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Lime Hero Spotlight: Building Bridges Across the River

In 2018, Lime became the first micromobility operator to offer an opt-in donation module allowing riders to round up the cost of each trip and donate the spare change to a community organization of their choice. Since then, nearly 40 local nonprofits have been added to the growing list of charitable recipients.

Lime is proud to partner with Building Bridges Across the River (Building Bridges) in Ward 8, Washington, DC through our Lime Hero and Lime Action programs, which encourage our riders to get involved with local organizations. Building Bridges provides access to the best-in-class facilities, programs and partnerships in arts and culture, economic opportunity, education, recreation, health and well-being to residents East of the Anacostia River. To date, Lime riders in Washington, DC have raised nearly $20,000 for Building Bridges Across the River by rounding up the costs of their trips and donating the difference to Building Bridges.We spoke with Building Bridges staff member Jamal Lamar Chevis, the Manager of Corporate Giving to learn more about their mission, the progress they are making, and how Lime riders can get involved.

Building Bridges has an incredible mission and vision. Tell us more about how Building Bridges got started.

Building Bridges provides residents East of the Anacostia River access to the best-in-class facilities, programs and partnerships in arts and culture, economic opportunity, education, recreation, health and well-being. Building Bridges envisions a future in which the residents East of the Anacostia River experience vital, thriving communities characterized by social, cultural, economic and racial equity.

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Building Bridges Across the River was incorporated as a (501-c-3) nonprofit organization in 1997. The idea of building a community center in Southeast DC was first conceived by Chris Smith, CEO of the DC-based developer WC Smith. Smith envisioned a nonprofit that would lead a state-of-the-art campus that would later become the Town Hall Education Arts & Recreation Campus (THEARC). With the support of community stakeholders, elected officials, and an engaged board of directors, Building Bridges raised capital funds and oversaw construction of the now 203,000 square-foot facility. In 2005, THEARC opened its doors as Building Bridges’ first facility serving families East of the Anacostia River.

What are some of your current projects?

In addition to leading collaboration and managing THEARC’s facilities, Building Bridges complements our partners’ work with several projects of our own. At THEARC, these include a full program of cultural and arts events presented by THEARC Theater, as well as the iCAN Technical Theater Internship Program.

In 2013, we added the 11th Street Bridge Park to our portfolio. Located on the piers of the old 11th Street Bridge spanning the Anacostia River, the Bridge Park will be a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education, and the arts. In 2014 we partnered with The WorkPlace DC to open the Skyland Workforce Center, which we now operate under a model similar to THEARC. THEARC Farm expanded in 2016 to include a network of neighborhood plots, now known as BBAR Farms. Our work contributes to the quality of life for children and families living East of the Anacostia River, with the ultimate goal of reducing structural barriers to social and economic mobility to build a more equitable city.

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How important is access to sustainable and affordable transportation for the communities Building Bridges serves?

Imbedded in our vision and mission statements is our commitment to social, cultural, economic, and racial equity. That commitment includes access to sustainable and affordable transportation. THEARC, the Skyland Workforce Center, and the 11th Street Bridge Park were created through unique processes that factored accessibility heavily. The multi-sector collaborations we lead and convene at THEARC and Skyland Workforce Center, and will lead at the future 11th Street Bridge Park, all center the accessibility needs of our constituents.

Our approach is to house multiple resources, partners and services in close proximity, so people can go to a single hub to address many of their needs and wants all at once. We are thrilled to work with partners like Lime to think about ways that we can make it even easier and more affordable for people to get to our campuses to access these resources, and around the city.

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Do you feel there’s an opportunity post-COVID for cities like DC to rethink how public space is used?

Absolutely, I think the last year has given us an increased appreciation of the importance of public space—not only for physical and environmental health, but also for mental wellness, connection and belonging.

With our 11th Street Bridge Park project, we have already been thinking about how public spaces can create opportunities for people who might otherwise not cross paths to connect and build mutual understanding. As we emerge into a post-COVID world, we look forward to continuing to imagine with our neighbors how this space can be an anchor for social connection and healing, improving public health and sustaining equitable and inclusive opportunity.

How can Lime riders support your work?

If you aren’t already enrolled in the Lime Hero program, please join! The small donations you’ll make each time you ride with Lime can have a big impact on our work. You can also join our email list to stay up to date with all of our projects and you can always make a direct donation to support our initiatives.

You can visithttps://www.li.me/donateto learn more or sign up for Lime Hero in the Lime app.

Photo credits: OMA + OLIN and Cindy Allen

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