Vermont Federal Credit Union (VTFCU)
Ron Manganiello is a long-time member of Vermont Federal Credit Union. He supports the philosophies of many of Vermont’s cooperative organizations, and in addition, has created his own organization that gives back to the community.
Ron started Bike Recycle Vermont (BRV) in his backyard in 2004. Retired from Burlington Electric, he was looking for something to fill his time as well as his passions for alternative transportation, recycling and community service. Bike Recycle has since grown out of his backyard. In early 2008 it moved into a donated space, courtesy of the Good News Garage in Burlington, and thus far has given away over 1800 bikes to income-qualified community members while also providing extensive education and training to youth and volunteers.
BRV gets donations of bikes from area businesses that run bike drives for them as well as individuals, from unclaimed bikes from the police, and area academic institutions. It is a completely self-funding organization that relies on the charity of the community in the form of both donations and volunteers. Operating on a shoestring budget while keeping hundreds of bikes in good repair requires help. Student groups regularly come in to work on bikes, learning how to repair them, but Manganiello explains that “we really consider this more of an education…teaching students the hard skills on how to repair the bikes, but also about the importance of recycling and healthy transportation modes.” Ron also hosts periodic events to raise money for the organization and participates in the annual Vermont Cares Ride with a Bike Recycle team to generate enthusiasm and publicity for the organization’s mission.
Bike Recycle is part of a larger parent organization called Local Motion, whose mission is to promote bicycling, walking, running, inline skating and the facilities that make such travel safe, easy and fun. The organization seeks to improve personal health and the local economy by developing regional trails, promoting walkable communities, and fostering active lifestyles. Originally founded in 1999 to develop the Winooski River Bike Ferry and Cycle the City, the organization broadened its sights on making the Greater Burlington area a better place to walk, bike, run and skate and reconnecting the segments of the former Island Line railbed into a spectacular regional trail. Five years later, they have come to support several organizations like BRV. “Our parent company is incredible”, sites Manganiello, “and provides a significant amount of support for our organization.”
Vermont Federal Credit Union commends Ron and others like him who give back to the communities in which we all live. For information about how you can support Bike Recycle Vermont, visit: http://www.localmotion.org/bikerecycle/.