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August 22, 2014, 3:48 am

State Farm grants aid improvements

Look out, Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon — Philadelphia is on your heels as one of the nation’s most bicycle-friendly cities. And thanks to a pair of $25,000 grants going toward two uniquely Philadelphian community outfits, residents may become handier around the house as well.

Philadelphia ranks 17th in a new poll conducted by Bicycling Magazine, but these grants from State Farm benefitting the Philadelphia Neighborhood Bike Works and the Urban Affairs Coalition’s West Philly Tool Library will go a long way toward bumping Philadelphia up that list.

Petitions from the two local outfits were just two of the more than 3,000 submissions State Farm received. State Farm created and supports the “Cause an Effect” philanthropic effort, which is a crowd-sourced effort that relies on non-profits and their ability to create solutions to community issues.

“The funding from State Farm will help us get more youth involved in our Earn-A-Bike programs around the city,” said Philadelphia Neighborhood Bike Works’ Executive Director Erin DeCou in a statement released by State Farm. “With this Cause and Effect grant, we’ll be able to teach 60 kids how to build and fix their own bikes and ride safely in the city.

“Earn-A-Bike really opens up the city to these kids, and State Farm is helping make that possible.”

PNBW, founded in 1996 as Youth Cycle & Recycle, provides a litany of educational and recreational services that target youth ages 8 to 18.

Similarly, The West Philadelphia Tool Library also takes a holistic communal approach to problem solving. This organization lends tools to community members so they can complete projects that range from simple home maintenance to building furniture.

“State Farm’s ‘Cause an Effect’ grant is a game changer for the Tool Library,” said West Philly Tool Library spokesman Michael Froehlich. “We’ll be able to expand our hours, hire a tool mechanic to repair our tools and keep them well maintained, and, most importantly, purchase scores of new tools for our members.”

Both PNBW and the Tool Library faced stiff competition from all corners of the country. It was a vigorous challenge with votes casted on Facebook, but in the end, both local non-profits won going away, with each receiving nearly 40,000 combined votes.

“The considerable amount of votes each received shows the level of commitment and engagement within our community to solve local issues,” said State Farm Northeast Zone Public Affairs Manager Marcia Thompkins. “We look forward to watching Philadelphia Neighborhood Bike Works, the Urban Affairs Coalition and the Philadelphia community come together to make their neighborhood safer, stronger, and better educated with the help of Cause an Effect.”


Contact staff writer Damon C. Williams at (215) 893-5745 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .