What 2020 Tells Us About 2021

Our ability to sustain our core programs and adapt will continue to be dependent on the generosity of donors. If you are in the position to help sustain our mission financially, please consider making a gift to The Mountaineers in the month of December.
Tom Vogl Tom Vogl
Mountaineers CEO
December 06, 2020

Even though the days are shorter, I hope you are still finding ways to spend time outside and connect with nature. My kids and I have been spending time together on family adventures and enjoying the season's change. I also hope that you and your loved ones are staying healthy and doing as well as possible as we prepare for a long winter ahead.

As I reflect back on this year, I’m in awe of how well we’ve all responded to the challenges of the pandemic. At The Mountaineers, the biggest challenge we faced this year was the dramatic reduction of revenue. In what felt like the blink of an eye, we were facing a more than 25% revenue gap for the year. To successfully survive this COVID-induced storm, we've had to adapt to significant changes and redouble our commitment to our mission and core values.
 
Immediately, program budgets were reduced to reflect only the most necessary costs, and staff were furloughed and are shouldering 14-month pay cuts. Volunteers quickly worked to develop new online courses and events for members to engage virtually, and we collaboratively determined ways to restart programs with reduced group sizes.

One thing that didn’t change was the tremendous philanthropic support from our Mountaineers community. More than 3,000 members like you offered charitable gifts of all sizes to protect our core operations in the last year. This support has strengthened our ability to slowly and safely restart programs and preserve the most important services we provide to the outdoor community.

Well, 2020 didn’t really come out as we expected, did it? Yet, in every cloud there’s a silver lining. Together, we are a community. And we work together towards a common goal of being outdoors, sharing the outdoors with people, and finding happiness in the pursuit of adventure.” 
— Conrad Anker, 10-year member & donor, 2020 Gala Speaker

As we look ahead, we are preparing for another challenging year. Once again, we will be tasked with doing more with less and finding creative ways to generate program revenue in a time of social distancing, yet we are confident that we will weather this storm by working together as a Mountaineers community. 

Though programming will look a little different, what’s not changing is our rock-solid commitment to making the outdoors accessible through scholarships for courses and youth programs, our conservation and advocacy efforts to protect wild places, and our partnerships with volunteers to help people connect with the outdoors safely and responsibly. Now, perhaps more than any other time in Mountaineers history, our community needs us to deliver on our mission to protect and enhance the outdoor experience.

While we’ve built a plan that is conservative and fiscally responsible, our ability to sustain our core programs and adapt will continue to be dependent on the generosity of donors. If you are in the position to help sustain our mission financially, I hope you’ll consider making a gift to The Mountaineers in the month of December. We’ve set an ambitious goal of raising $100,000 to support our core operations by the close of the calendar year, and a gift of any size will make a difference in our ability to serve our community. 

support with a year-end gift

Thank you for supporting The Mountaineers by being a member and considering a gift during these challenging times. Even though many things are beyond our control, we stand together, deeply committed to protecting and enhancing the outdoor experience. 
 
As of today, Mountaineers members have helped raise $56,000 toward our $100,000 year-end goal. We hope you’ll consider joining this amazing group of leaders with your unrestricted year-end gift. If you would like to make a gift of securities, notify us of a check in the mail, or have any other questions, please reach out to development@mountaineers.org or call (206) 521-6006. 

Until we can see each other again in person, stay healthy and safe. 

MAIN IMAGE OF JAMES AND TOM VOGL, BY TOM VOGL.


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.


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Sarah Taylor
Sarah Taylor says:
Dec 07, 2020 02:35 PM

"Immediately, program budgets were reduced to reflect only the most necessary costs, and staff were furloughed and are shouldering 14-month pay cuts. "

Interested to know if you also took a pay cut with the rest of the staff as CEO? I reviewed the Annual Tax Filings from 2018 (there was no document for 2019) and observed that there was $2.2MM spent on 'salaries and wages' which does appear excessive for a small ~20 person non-profit. Is there a more detailed breakdown available to members so we can see where our donations are going?

Amber Carrigan
Amber Carrigan says:
Dec 08, 2020 07:43 AM

Hi Sarah, thank you for your comment. I’m happy to help clarify some of the things you called out! First, you’re correct that the 2018 Audited Financials show $2.2M spent on salaries and wages – these funds supported over 40 full-time staff at The Mountaineers and Mountaineers Books and more than a dozen part-time youth staff. The Mountaineers benchmarks salaries and wages to comparable nonprofits and our compensation philosophy is to pay staff between 25% and 50% of the market median. Though 40+ full-time staff may seem like a lot, when considering the size and complexity of operations at The Mountaineers and Mountaineers Books, our staffing structure is lean compared to other organizations of similar scope.

In regards to staff salary pay cuts, the levels of cuts ranged from 0% for our lowest-paid staff to 33% for the CEO. As part of their fiduciary responsibilities, pay cut levels were reviewed by the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors to ensure equity. Additionally, nearly all staff, including managers, directors, and the CEO took mandatory furloughs. And finally, the CEO opted to donate half of his salary in April to The Mountaineers as part of our overall financial response plan, which he did without prompting from the staff or board.

In addition to posting our financials to the website (2019 financials are coming soon!), we offer many opportunities throughout the year for members to stay informed about the financial health of the organization. A great place to start is our Impact Giving | Why Earned Revenue is Not Enough blog because it details exactly how charitable funds support The Mountaineers vs. earned revenue like course fees and membership dues. Members are also invited to join us for the Annual Meeting in September, and this year our CEO led a couple town hall-style zoom calls where he dug into the weeds about our finances and took questions from members. Additionally, our CEO Update blogs offer a lot of information about our financial health, including detailed explanations about the staff pay cuts, elimination of 401K matches for all staff, staff furloughs, and staff layoffs that happened in the spring.

If you have other questions that aren’t being answered in the resources already available, you are always welcome to email info@mountaineers.org.

Thank you for being a member!