How To Join

Becoming a Trips for Kids® chapter is simple. We first sign a cost-free trademark agreement, which allows you to use our name and our logo as long as you adhere to our mission statement. We understand that the way you run your program is based on the needs of your community and resources that you have access to. Our main goal is to get kids out on bikes and to give them a positive experience. There are three main steps:

Mission Statement

Trips for Kids is a non-profit that provides mountain bike outings and environmental education for kids who would not otherwise be exposed to such activities. At our outings, we teach lessons in personal responsibility, achievement and environmental awareness through the simple act of having fun.

Application Process

Before we can sign the Trademark Agreement with you, you will need to send us the following information. We then submit these items to the Trips for Kids board of directors for approval.

  1. Proof of nonprofit 501(c)(3) status. (See below for more information.)
  2. A business plan (written outline) of your proposal for your Trips for Kids program that describes;
    • Why you want to become a Trips for Kids chapter
    • How you plan to organize rides (i.e., will you be doing one-time day trips or longer programs)
    • Your plan for getting kids on your rides
    • How many kids you hope to serve each year
    • The demographics of the population you will serve (i.e., race, age and socio-economic status)
    • What other programs you plan to develop in the future (i.e., wrench-a-bike, Re-Cyclery, mobile programs)
    • Where you will look for funding
    • A tentative budget
  3. A list of your Board of Directors that states their names, professional affiliations and contact information.
  4. Three letters of professional reference that provide complete contact information (postal address, phone number and email address).
  5. Proof of current Liability Insurance of at least $1,000,000 plus proof that Trips for Kids is listed as an additional insured to your policy. (See below for more information.)
  6. A brief description of the qualifications of your staff and volunteers.
  7. The appropriate version of the Trips for Kids trademark license agreement signed by you or your sponsoring agency (but please call us before you fill it out).

The following are additional requirements for those who are developing Trips for Kids chapters as programs of other organizations (i.e., the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs).

  1. A written statement covering the purpose and history of your organization, including mission statement and goals.
  2. A written statement describing current programs offered by your organization. Do you currently have any type of cycling program?
  3. Brochure or newsletter from your organization.
  4. List of funders for the past two years.
  5. Organizational budget.

When we receive all of the above items we will sign the trademark agreement with you. We have found that the two biggest challenges/concerns about starting your own organization involve getting non-profit status and insurance. Keep in mind that our job here at Trips for Kids is to help you get over these obstacles and answer any questions that you might have. It's best to work on these items in the order in which they are listed above.

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Applying for Non-profit Status

To obtain non-profit status with the IRS you first need to incorporate. The process of incorporation differs from state to state. For example, some states require that you get your Employee Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS before incorporating (which can be done easily on-line). Other states allow you to incorporate and then apply for your EIN. In any event, after you are established as a corporation in your state, you can apply to the federal government for non-profit, 501(c)3, status.

The following describes the basic steps to forming a non-profit organization and obtaining tax exempt status. (For more detailed information, check out the Nolo Press book How to Form a Non-Profit Corporation, by Anthony Mancuso. Good on-line resources include's How to Start a Non-Profit and the Internet Nonprofit Center.)

  1. Check out and also review the IRS guidelines to see if you can apply using their EZ form.
  2. Review the article Ten Common Mistakes of a 501c3 Non-Profit startup.
  3. Call or write Trips for Kids to discuss the proposed name for your chapter. The name should be Trips for Kids {the name of your geographic region} (i.e., Trips for Kids Boston, Trips for Kids Denver, etc.).
  4. Call your Secretary of State Office to check for availability of your proposed name. If there is already a Trips for Kids chapter in your state, your application will need to include a letter from that chapter saying that it is okay for you to secure another TFK name. We can help you get that letter.
  5. Write and file Articles of Incorporation with your Secretary of State. Your Secretary of State's website probably has sample Articles of Incorporation, but feel free to borrow from this example from the Trips for Kids chapter in North Carolina. Note: Articles of Incorporation are difficult to amend and should be written in general terms.
  6. Write bylaws (click here for an example) that address the following issues:
    • Membership
    • Board of Directors
    • Fiscal Management
    • Amendments
  7. Submit your application for tax exempt status to the Internal Revenue Service. Publication 557 provides a complete discussion of the rules and procedures to obtain exemption from federal income tax, but in general you need only complete and submit the following forms all of which are available from the IRS website or by calling the IRS on 877-829-5500.
    • Form SS-4. Application for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
    • Form 1023. Application for Recognition of Exemption under 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. (Note: We can provide you a copy of a completed 1023 application that you can follow. Just give us a call.)
    • Form 8718. User Fee for Exempt Organization Determination Letter Request. (Note: This page lists other forms as well.)
    Keep in mind that it can take the IRS several months to respond to your application.

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Affiliating with an Existing Organization

You may want to consider finding an existing organization (i.e., YMCA, Boy's and Girls Club) to "sponsor" your program. The sponsoring organization will sign the trademark agreement and will need to provide proof of adequate insurance (including Trips for Kids as an added insured on their policy.) This process may be faster and less expensive than forming your own non-profit, but keep in mind that Trips for Kids will be their organization, not yours.

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Providing Proof of Insurance

If you are not affiliating with an existing organization that already has an insurance policy you will need to get your own liability insurance. An affordable insurance carrier is McKay Insurance Agency. Please let McKay Insurance Agency know that you are a prospective Trips for Kids chapter when you contact them for more information.

Note: McKay Insurance Agency offers liability insurance only. This is the minimum that Trips for Kids requires. It is your responsibility to make sure that the policy works for you and your organization. While the policy might be fine for a first year program, moving forward you may want to consider property, directors and officers and sexual molestation insurance, in addition to the liability coverage.

You may also check out ANI-RRG (the Alliance of Nonprofit for Insurance, Risk Retention Group) which operates in 25 states. They offer more complete coverage and Trips for Kids Marin has been using them for years, finding their prices to be excellent. They also provide valuable tips to help avoid insurance claims and even give dividends to their clients in years when claims are low.

Regardless of which firm you insure with, we require at least a $1 million liability policy. Furthermore, we require that you list Trips for Kids as an additional insured on your policy. Please have your insurance company send us an additional insured certificate with our organization listed as follows:

Trips for Kids
610 4th Street
San Rafael, CA 94901

Finally, as you plan your programs, remember that as a Trips for Kids chapter you should at a minimum provide the following services: mountain bike outings and/or environmental educational activities. If you plan to offer any other sports activities, you will need to check with your insurance provider to make sure those activities are covered by your liability policy. We urge you to ensure that you have sufficient liability for any and all activities that you offer to children and the public, and we require that all Trips for Kids activities are conducted with adequate coverage.

If you have any questions at all, please contact us. We are happy to work with you on a case by case basis to ensure that your program meets the needs of your community.

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Have Questions?

Please contact us.



What an awesome experience! Need I say more! It's like these kids re-live Christmas over and over.

– Steve Sharp, TFK SORBA volunteer