank, Living Cully, Latino Network, and Verde to address food insecurity in communities impacted by COVID-19 by supporting food pantry bicycle deliveries. At the height of the pandemic, we made deliveries via bicycle to over 200 unique households each week.

Q: Can you tell us the impact of seasonal giving has for CCC?

Nearly 70% of our individual donations come in from November to January. These donations make our programs possible. A donation of $250 enables us to give away a bike and helmet to a child who does not have a bicycle, including home delivery! A donation of $500 allows us to serve 63 unique households with a free food box delivered by bicycle.

This year, we are in the Willamette Week’s Give! Guide. When you make a donation, you not only support our mission, but you also have the opportunity to win some great prizes!

About Uplift

At Propeller, giving back to the community is a meaningful part of our culture. Through our Propeller Uplift program, we leverage the business acumen of our consultants to support the needs of nonprofit partner organizations. Our goal is to make a lasting impact and uplift organizations through strategy, professional development, or direct service.

Serving our local communities has been a focus since Propeller started in 2012. What started as a small group of enthusiastic founding members with a vision for our firm’s community involvement has evolved into an established and award-winning team program.