The Women’s Giving Circle presented a $10,000 check to Missoula Free Cycles on Tuesday afternoon at their shop on 1st Avenue West.

Marcy Allen, Executive Director of The Women’s Giving Circle explained the purpose of the grant.

“Last year about 60 women got together and pooled their resources and they get to choose a topic that we feel is important to our community,” said Allen. “Our focus this year is the environment, and with our pooled resources we have $10,000 to give away, and so we issued an RFP and we got about 16 responses. The steering committee narrowed down those responses and we picked three finalists. They all presented their proposals in October.”

Allen explained why Missoula Free Cycles was worthy of the grant.

“We were looking for an organization with an impact on the environment, and Free Cycles has their ‘Build a Bike Program’ is in response to some goals that the city has put forward for reducing pollution and increasing bike transportation. Missoula Free Cycles has actually put out 20,852 bikes as of today on the streets of Missoula for those who maybe can’t afford them or are interested in learning how to maintain their bike or to build a bike, and that’s pretty incredible.”

Programs Director at Missoula Free Cycles, Emily Jensen explained where the $10,000 grant would be put to its best use.

“What we could really use more of is staff,” said Jensen. “We need consistent helpers to build relationships, teach people, keep all of our programs afloat, and make sure everyone is being served efficiently, so that’s what we plan on using the money for is hiring another staff member to support our ‘Build a Bike Program’. That’s a program where people come in and they take a class from us and then they volunteer time to earn themselves a bike, and we teach them how to build that bike.”

Jensen said there are about 15 bikes donated to the shop every day. Approximately half go to the ‘Build a Bike Program’ and the other half are used for parts.