Your Support Will Help The Mountaineers Weather The Storm

We know that the financial challenges we’re experiencing now will undoubtedly impact our business in the next 12-18 months. We will rely on membership and charitable revenue to sustain our most essential functions and ensure that we are well-positioned for recovery in the months ahead.
Tom Vogl Tom Vogl
CEO, The Mountaineers
May 08, 2020

In a normal year, The Mountaineers would facilitate a month-long giving campaign in May to foster donations that leverage our mission and boost our programming. In light of COVID-19 and April’s organization-wide virtual Gala campaign, we are adjusting our traditional fundraising efforts and reducing regularly-planned electronic communications. The following is an excerpt of a letter from Tom Vogl mailed to longtime members and donors to provide an update on our organization and demonstrate a need for support.

We don’t need to look far to witness growth and opportunity. Our landscapes are blooming and spring is ushering in signs of hope all around us. Yet, in the midst of a global pandemic, it can also intensify feelings of constraint during the season when we typically come out of hibernation and are longing to spend time with mother nature.

I’ve spoken to many members who are taking the COVID-19 outbreak seriously, while resiliently finding ways to spend time outside in a public healthconscious manner. As our public lands begin to open once again, it is critical for our outdoor community to ramp participation in a measured way, and understanding what it means to recreate responsibly. This is important not only to reduce the spread of the virus, but to reduce the impact on public land managers and first responders. 

Just as we, as individuals, have been limited in the actions we can take, the same is true for The Mountaineers as an organization. In a short period of time, our normal operating activities have come to a halt. Nearly all our courses are cancelled or rescheduled, every lodge and program center closed, and all of our in-person events are postponed. 

Consequently, the revenue streams that typically sustain Mountaineers core operations have slowed to a trickle, and we find ourselves caught in a vicious storm we never saw coming. Like weathering a storm high in the mountains, we know the hike back to the trailhead will likely be wet and cold. And yet those wet, cold storms often give us an even greater appreciation for bluebird days when the sun warms our bodies and spirits. 

Recently, I had a conversation about the challenges ahead with 75-year Mountaineers member Jim Whittaker. With deep respect for Jim’s leadership and life experience, I sought his advice on addressing the crisis. His words of wisdom embody the spirit of a true Mountaineer:

I have never seen anything like what’s going on in the world right now. These are tough times. But it’s not the time to shut down. It’s the time to rise – climb up – to new challenges!”

And rise up we will.

Though we find ourselves constrained, there is still so much we can do to protect our core operations and support our community. With the safety and well-being of our volunteers, members, families, and staff in mind, The Mountaineers is committed to doing everything we can to advance our mission and strengthen our organization for the journey ahead. 

Behind the scenes, Mountaineers staff and volunteers have been busy working on resources to support you and our broader outdoor community. Many people are making wellness calls to members who are 60 years or older, offering to pick up groceries and prescriptions. Our Virtual Education Center is providing ways for Mountaineers around the world to take courses and learn new skills. Seminars and presentations continue to move online and we are working to support volunteer educators to build virtual curricula and classrooms.  

We know that the financial challenges we’re experiencing now will undoubtedly impact our business in the next 12-18 months. Above all, we aim to protect our people and our places. Our mission to support all people to explore, conserve, learn about, and enjoy our lands and waters has been a cornerstone supporting the health of the Pacific Northwest and beyond for over 100 years. The strength of our community will be critical to keep us going for centuries to come. In the aftermath of this crisis, we will rely on membership and charitable revenue to sustain our most essential functions and ensure that we are well-positioned for recovery in the months ahead.

I want to acknowledge that many members of our community are experiencing new challenges and financial demands as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, including job losses, supporting loved ones, or contributing to other nonprofit organizations. Other members have been impacted directly by the COVID-19 disease. In these times of stress, we sincerely hope you are taking care of yourself. If there’s a creative and low-cost resource that The Mountaineers can provide that would help you on your journey, I ask that you take the time to share your thoughts with me.

If you are in the position to help our organization financially, I hope you’ll consider making a gift to The Mountaineers to help protect our core operations while we navigate the impacts of the pandemic. A gift of any size will make a difference by sustaining us now so that we can plan for a better tomorrow. When our country is back to some semblance of normalcy, we will be positioned well for the journey ahead, having done all we could to support our members, donors, staff, and future programs. 

Thank you for all you do for The Mountaineers today and every day! And thank you for considering making a charitable contribution to The Mountaineers this spring. Until we can see each other again, stay healthy and safe. 

Your gift today supports our future

Thank you for supporting The Mountaineers as a member and considering a gift during these challenging times. With the Senate’s recent stimulus package, a new deduction has been made available for taxpayers. Under the bill, people who don’t itemize their taxes could deduct up to $300 in cash donations for the 2020 tax year. The bill will also lift the cap on annual giving from 60% of adjusted gross income to 100%. Please consult your professional advisors for tax-related decisions and filing. The Mountaineers® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Tax ID: 27-3009280.

MAIN IMAGE: Excelsior Ridge. PHOTO BY David bradley.


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