FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 12, 2015
Sustain Charlotte Awarded $200K from Knight Foundation Cycling Fund
CHARLOTTE, NC - Sustain Charlotte has been awarded a $204,000 grant from the Knight Charlotte Cycling Fund. This fund was created with $600,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with the goal of making Charlotte more bike-friendly as a way to engage residents in community life and create incentives for talented people to live and stay in the city.
Funds granted to Sustain Charlotte will be used to support new staff who will develop and manage a two-year initiative to build relationships and foster collaboration among the various organizations who offer bicycling events and programs in the Charlotte area and assist with publicizing these activities. The need for this initiative was identified through a collaboration of local cycling leaders including the Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance and their Board of Advisors.
Sustain Charlotte’s top goals for this project include:
Increase the number of residents who are informed about cycling issues and opportunities.
Expand and strengthen resident engagement in making Charlotte a more bike-friendly city.
Build long-term stability and a collaborative network furthering cycling in Charlotte.
Sustain Charlotte believes increased use of cycling for transportation in the metro area is critical because:
Only 0.08% of workers in Mecklenburg County commuted by bike in 2011. That's only one in 1,250 people.
Mecklenburg County households spend an average of 26 percent of their income on transportation costs (versus a national average of 19 percent), largely due to the high cost of driving relative to other transportation modes.
Depending on the length of commute, commuting by bike instead of driving can save $1,000 or more per year, per commuter.
Bicycling is one of the easiest ways to exercise. It helps build strength, stamina, muscle tone, and improves cardiovascular health.
A nationwide analysis shows that cities and towns where more people bike to work are wealthier, healthier, and more likely to attract creative and talented employees.
“City leaders are increasingly recognizing that a thriving Charlotte will help to attract and keep the young talent that contributes to a healthy economy, while encouraging people to make connections and get involved in civic life,” said Susan Patterson, Knight Foundation program director for Charlotte. “Through this project we hope to make Charlotte more bike-friendly and provide the quality of life improvements that help contribute to city success.”
“We recognize that the metro area is at a crucial stage where development and redevelopment is occurring rapidly due to dramatic population growth. The decisions that we make today about how to use our available land and how we travel will profoundly impact the quality of life and livability of the community now and for generations to come,” said Sustain Charlotte founder and Executive Director Shannon Binns.
Support for this project forms part of Knight Foundation’s efforts in Charlotte to attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement. Knight has also invested in a vision plan to re-energize uptown Charlotte’s North Tryon corridor, and recently supported Foundation For The Carolinas’ efforts to revitalize the historic Carolina Theatre at Belk Place.
ABOUT SUSTAIN CHARLOTTE
Sustain Charlotte is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, engaging and uniting citizens to solve Charlotte’s sustainability challenges. We inspire choices that lead to a healthier and more vibrant community for generations to come. For more, visit sustaincharlotte.org.
ABOUT THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.
Branyn Calegar, Communications + Development Director
Tara Keener, Vice President - Marketing and Communications
Foundation For The Carolinas
Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications