Bikes for the World

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Honoring Keith Oberg, Founder and Director

Bikes for the World's executive director, Keith Oberg, was recently honored for his 'extraordinary humanitarian service', as the recipient of John's Hopkins University's 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award. A 1977 graduate of JHU's School of Advanced International Studies, Keith accepted the award on behalf of Bikes for the World community -- volunteers and staff -- who have built the organization over the last decade. For this reason, the JHU medal will enjoy a prominent place in the Bikes for the World Arlington office.

Keith and Craig Annear in Reston
From the beginning, Keith set out to establish Bikes for the World as a reputable, sustainable program with international reach while also benefiting his local community.

"Primarily due to Keith's commitment and hard work, BfW has emerged as an organization that delivers a broad range of benefits:
  • for the ultimate beneficiaries, sustainable transportation to schools, health care, and employment and economic empowerment;
  • direct environmental benefits by keeping bikes out of U.S. landfills and promoting nonpolluting transportation worldwide;
  • community service opportunities in the United States; and
  • promotion of a reuse/recycling ethic,"
                                                                 Craig Annear, BfW volunteer and Board Member

Otterbein's 10th annual bike collection
A testament to Bikes for the World's impact and Keith's influence as the founder and director, one has to look no further than the hundreds of volunteers powering the organization. Many dedicated volunteers have been with Keith, leading bike collections and packing containers with bikes, from the very beginning over a decade ago.

"Not only does our partnership with Bikes for the World extend to global projects, it creates a unique local opportunity for service and outreach. For Otterbein (United Methodist Church), it is one of the many "parking lot" ministries offered throughout the year. Outreach on our lot brings together church neighborhood and members,"
                                                         Cindy Brown, Collection Manager at Otterbein United Methodist Church. Over the last decade Otterbein has collected and donated over 2,000 bikes to Bikes for the World

Keith in Costa Rica with beneficiary
"From the beginning Keith impressed me with his intuitive understanding of the complex issues facing an NGO with limited finances, but endless possibilities to serve the less developed world by re-purposing bicycles headed for US landfills.

I never doubted Keith's abilities, dedication to the mission or charm, and I always knew he would succeed; but I could never have imagined that 8 years after starting Bikes for the World, it would have delivered nearly 100,000 bikes overseas, making a difference in the lives of nearly 100,000 farmers, students, health care workers, carpenters and entrepreneurs of all kinds and at the same time expand its mission to elevate the lives of so many young people at home,"

                                  Sarah J. Jelin, President and General Counsel The Karnak Corporation

"Keith's vision and incredible hard work have translated into an efficient, productive organization which measurably enhances the quality of life for some of the world's poorest and some of its richest,"

                                                            Hellen Gelband, BfW volunteer and Board Member






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