What does a nonprofit organization that normally works with over 50,000 students a year across the region do when schools are suddenly closed and our face to face programming is temporarily suspended? We take a step back, evaluate our resources and core competencies and find ways to repurpose our staff and assets where they are needed as our community works to take care of the needs of our fellow residents.
Nine13sports uses a mobile programming model whereby we take bicycles into learning environments (schools, community centers, parks) and use them as learning tools throughout the year. As we’ve grown, this mobile delivery of our Kids Riding Bikes, Kids Building Bikes & ExploreIndy Ride programming has required significant investment over the past 9 years into vehicles and staff – assets that we sidelined as part of efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus beginning a few weeks ago. Last year, we also made a move into a 25,000 sf commercial structure located in the Near Northwest neighborhoods that serves as our Operations Depot.
Because we’ve been so fortunate to receive support from the Indianapolis community over the years, it isn’t an option for us to sit around and wait for the time when we can begin working with the central Indiana youth again. Instead, we’ve reached out to our partners looking for ways we could help with the phenomenal efforts that are currently underway to take care of the our most vulnerable neighbors across the region. Our offer of assistance was well received by entities like Gleaners Food Bank, Midwest Food Bank, the City of Indianapolis and the American Red Cross.
As a result, beginning this week our team has started to provide logistical support for initiatives led by these organizations to ensure efficient food distribution to food pantries and shut ins as well as ensuring that blood being donated at locations all across the state of Indiana reaches destinations where it is needed.
Over the coming weeks we look forward to sharing more about how our strategy of pivoting from the “Kids Riding Bikes people” to a turnkey logistics operation is going. Until then, unless absolutely necessary stay home – stay safe and be well.
Our CEO, Tom Hanley recently joined The Convo, hosted by Leadership Indianapolis to tell the story of our organization has mobilized in response to COVID-19: