It’s the third day of our 12 Days of Charitable Giving! In December, I’ll be focusing on twelve charitable organizations which my readers have nominated as most deserving of your charitable donation. You have a couple more weeks to squeeze in you charitable deduction for tax purposes in 2014 – so why not consider one of our twelve?
Today’s featured charity is Neighborhood Bike Works.
Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW) started in 1996 and organized as a separate nonprofit in July 1999. Since 1996, NBW has introduced more than 4,5000 young people in the greater Philadelphia area, primarily ages 8 through 18, to cycling. NBW provides educational, recreational, and career-building opportunities through a series of programs.
The NBW Youth Bicycle Education Program provides a safe haven where inner-city youth learn about basic bicycle maintenance, safe riding skills, and nutrition. Youth enter the program through Earn-a-Bike, a free program which gives participants the opportunity to ‘earn’ a bike they are repairing. Many Earn-a-Bike graduates attend weekly drop-in sessions, go on monthly group rides and field trips, or join the race team. This offers participants the opportunity to have a mentor and develop strong positive relationships.
Other programs include bike safety checks at community events and valet bike parking at events. These community programs provide a positive way for youth to give back to the community.
So how can you help? Each year, NBW organizes, the “Ride of Dreams,” a fundraising bike tour that brings together NBW youth, volunteers, staff, and cyclists. In 2014, the Ride of Dreams was a four day loop (approx. 250 miles) from Philadelphia taking riders into the rolling hills of Lancaster. The event raised $24,370.11. NBW encourages cyclists to participate in the “Ride of Dreams” as fundraisers. If cycling isn’t your thing, however, they also appreciate those who are willing to donate their time or become a sponsor.
Sponsorships can be great ways to work with charitable organizations. While pure out of pocket donations may sometimes be limited, depending on income and other circumstances, sponsorships that are promotional in nature may qualify as a business expense. Promotions may include web and social media exposure, organization’s name appear in marketing collateral like event programs and of course, seeing your name appear on signs, tee shirts and/or ad spots – opportunities vary depending on the organization. These kinds of promotional opportunities are often advantageous for small to mid-size businesses as a win-win-win (making a difference + good publicity + tax deduction) allowing your dollars to go even further.
When it comes to NBW, in addition to sponsorships and volunteering your time, financial donations are also appreciated. You can make a donation online. Be sure to get a receipt if you plan to claim a charitable donation for your donation.
As always, you want to make sure that your donation is going to a qualified charitable organization. A search using the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Select Check reveals that Neighborhood Bike Works is on the list. To find out more about the work of the organization, check out their website, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
Remember, submissions to the 12 Days of Charitable Giving are made by readers and in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the good work that these folks do. So be generous. But be smart. Do your homework.
For more on making charitable donations, check out some of these prior posts:

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.

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