ABOUT THE BMW MOA FOUNDATION

ADVANCING RIDER SKILLS, EDUCATION, AND TRAINING

The Foundation’s 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 Fredericksburg, 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 Presley 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 1980s, 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. Bylaws 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.

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 responsible for generating the money used to pay for the courses and educational opportunities offered by the MOA’s Rider Performance University (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.

The Foundation’s Mission and Values

The MOA Foundation preserves the rich heritage of motorcycling by advancing rider skills, education, and training. This mission is founded on the following goals:

  • Advocating for skills development, education and training

  • Creating legacies that impact rider training

  • Accelerating our impact by partnering with organizations who share our vision of training every rider

  • Building an accountable organization to achieve excellence

The Foundation’s Governing Bylaws

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 1980s, 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. Bylaws 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.

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 responsible for generating the money used to pay for the courses and educational opportunities offered by the MOA’s Rider Performance University (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.

Meet the MOA Foundation Directors

Steve Martin

MOA Foundation President

Steve is the current MOA Foundation Vice President. After a career in the commercial printing business, Steve sold his business and focused his expertise within the nonprofit sector in the role of Director of Development and with responsibilities including donor engagement and fundraising. Steve enjoys motorcycle travel worldwide and has ridden since 1970. He purchased his first BMW in 1995 and currently rides an R 1200 RT and a Ducati Monster.

Motorcycle training and safety are Steve’s passion. A couple of decades ago, Steve and his wife were returning home from a motorcycle ride and came upon the scene of a motorcycle crash. They later learned that the passenger, a mother of two little girls, was killed. With a drive to help reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities, he contacted his local community college to inquire about helping in their motorcycle training program. He was subsequently trained by the MSF and spent the next 10 years training new riders.

Tom Gary

MOA Foundation Vice President

Tom currently serves as the MOA Foundation Vice President and also made a lasting impact as President of the MOA FoundationTom has been riding since purchasing his first motorcycle in 1971, a new Honda CB 750 K1, and started motorcycle touring with his wife. He joined the BMW MOA in 2000 after purchasing his first BMW, and quickly realized that being a Life Member would insure he would always be part of the BMW community. He is also member of BMW Touring Club Detroit (Charter Club #1), were he was Vice-President and President. He is also a member of the BMW RA, where he is serving as a Regional Director. In addition he is a past Director/Treasurer of Curve Cowboy Reunion (Charter Club #282). Other memberships include AMA and local club Michigan Sport Touring Riders.

In addition to his passion for riding, Tom can be found in his workshop creating furniture and other wood projects for his family. Tom is excited to serve on the MOA Foundation Board and believes promoting rider training and safety is the best way to insure the future of motorcycle riding.. Retired from Norfolk Southern Corporation, a major railroad and logistic company, Tom has held several management positions over his 38-year career, ending with corporate responsibility for automotive operations and damage prevention. He has also served in many volunteer leadership roles notably as President of a credit union in Roanoke Va. Tom currently serves his local community as Planning Commissioner for York Township Michigan where he resides.

Tom believes the MOA Foundation is a rare opportunity to serve in a volunteer capacity that directly serves the members of an organization in a way the literally can save lives. Tom uses his business skills to raise money to further the mission of the foundation of advancing rider safety, education, and training. “I believe skill development and safety are totally fundamental to riding a motorcycle. It gives me great joy that as a Foundation we are impacting riders in a positive way. Guiding the Foundation future has been an honor.”

Tom became a Life Member in 2000 when he was encouraged to join the MOA by a fellow member soon after purchase of his first BMW. He has three BMW’s, the most recent a 2019 R 1250 RT.

Tom has been riding since purchasing his first motorcycle in 1971, a new Honda CB 750 K1, and started motorcycle touring with his wife. He joined the BMW MOA in 2000 after purchasing his first BMW, and quickly realized that being a Life Member would insure he would always be part of the BMW community. He is also member of BMW Touring Club Detroit (Charter Club #1), were he was Vice-President and President. He is also a member of the BMW RA, where he is serving as a Regional Director. In addition he is a past Director/Treasurer of Curve Cowboy Reunion (Charter Club #282). Other memberships include AMA and local club Michigan Sport Touring Riders.

In addition to his passion for riding, Tom can be found in his workshop creating furniture and other wood projects for his family. Tom is excited to serve on the MOA Foundation Board and believes promoting rider training and safety is the best way to insure the future of motorcycle riding.

Tami Bakke

MOA Foundation Secretary

Tami currently serves on the executive team as Secretary and chairs the committee charged with marketing and communications. Tami joined the MOA Foundation board of directors in January of 2023. She is happiest when she is learning new things and counts learning to ride a motorcycle as one of her favorites.

Tami has worked in varied roles throughout her career, including as a soldier (US Army Reserves), an art teacher, and a marketing manager and community coordinator for an incredible school for young children. She has also served on the board of directors for the BMW Riders of Tampa Bay near her home in Valrico, Florida.

Tami learned to ride a motorcycle at the age of 44 after an unexpected life event and credits motorcycling as a significant part of her effort to recover. She states that learning to ride taught her that, despite life’s unpredictability, there’s usually a way to take a challenging situation and turn it into something beautiful. Tami will tell you that motorcycling nurtures her sense of adventure, resiliency, and curiosity.

Tami and her husband, Doug, live near Tampa, Florida where, despite the flat and relatively straight roads, they manage to have plenty of adventures. They love to motorcycle camp, make attempts at riding in the sand and mud, and keep up their skills on and off the tarmac with regular training classes. Doug and Tami travel as often as they can. Tami’s first motorcycle was a 2003 Triumph Thunderbird, and her current rides are a 40th Anniversary F750GS and a 2015 R1200GS.

David Dunn

MOA Foundation Treasurer

David currently serves on the executive committee of the board of directors in the role of Treasurer. David has served on many non-profit boards and was elected multiple times to chair a large school board. He has donated his time toward helping many charities from United Way to Habitat for Humanity and Rotary. He is also a Paramedic (18 years) and now teaches EMS in the Lehigh Valley.

David came onto the MOAF Board because of his EMS experiences. While responding to motorcycle accidents, he saw riders who failed to wear proper gear, failed to negotiate corners or avoid obstacles, and who had over-run their abilities. He realized that skills training could help all riders — from beginners to long-term enthusiasts. He believes that assisting the MOA Foundation in raising money for skills development grants will help reduce motorcycle accident statistics.

David has been riding motorcycles since college except for a 15-year break while raising his kids. He came back to riding in 2004, while living in Vermont, when he purchased a 2002 R 1150 RT and joined the MOA.currently rides a 2020 R 1250 GS about 10K/year. He loves long distance touring, motorcycle camping and splitting his time between riding and working EMS at rallies. David says, “I look forward to growing the Foundation into a self-sustaining organization that supports rider safety, education and training. One day, I hope every rider participates in annual training events, no matter their skill level.” David and his wife Vikki have three grown children and two grandchildren.

David and his wife Vikki have three grown children and one granddaughter. David has been riding motorcycles since college except for a 15-year break while raising his kids. He came back to riding in 2004, while living in Vermont, when he purchased a 2002 R 1150 RT and joined the MOA.

David has served on many non-profit Boards and was elected multiple times to run/chair a large school board. He has donated his time toward helping many charities from United Way to Habitat. He is also a Paramedic (15 years) and now teaches EMTs in the Lehigh Valley.

David currently rides a 2020 R 1250 GS and enjoys the open road. He loves long distance touring, motorcycle camping and splitting his time between riding and working EMS at rallies. David says, “I am really looking forward to building the BMW MOA Foundation into a self-sustaining organization that supports rider safety, education and training. One day, I hope every rider is trained.”

Jim Nyffeler

MOA Foundation Director

Jim joined the board of directors of the MOA Foundation in January 2023 and serves on the Legacy Committee, which is charged with fund raising and donor relations. As he entered retirement, Jim’s interest in volunteering for the foundation was sparked during a conversation with the late Chuck Manley, a former director on both the BMW MOA and the BMW MOA Foundation boards. Chuck’s passion was an inspiration, so Jim stepped forward as a volunteer and was soon invited to serve on the board of directors.

An endorsed motorcyclist since 1993, Jim’s first bike was a Honda Pacific Coast. He currently rides a 2017 R1200RT and a G310GS and has owned several bikes over the years, including an R1150GS, F650 Dakar, F800GS, and R1150R. He is a member of the Knights of the Roundel #333.

Jim encourages every rider to seek additional skills development at least annually and is honored to help hundreds of riders to utilize the Paul Bachorz Individual Training Grant and the Clark Luster Group Training Grant to obtain professional rider training at a reduced cost.

Marshall “Marty” Martin

MOA Foundation Director

Marty chairs the Historical Archive committee and has served on the executive committee of the MOA Foundation in the role of secretary. Marty’s current role as Development and Operations Officer at the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation allows him to support the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. There, he focuses on exhibit design and improving the visitor experience. Marty’s experience in this role is invaluable to the BMW MOA Foundation because he is helping to develop the dream of building a Museum and Historical Archive that will document the unique story of MOA members, the organization, as well as inspiring a new generation of riders to be a part of motorcycling and hopefully the MOA.

Service is what drives Marty’s passion to serve MOA members. Marty says his work at the Foundation is most rewarding when we can provide training to riders that seek to perfect their craft of riding a motorcycle safely and responsibly. “While we are all able to ride a motorcycle, I enjoy the challenge of riding better each time I go out and taking a reflective look at how well I am doing. Taking a motorcycle training course has always been rewarding for me as it is vector check on how well I am doing and where I can improve.”

Marty has been a member of the MOA since 2015. He currently rides a 2012 R 1200 RT and a 2016 K 1600 GTL.

His current steeds are a K 1600 GTL and R 1200 RT. As a private pilot and retired naval flight officer, being able to serve with the MOA Foundation gives him the opportunity to pursue his passion for riding while providing an opportunity to and for fellow riders to improve their skills using aviation safety and risk management principles.

Marty and his wife Sarah, also retired Navy, have two grown children, Zach and Julie, and three grandchildren. They live in Pensacola.

Walton Rogers

MOA Foundation Director

As a Foundation Director and Fundraising Chair, Walton has been tasked with telling the Foundation’s story and suggesting ways donors can help. To do that, Walton is looking for experienced riders who promote safety and training for all, especially for the new rider who wants to experience the fun in motorcycling without the crashes.

Each spring when he begins riding after several months of very few rides, he is reminded that his riding skills are both perishable AND renewable. While saddle time can be one of his teachers, Walton believes a well-organized training class can create more muscle memory in one day than a month of riding can accomplish. Walton has spent more than 40 years as a financial professional and every year is required to renew his knowledge and skills with classes, drills and situations to resolve. He believes in continually getting better at what he does whether it be with his woodworking hobby, motorcycling, or financial skills.

Walton has been a member of the MOA since 2014, when he attended his first nationally rally in St Paul, Minnesota with a desire to learn from more experienced riders. His current ride is a 2017 R 1200 RT which he says fits his riding interest perfectly-hot and sassy!

Walton has been married to Linda for 30 years. They have four adult children and reside in Amelia Island, Florida, after stops in Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, New York and Maryland. Walton says his attraction to the MOA Foundation was because their primary purpose is to train every rider. This not only refreshes our perishable skills, but it makes things safer and more fun for everyone. He hopes to join you soon in one of these training events.

Bob Cohen

MOA Foundation Director

Bob joined the Board of Directors in January 2024, having been a MOA member since 2004. After retiring from his career as a veterinarian in early 2021, Bob took the opportunity to get involved with the MOA, joining his local charter club, and becoming a MOA Regional Coordinator in February 2022. It was in October 2023 when Bob attended one of the Premier Training sessions in Greer, SC that he had the opportunity to meet many of the MOAF Directors and was excited to volunteer and get involved with the Foundation’s mission.

Having experienced a couple of accidents over the many years and miles of riding, Bob is committed to advocating for regular rider training for all motorcyclists. Working with his fellow Board members, he’s looking forward to helping all motorcyclists become aware of and pursue regular training, and also working to build the SafeMiles Endowment to be a self-sustaining source of funds for rider training well into the future!

Bob has been riding motorcycles since his college days, when his best friend taught him to ride a Suzuki 185. There was no looking back after that, as there was almost always a motorcycle or two in the driveway or garage. He rode many Honda sport-touring machines through the 70’s and 80’s, purchasing his first BMW somewhere around 1988. And there have been many BMW’s since that time, along with an occasional MV Agusta, Ducati, and an Aprilia.

Bob lives on the Downeast Coast of Maine with his wife, Bonnie, as well as a couple of four-legged critters. He currently owns a 2018 R1200GS, a 2000 R1100S, is restoring a 1986 R80 . . . and is still looking for that “perfect” R100RS.

Terry Fowler

MOA Foundation Director

Terry joined the board of directors in January 2024 after answering a call for volunteers. With decades of experience in financial management (healthcare industry) and executive level operations and his passion for riding, Terry embraces the mission of the Foundation as a way to help riders improve their skills no matter what type of riding they enjoy.

Terry has been riding motorcycles since the age of 12. His first bike was a Yamaha JT1. Terry obtained his street license at age 15 as a means of transportation to his first job. Over the years, he has enjoyed many types of riding including motocross, enduros, hair scrambles, desert events, and dual sport and sport touring.

Terry purchased his first BMW motorcycle in 2011. Currently, he enjoys riding a BMW R1250RT, a Beta 390 RRS, and an Aprilia Tuareg 660. Terry believes everyone should ride within their capabilities and encourages all riders to seek regular professional training as a way to optimize skills, safety, and enjoyment.