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Sign of the times? BTA using Groupon to fund kids education program

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

A recent flap over Sunday Parkways funding at City Council underscores what seems to be a growing reality for people who run active transportation programs: You better start looking for private funds because city/state/federal budgets are shrinking fast.

Portland would not be getting a bike-sharing system (at least right now) if it weren’t for the fact that all of its ongoing operations costs will be privately funded. Sunday Parkways will only get one-third of its total operating budget from the City this year — the rest will come from private sponsorships.

Now the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) is adding to its traditional funding sources for its youth education programs — state and federal grants — by turning to popular discount site Groupon.

BTA Development Director Lisa Anguilla says they were contacted by Groupon’s “G-Team” to run the promotion. “Having the reach of a Groupon campaign holds the opportunity to get the story about the benefits of biking to people outside our normal range of communication,” she says.

In 2010, the BTA brought bike education to 5,000 4th-7th graders at 60 schools; but many can’t participate, Anguilla says, due to a lack of funding.

“The BTA would like to see every child receive Bike Safety Education,” she adds, “In order to achieve that goal… we’ll have to increase funding from many sources.”

If 30 “G-Team” members donate $10 through the Groupon campaign, the BTA can host a biking and walking safety program for 20 students at a Portland-area school. Donations are being matched up to $5,000 by Madison’s Grill and each additional $30 raised will pay for another two students.

There’s still time left to donate; but act fast because the campaign expires tonight! Head over to Groupon for all the details.