Virtual Interview: Lori McCarney, Executive Director, Hawaii Bicycling League
How has your organization been able to continue its core mission(s)?
Our mission is to enable more people to ride bicycles for health, recreation and transportation through advocacy, education and events. We are gratified to see more people rediscover biking exactly for these purposes as they adapt to living with COVID-19. HBL is implementing ways to educate these new bicyclists to enhance their comfort and safety, hoping to encourage their continued use of bikes as we move towards a new normal. We are also adapting our events, like the upcoming Metric Century Ride and Honolulu Century Ride, to incorporate new protocols for social distancing and sanitation.
How has the COVID-19 crisis affected your donations, fundraising and other cash flow?
HBL depends upon fundraising from bike ride events for a large portion of our operating funds. We’ve postponed our Metric Century Ride to July and cancelled Zach Manago’s Ride in Paradise, so there has been an impact. However, we believe our overarching priority is the safety of our participants, volunteers and staff.
What has been your organization’s experience with any level of government during this crisis?
We applied for and received a PPP Loan. This loan is truly helping us weather this period. For example, it has allowed us to keep our education team in place to develop virtual Bike Education for 4th Graders. BikeEd is typically provided on-site at schools, but with the shift to distance learning, we’re doing that too. As in much instruction, in-person is best. But the virtual approach we’re taking now may be a good supplement to our education program in the future.
How do you think your organization will be different at the end of this year?
Like many organizations, we began working from home, with meetings and collaboration done via Zoom and phone calls. We need to do many things in person, like run events and provide optimal education programs. But, we don’t all need to be in the office all the time all at the same time. We will be more flexible in work arrangements going forward. Also, we will be more creative. The need to adapt to a new reality has created energy for ingenuity, and we’ll use that to be more creative in fulfilling our mission.