About the Foundation
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Our Mission and Values

The BMW Motorcycle Owners of America Foundation is dedicated to improving rider safety, and supporting motorcycling and its rich heritage. This mission is founded on the following goals:

  • Promote programs for first-time riders, with an emphasis on youth, women and families
  • Establish a clearinghouse for information related to the proper maintenance and safe motorcycle operation
  • Support educational and personal growth programs related to safe and enjoyable motorcycle use
  • Respond positively to the initiatives of donors and supporters within the stated Mission and vision of the Foundation, and to seek opportunities to partner with other organizations with similar missions

Governing By Laws

Officers and Directors


George Rice resides in South Hero, Vermont and joined the BMW MOA in 2004. He has been a volunteer at International Rallies for several years and has recently been a co-chair of Registration. He has retired as both an attorney and an Army reserve Lieutenant Colonel.

George was a Rotarian for several decades, serving in different capacities including as District Governor and working with the Rotary Foundation. He has taught at the college level, as a Red Cross Disaster instructor and is certified as an instructor with MSF, teaching motorcycle safety for the State of Vermont. He looks forward to being involved with our Foundation as a director.

George rides a R1200GS. He and Pamela, who owns a G650GS and is an MOA member, ride together throughout the U.S. They are members of Chartered Club #115 BMW Motorcycle Owners of Vermont where Pamela is Treasurer.

Eric M. Simon has been a lawyer representing health care clients in business and regulatory matters since 1987. He is regularly listed in the Best Lawyers in America in his specialty of health care law.

Eric was chairman of the board of Neighborhood Family Practice, a Federally-Qualified Health Center, and organized several fundraising rides for that Clinic with the BMW Motorcycle Owners of Cleveland. Eric is past president of the BMW Motorcycle Owners of Cleveland, and was chairman and volunteer committee member of the March of Dimes Ride for Babies in Cleveland, Ohio for several years.

Eric was a trustee of the BMW MOA Foundation when it was originally established. He rides a R1200RT and a Buell XB9SX when not in a BMW state of mind.

Bruce’s day job is a facility design engineer for Qwest Communications. He & his wife Miranda joined the MOA in 2004. They appeared in the November  2006 Issue of theBMW Owners News when they found the real value of the Anonymous Book & successfully nominated Deb & Charlie Parsons for a Helping Hands.

Bruce became active in the BMW Motorcycle Club of Colorado in 2006 as Secretary & was nominated / elected / re-elected President in 2007 & 2008. He likely served you a cup of coffee in Johnson City or he may have judged your K-Bike if you entered in the ride-in bike show. He was asked to take a role on the BMW MOA Foundation board in June of 2009 and was later nominated Secretary / Treasurer where he serves today.

Pete Schmitz resides in Dubuque, Iowa. He has been a member of the MOA since 2010. Pete moved back to his boyhood home following his retirement after almost 30 years with BNSF Railway in Fort Worth, Texas.

He re-kindled his childhood love of motorcycling in 2002, after a 23 year break. When he’s not able to ride (December-February in Iowa), he enjoys volunteering, riding his fat bike and hiking with his wife and dogs.

Pete rides a BMW S1000XR, a BMW R1200GSA with DMC sidecar and a KTM 350EXC.

Deb has been a BMW MOA member since the late 70s and became an Ambassador in the mid 80s. She served on the BMW MOA Board of Directors as President, Secretary, Vice-President and elected as Treasurer over a 14 year period.

During the development of the initial Foundation structure, Deb was a Trustee and helped recruit the 99 other members, served as an advisor while on the BMW MOA Board and served one previous term as a Foundation Board member after leaving the MOA Board in 2009.

She has a Ph.D. in sociology from University of Iowa and has worked as a consultant in the health and human services financial management arena for close to 20 years. Clients enjoy seeing her ride in to project sites or to conferences from Colorado or other starting points on her R1200GS.

Karol has been a BMW MOA member for 25 years, as well as an Ambassador. She served 2 terms on the BMW MOA board of directors and held several offices in her local BMW club. She has chaired local and National Rallies and has been the BMW MOA National Charity Chair for 18 years.

Karol was a principal rider on two of the Pony Express Rides benefiting Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research. When she’s not riding her R1200GS in an Long Distance event, she’s visiting dealers in her role as Gerbing’s Heated Clothing Regional Sales Mgr.

Karol was one of the original trustees of the Foundation during it’s very early years.

Peter is semi-retired from a career as a pharmacist services consultant. He has been riding motorcycles for over 50 years and loves his BMW motorcycles. Peter’s first BMW motorcycle was a 1959 R60 that he wishes he still owned. He currently has three BMWs – a 2000 GS with 170,000 miles, a 2007 RT with 160,000 miles and a “new-to-me” 2012 K1600 GT. Peter has managed to double odometer reading in two months of ownership.

Peter became interested in the work of the Foundation through his son, Tyler, who was a GEARS Training participant. Peter says, “I’m hoping to bring a simple approach and an experienced rider’s perspective to the Foundation.”

Mark is the newest Director for the BMW MOA Foundation and has awesome hair.

Greg Straub resides in Portland, Oregon where he retired as a district manager with the Social Security Administration after a 30+ year career that took him to a number of duty stations around the Pacific Northwest including Alaska. Greg has been a committee co-chair at the national rally.

In addition to motorcycling, Greg is also a passionate follower of Formula 1 racing. He says it provides a great excuse for a 6,000 mile ride to Montreal and back every June for the Grand Prix du Canada.

Greg rides an F800ST and an R1200RT as well as a Lemond Buenes Aires (bicycle) that he has ridden on tours to every corner of Oregon. Greg’s home club is the BMW Riders of Oregon, #83 and he is also a member of the BMW RA.

Our History

On September 7, 2000, a new non-profit educational foundation named the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America Foundation was approved as a tax-exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service. This is the story of the vision, dedication, and hard work that created this organization.

After a meeting of BMW club presidents at the International Rally in Fredicksburg, Texas, in 1997, BMW MOA Ambassador Clark Luster approached BMW MOA President Jeff Dean about the possibility of creating a tax-exempt foundation for motorcycle enthusiasts. Luster, who was the executive director for Pressley Ridge Schools, a non-profit foundation for underprivileged children, imagined that motorcyclists might appreciate the opportunity to make tax-deductible gifts to an organization dedicated to the advancement of safety and education in motorcycling. Dean agreed.

During the following winter, Luster presented the idea to Jeff Dunkle, the treasurer of the BMW MOA. Dunkle arranged for Luster to get a slot on the agenda of the next MOA board of directors meeting, which was scheduled to meet at the American Motorcyclist Association headquarters in Westerville, Ohio, in April, 1998.

Luster outlined his concept to the MOA board, and asked for permission to form a task force to explore the feasibility of the creation of a new foundation. The MOA board unanimously approved the creation of a task force, and Luster returned home to Pittsburgh, realizing he had created a world of work for himself and other supporters of the concept. His next step was to prepare a presentation for the 1998 MOA International Rally in Missoula, Montana, which resulted in MOA President Dean appointing a feasibility task force consisting of himself, Luster, D.J. Douglas, Mike White, Jeff Dunkle, Charles Peters, and Roger Wiles. Luster reported the formation of the task force at the annual Ambassador dinner, receiving an enthusiastic reaction.

Luster hosted the first meeting of the task force in the conference room of Pressley Ridge Schools in Pittsburgh on April 20, 1998. With the assistance of attorney Carolyn Duronio, the group spent a day brainstorming and planning how to launch the new foundation. The following goals were established:

  • Create a national educational facility including a library, archives, museum, and hall of fame.
  • Provide training in riding skills, safety and leadership.
  • Promote programs for first-time riders with an emphasis on youth, women, and minorities.
  • Establish a clearinghouse for the redistribution of motorcycles, equipment, and supplies.
  • Respond positively to new and creative initiatives from the members.

Another Pittsburgh BMW rider, David Celento, learned about the project and became enthusiastically involved. Celento, and his wife Rebecca Henn, both of whom are architects, contributed many hours to the development of the concept of a national headquarters that could serve enthusiasts.This concept envisioned a 200 acre site in scenic riding country, featuring meeting space, educational facilities, motorcycle maintenance bays, camping, and lodging facilities. This component was thought to be a long term project that would be implemented in phases.

Luster reported the proposals of the task force to the BMW MOA Board of Directors at a meeting in Tucson in January 1999. In response, the board unanimously approved a motion by Director Ted Verrill to create a tax-exempt foundation. An executive committee was formed consisting of Luster, president; Wiles, secretary; D.J. Douglas, treasurer; and Peters, Dean, Sue Rihn-Manke, Court Fisher, and Jeff Melcher as trustees.

The foundation board had hoped to officially launch the project at the 1999 MOA International Rally at Rheinbeck, New York. Unfortunately, this did not happen because working out a licensing agreement with the BMW MOA (a requirement of BMW North America to use the BMW name) was not as simple as anticipated. In the meantime, Luster got the nameless foundation incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania, and settled for a second annual progress report and informal briefing – rather than an official launch — at Rheinbeck.

At the Rheinbeck Rally, The Chain Gang raised $2,500 for the foundation with a 50/50 raffle, and the Kansas City BMW Club donated $1,000, which helped offset legal expenses that had been incurred to create the foundation.
In January 2000, the necessary licensing agreement was finalized and approved by the BMW MOA Board of Directors during a special telephone conference. At this time the BMW MOA board had set out to restructure the administrative functions of the organization, hiring former AMA president Ed Youngblood as an organizational consultant. Youngblood, who had set up the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation on behalf of the AMA during the 1980’s, was instructed by the BMW MOA directors to provide assistance to help the BMW MOA Foundation trustees move the project forward as quickly as possible. In February, 2000, Youngblood advised Luster in finalizing the Bylaws for the BMW MOA Foundation, and papers were filed by attorney Duronio with the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status.

In April 2000, the process of selecting a full board of 100 trustees for the Foundation was put in place. By July 2000, every piece for the creation of the BMW MOA Foundation was in place except final approval for tax-exempt status by the IRS. By-laws were approved, Pennsylvania incorporation was completed, a name had been chosen and properly licensed by the BMW MOA, and a board of trustees was in place.

In an epic meeting, sixty-six trustees held their first meeting on July 12, 2000, at the MOA International Rally at Midland, Michigan. During a productive two-hour meeting committees were created, committee chairs selected, and a new executive board created consisting of Luster, Wiles, Rihn-Manke, Sandy Cohen, Deb Lower, and Jim Shaw. Shortly thereafter, on September 7, 2000, the BMW MOA Foundation received its tax-exempt approval from the IRS!

Since that time, and through the efforts of many volunteers, and after many false starts and set backs, the Foundation has worked hand-in-hand with the Board of the BMW MOA to evolve into what is now the fundraising arm of the MOA. The Foundation is now responsble for generating the money used to pay for the courses and educational opportunites offered by the MOA’s Rider Performance Univeristy (RPU). In addition, the Foundation purchase a SmartTrainer riding simulator/trainer developed by the MSF and Honda. The SmartTrainer is offered at major rallies and local club events, and has proven to be a very popular means of reminding all participants that you can always learn to be a better, and safer, rider.

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