The WRENCH will continue to grow thanks to new administrative assistant.
Since its inception in 2010, The WRENCH has distributed more than 12,000 bikes and facilitated more than 43,000 visits, helping people learn the skills necessary to care for a bike and gain independence.
“We’re re-using more material than ever before,” says Pat Krawec, The WRENCH’s Managing Director. “We started working with two or three main schools in the city that were including bike shops in their programming and since then, we’ve helped start over 60 school and community bike shops across Canada.”
The WRENCH – which stands for Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub – started as a partnership between volunteer-run community bike centres, the City of Winnipeg, and Green Action Centre. In 2010, The Winnipeg Foundation provided a start-up grant of $40,000 to kick off the project.
The WRENCH provides an inclusive environment that offers educational services to everyone, including low income youth and newcomers. It helps reduce our carbon footprint by increasing access to efficient modes of transportation and helps improve people’s physical and mental health.
Since The WRENCH’s beginnings, the City of Winnipeg has improved pedestrian and bike access through active transportation programs such as new bike lane infrastructure, cycling maps, and even partnerships with local artists painting bike lanes. While this all helps, what will really change culture is getting more cyclists on the roads, Mr. Krawec says.
“What will increase ridership is just people’s understanding of what it means to be a road user. The infrastructure does help people get over the fear in some cases, like the protected bikeways, but nothing gets them out there more than seeing other people do it.”
In early 2019, The WRENCH received a grant of $21,000 to support hiring an administrative assistant. The new position will ensure Mr. Krawec and his team can focus more on bringing additional programing to the community.
“It’s so exciting to think about the capacity and what it creates,” says Mr. Krawec of the new position. “We have highly impactful programming and we want to get it to kids who need it the most, for the biggest impact, as much as possible.”
Given The Foundation’s role in supporting The WRENCH’s genesis, it seems fitting that this most recent grant was also special – it took The Foundation’s cumulative grants to the community to more than $500 million since its inception in 1921.
“Knowing what The Foundation has done with us and our impact on the lives of thousands of people, and then seeing everyone else it has supported… and having insight from working with them, this has changed the city For Good. Forever. For real,” Mr. Krawec says.
For more information about The WRENCH and its services, head to thewrench.ca
Recipient: The WRENCH
Program: Staff position
Grant: $21,000, drawn from the Talbot Family Foundation Flow Through Fund, the Puchniak Family Fund and the Gray Family Fund
This story is featured in the Spring 2019 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.