Buffalo, NY (PRWEB) June 12, 2013
Since its founding in 2009, the local non-profit service Buffalo CarShare has grown to serve nearly 600 members, providing members access to a fleet of 15 vehicles. Members use CarShare for everything from trips to the grocery store to medical appointments and job interviews, while they rely on walking, bicycling, and transit for their daily transportation needs. After joining Buffalo CarShare, some members choose to give up their cars, while others choose not to purchase one. The organization calculates that since 2009 they’ve taken 201 cars off the road, and estimate that members drove 433,000 less miles in 2012 than they would have without the service.
Although the carsharing industry has grown quickly in the past few years, “One thing that makes our organization unique is that our members come from every walk of life,” says Buffalo CarShare’s Executive Director, Creighton Randall. Nearly 50% of members represent households earning $25,000 or less per year, and 66% of member households do not own a car according to a recent member survey. “As we chart our growth, we are challenging ourselves to bring the service to the neighborhoods where our service is needed most. This is a tall order, but we’re not alone in the fight. We’ve been able to attract The Oishei Foundation to support our cause, as well as community partners such as Buffalo State College and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus who share our vision.”
The Oishei Foundation has provided a $100,000 challenge grant, which will be matched through partnerships that Buffalo CarShare will work to develop in new neighborhoods. Buffalo State College was the first such partner, supporting two vehicles on its campus that are also accessible to the community. On the radar this summer as targets for partnerships are neighborhoods like the Fruit Belt, Lower West Side, and parts of North Buffalo. CarShare hopes that individuals will help be a part of making this expansion a reality. Today, the organization is launching a crowdfunding campaign focused on the aforementioned three neighborhoods (donate.buffalocarshare.org).
“We are pleased to see that The Oishei Foundation will be joined by not only institutions but individuals as well in support of Buffalo CarShare’s growth. ‘Get There’ will focus on neighborhoods where the benefit of programs like CarShare is needed but not yet available, and it is important that a range of community partners come together in responding to that need,” said Larry Cook, Senior Program Officer with The Oishei Foundation
Todd Salansky, the Board Chair of Buffalo CarShare, is optimistic about the community’s potential for support. “With all of these hands on deck, we hope to raise $300,000 by the close of 2015. I have witnessed the generosity of this community in so many ways, and our board sees this as an ambitious but achievable goal.” Salansky added, “There are a number of ways to get involved in Buffalo CarShare, from donating your own car, to becoming a lifetime member or buying a gift membership, to signing up your business and providing a new benefit for employees. Just about anyone I talk to can think of a way that CarShare would work for them or someone they know.”
This blossoming of new partnerships is evident in the latest “hub” location added to the Buffalo CarShare fleet at the Mansion on Delaware Avenue. Guests can use the service while they are in town, and the Mansion has generously provided a free parking space for CarShare so that individuals, non-profit organizations, and businesses nearby can also make use of the convenient location.