Impact Giving | Ending the Year on a High Note

In this piece from Mountaineer magazine, hear from a handful of Mountaineers members on why they choose to generously support the organization through donations.
Bri Vanderlinden Bri Vanderlinden
Assistant Director of Development
January 26, 2021

Every winter I warm a kettle of cinnamon and cloves and sit down to write holiday cards to friends and family who supported me throughout the year. This personal ritual is something we practice as an organization as well.

As I write this, our board members are signing nearly 800 holiday cards to donors who contributed $100 or more in the last year, and I’m pleased to share this is 200 cards more than last year. This kind of increased support speaks to the values of our community members who care so deeply about each other and our wild places. Even from a distance, donors are helping us create ways to stay connected.

This year has been hard. The last-mile-of-the-longest-distance-you’ve-ever-hiked-carrying-extra-weight sort of hard. But as we close the book on this challenging chapter, the team at The Mountaineers is giving thanks to our incredible community. In fiscal year 2020, donors, foundations, and corporate partners contributed $1.48 million in philanthropic support, only $140,000 shy of our pre-COVID goal! We’re not through the woods yet, but we are successfully weathering this storm, and it’s a direct result of having members and supporters like you.

We thought it would be fun to connect with a handful of our donors to hear why they feel good about supporting The Mountaineers, especially during times like these. Their responses brought a smile to our faces and tears to our eyes. Especially in 2020, it's empowering to remember why our collective work matters.

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Ed Monrad and Amelie Mabbutt

Ed Monrad and Amelie Mabbutt both grew up in Washington, albeit on different sides of the state. Ed’s memories of hiking and backpacking with his grandfather are dotted with Mountaineers Books 100 Classic Hikes guidebooks, and he smiles as he remembers the originals still sitting on the shelves at his mom’s house. As kids, both Ed and Amelie spent countless hours in the hills and mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Today they live in The Netherlands, where they apply the knowledge and skills they learned through Mountaineers Books to their adventures in the Swiss Alps.

“The mountains of Washington State hold special places in our hearts, and we both miss them dearly! The work that The Mountaineers does to protect those mountains, and most importantly, teach people the skills they need to make those mountains accessible, is a powerful combination that we feel strongly about supporting in any way we can.

“The Mountaineers has influenced our lives in three significant ways. First, Mountaineers Books helped to get us outside with inspiration for family hiking and backpacking adventures. Second, in The Netherlands, we are following a multi-year study to become accredited International Mountain Leaders - a professional certification to lead treks that don't involve ropes. The study includes a lot of course materials through books written in German, which we don't speak! Luckily, we can supplement our learning with Mountaineers Books titles, and there's been at least one for every subject! Finally, we feel fortunate enough to have jobs that allow us to make philanthropic contributions to an organization that holds great meaning for us, even half a world away. Being a part of Peak Society has opened up conversations we otherwise would not have had - and we expect it's just beginning.”

—Ed Monrad and Amelie Mabbutt, Peak Society, 19-Year Members

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Greg and Bronsa Swint

Greg and Bronsa Swint joined The Mountaineers because they strongly believe in the importance of respecting and preserving our wild places. Even as new members they could see these values woven throughout the fabric of our organization. Though COVID-19 has impacted our ability to host activities, they’ve enjoyed hiking, snowshoeing, and conducting stewardship activities with us in the time they’ve been members.

“It didn't take us long to conclude that the core principles of The Mountaineers align with our own values regarding stewardship, conservation, advocacy, and education. We were also drawn to how the organization conducts its business - with focus, discipline, and compassion. Beyond this, we strongly believe that climate change poses an immediate and existential threat to the planet. However, because the challenge is so enormous it is easy for any individual to feel overwhelmed, and even defeated. By giving to The Mountaineers we believe we can make a positive contribution to an organization that is actively working, both directly and indirectly, to make a meaningful impact today and into the future.”

—Greg and Bronsa Swint, Peak Society, 2-Year Members

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Joan Burton

Lifetime member Joan Burton joined The Mountaineers almost 70 years ago to take our Basic Climbing Course to see and experience our local mountains in a safe way. Applying what she learned, Joan and her sister, Carol Strong, climbed together every single weekend for many years. In 1986, Joan collaborated with Mountaineers Books to author our very first title in the Best Hikes with Kids series, which has been so popular that these guidebooks now cover regions from San Francisco to St. Louis and beyond.

“I give to The Mountaineers because of the impact they have had on my life and community. I believe they have earned my loyal support. I am grateful to have had the chance to write Best Hikes with Kids. They took a chance on me as an unknown writer and English teacher, and Ira Spring helped by taking photos and checking my directions. It was a life-changing gift.

“I believe it is important to give back to The Mountaineers because young members represent our future. Our natural environment needs the love and care of the next generations, and it is because of our ongoing support that they will give it. Only if young folks love the natural world will they want to explore and protect it.”

—Joan Burton, Peak Society, 70-Year Member


In the midst of the holiday and giving season, we are immensely grateful for the many ways you, our readers, members, volunteers, and donors, support us and each other. The ripple effect of our courses, publications, youth programming, and conservation and advocacy efforts cultivate deep connections with our wild places and create future volunteers, community leaders, and environmental stewards. Thank you for the many ways you make a difference for our people and planet.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, The Mountaineers can receive gifts of all types, including securities, donor advised funds, and IRA distributions. To notify us of a check or for help with your donation, please reach out to development@ mountaineers.org or call 206-521-6006. If you are inspired to make a gift online in support of our year-end efforts please visit mountaineers.org/donate/yearendgiving. The Mountaineers, tax ID:27-3009280, is located at 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.


This article originally appeared in our Winter 2021 issue of Mountaineer Magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, visit our magazine archive.

LEAD IMAGE OF sunset in late december on mazama ridge, mount rainier. PHOTO BY Erynn Allen.