We’re Feeling the Pinch, Here’s How You Can Help

The COVID-19 crisis has everyone worried about their finances and The Mountaineers is no exception. Here are three ways our volunteers can support The Mountaineers right now.
Gabe Aeschliman Gabe Aeschliman
Course Leader, Super Volunteer, and Board Vice President
March 26, 2020
We’re Feeling the Pinch, Here’s How You Can Help
Photo by Luke Helgeson.

As a course leader, I deeply empathize with any volunteer who’s had to make the extremely difficult decision to cancel or alter a course that you spent months planning. I also empathize with the hundreds of volunteers who were looking forward to supporting these courses or continuing the operations of our lodges this spring. With at least 30 courses, all of our lodges, and nearly 1,000 volunteers and students affected by these changes, it’s clear that we are entering truly unprecedented times.

There’s no sugarcoating it - times will be tough for many of us financially. The Mountaineers is also feeling the pinch. In the span of just a few weeks, hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue from course fees, seminars, and lodge stays were lost. Those funds are crucial to maintaining baseline operations for the organization, including liability insurance, facility costs, the website, and more. Additionally, the annual fundraising gala was rescheduled to July. This event raises over $400,000 and the loss of this springtime revenue critically impairs our ability to adequately meet the needs of our volunteers and members once our doors re-open.

One of the things that I appreciate the most about our Mountaineers community is our ability to persevere through hard times, no doubt a product of our extended time outdoors. Though it may take a while to fully recover, together we can weather this storm. And while it’s easy to feel helpless in times like these, there are some easy ways that each of us can pitch in right now to help our organization be resilient during this time of great change.

Leaders within our community have been hard at work putting together a week-long virtual gala experience for our entire membership to help bring in some operating funds while we wait out the impacts of COVID-19. It’s open to our entire community and offers easy ways to stay connected through a series of fun videos, unique giving opportunities, and the PNW’s best online silent auction. 

You don’t have to be a big donor or buy a gala ticket to support the cause. If you have 5 minutes, consider doing these three things right now to support our community:

  1. Watch this brand new All Dressed Up, Nowhere to Go video, featuring Mountaineers resident auctioneer, Fred Northup Jr.! 
  2. Pre-register for our online auction. Everyone who plans to play needs to register for online bidding, including gala attendees and Mountaineers members. Bidding officially opens at 6am on March 30. Whether you plan to bid or not, consider liking and sharing our YouTube and Facebook links to help promote the opportunity to others we might not reach otherwise. This is truly a community effort!
  3. Give what you can in honor of the people, places, and books that helped shape your Mountaineers story. Gifts of any size are deeply appreciated. 

100% of proceeds from the virtual gala campaign, including all winning bids for backcountry snow gear, trips to Whistler, and Stevens ski passes, will directly support The Mountaineers core operations.

Thank you for standing together during our collective time of need. It means a lot to have your support of our fellow volunteers, students, and staff. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to development@mountaineers.org if you have questions or want to talk further about how you can help.

Donate your refund

Course leaders - another easy way you can support The Mountaineers is by ensuring your students know about all of their options if a course gets cancelled. Please share pertinent refund information, but also share that students can reach out to info@mountaineers.org to have all or a portion of their course fee donated back to The Mountaineers in support of future outdoor programming. Every bit helps!

main photo by luke helgeson. 

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