Something I’ve been thinking about lately — and it seems to keep coming up at staff meetings at CTM, especially when our fantastic development director Christina Martin-Wright brings it up — is how as a company we can extend our reach outward into the community in ways that don’t necessarily have anything to do with theater or art, or directly benefit us in any way. Simply extending ourselves out, offering whatever it is we have, be it space, skill, time, people, or whatever.
One way that I have managed to work this into the company is through our relationship with Working Bikes, a chicago-based non profit that works to divert old bikes from the waste stream by collecting them as donations. What they do with the bikes is incredible: some of them will be sold to raise funds, but most of them are sent to needy people across the globe in order to give working people everywhere a form of transportation other than their feet. The folks at Working Bikes also offer workshops for the recipients of their bikes, teaching them how to maintain and repair the bikes they receive (give a man a fish…).
So, where does CTM come in? Well, it isn’t much, but it has helped Working Bikes continue to expand its reach. I offered our scene shop/storage space as a Madison drop site for the organization, so that they can collect bikes here while minimizing the need to transport bikes to and from Madison (about a three hour drive from Chicago). When I have more bikes than I can handle, I contact Working Bikes, and they come and pick them up.
The relationship that we have developed with Working Bikes supports the idea of sustainability beyond community partnerships too that is very straightforward: helping keep material out of the landfills.