Impact Giving: An Insider’s Look At Scholarships

Since 2014, The Mountaineers have awarded scholarships to 640 adults and 242 youth to provide more than 17,500 hours outside through org-wide courses, clinics, clubs, and camps. Scholarships support individuals and families facing financial barriers to outdoor recreation.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
December 01, 2019

Last month we kicked off an Impact Giving series to talk about the many ways charitable donations expand our mission. We will publish a new story each month to share how philanthropy expands Mountaineers programs and empowers us to keep doing what we do best: get more people outside, expand the tradition of volunteer-led outdoor education, cultivate stewards of our public lands, and publish books to inspire adventure, exploration, and conservation.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, charitable donations enhance our ability to deliver on our mission in ways we cannot do with earned revenue alone. The Mountaineers relies on these donations to support our conservation department, youth outreach and access programs, publishing division, volunteer leadership development, scholarships, and more. 

This month we are excited to highlight a donor initiative that is at the heart of building an inclusive environment at The Mountaineers: scholarships. During our 2019 fiscal year, donor gifts supported 142 Mountaineers scholarships that made it possible for adults and youth to participate in life-changing outdoor education courses, clinics, and camps.

Adventurers of all ages and skill sets come to The Mountaineers looking to explore, conserve, learn about, and enjoy the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Over and over again, students proclaim how their Mountaineers experience helped them to build confidence, learn responsible recreation, and deepen their connections as outdoor advocates. We believe all people deserve the opportunity to build a stronger connection with the outdoors. However, the reality is that our courses pose a significant financial barrier to some, and our community is not accessible to all people without support.

This barrier is the reason we set up a scholarship fund, so that we can be a place for all levels of explorer, regardless of their ability to pay. Also known as MAP (Mountaineers Access Program), this scholarship program is entirely supported by charitable donations

Scholarships by the numbers

  • $64,301 awarded 
  • To 110 adults and 32 youth
  • Covering 20%-100% of course cost for scholarship recipients
  • Made possible by 163 donors

It’s important to note that while both are supported through MAP funds, Mountaineers scholarships are different than Mountain Workshops. Mountain Workshops are our youth outreach education programs. Mountaineers scholarships are awarded to individual adults and youth to support their participation in a specific course, clinic, club, or camp.

How do scholarships benefit everyone in The Mountaineers community?

Scholarships are a catalyst for positive change that benefit all outdoor recreationists, and the ripple effect reaches farther and wider than you might think. 

Scholarships open the door to Mountaineers courses, and these outdoor experiences serve as an important bridge between recreation and conservation. Access to new trails, summits, and seas ignites a deeper passion for the protection of our public lands and waters. Inspiring new conservationists to become advocates - especially those who may not have built this connection otherwise - is immeasurably valuable for public lands outcomes. 

What’s more, when one door opens, many others do as well as scholarship recipients share their new knowledge and skills. Scholarship recipients also open doors within our Mountaineers community, as they are more likely than any other student to come back and volunteer as an instructor for a course.

One scholarship has the power to positively impact hundreds of lives, and thousands of acres of public lands. Mountaineers donors make this possible.

A tax-deductible donation can be made to The Mountaineers at any time. Examples of ways people can make a donation include: check, credit card, cash, Donor Advised Funds, gifts of securities, IRA distributions, or through bequests set up in a person’s will. Companies support our organizations through grants, corporate sponsorships, matching gift programs, donating a percentage of sales, and gifts of in-kind goods and services.

Many members choose to make a gift in honor of their favorite educator, in memory of a loved one, or in appreciation of their own transformative experience.  

“I joined the Mountaineers 20 years ago to take part in the climbing program and it proved to be a life-changing experience.  My wife and I support this program to make that transformative experience available to others who would find it to be out of reach without a scholarship. 
-Steve Townsend, 20 year member, Peak Society

Giving season is officially here, kicking off after Thanksgiving with #GivingTuesday. This is the busiest time for our fundraising team not only because it is the last chance for donors to give before the close of the tax year, but also because the hustle and bustle of the holiday season often inspires the desire to give back to the community that supports them year-round. 

After you #OptOutside this Black Friday, consider giving in support of outdoor access. On Tuesday, December 3, The Mountaineers will participate in #GivingTuesday and once again all donations received on this day will directly support Mountaineers scholarships. 

If you are inspired to make a gift to directly support scholarships at The Mountaineers, please visit mountaineers.org/scholarshipfund. Scholarships for all branches and programs are supported through this central fund.

To learn more about scholarships at The Mountaineers, visit mountaineers.org/scholarships.


The Mountaineers® is a 501(c)(3) organization supported through earned revenue and elevated through charitable contributions, tax ID:27-3009280, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.