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Reflecting on $30K in Grants

by Alison & Sarah

What a milestone! Less than a year after our launch, we’re proud to report that we’ve channeled $30K in support for girls’ outdoor programs – in five states! First, we owe a huge thank you to our growing community of supporters who have helped make this possible. You’re the best!

This initial set of grants gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve done so far and where we’re going. Let’s dig in!

The Cairn Project’s grant program is rooted in a commitment to support organizations across the US that are helping young women get outside, push themselves to new limits, and begin to step into the role of being strong, compassionate, and confident leaders. The groups we’ve supported so far are the tip of the iceberg of an array of awesome programs that could have even greater impact with more support.

Our first six grants illustrate the range of the program we’re growing. Some of our grantees are leaders in this field with national reputations. GirlVentures, based in San Francisco, and Inspiring Girls Expeditions (formerly Girls on Ice) are two such groups. In the Bay Area, our grant to GirlVentures has offered scholarships for more young women to participate in an afternoon mentorship and climbing program called Girlz Climb On. The season is just wrapping up, and we can’t wait to hear how the program was – stay tuned!

Our support for Inspiring Girls Expeditions has helped them prepare to launch a brand new program in 2017. This is a new opportunity for young women to participate in a free kayaking and glacial expedition program in southeast Alaska this summer. In other words – expanded impact, and more young women having a transformational outdoor experience, regardless of their financial background. We love this!

In the Rockies region, two of the programs we have supported are run by seasoned, committed, volunteer rockstars. MT Alpha Cycling in Missoula, Montana is pioneering a young women’s mountain biking program – and the community is loving it! Our grant has helped them collaborate with Missoula Parks and Recreation and The Flagship Program to launch a brand new girls MTB team!

Meanwhile, down in Durango, Colorado the ladies behind the magic of the SOLES program are in their final preparation to set off on a first-ever, capstone packrafting trip that will mark the end of their program year for this year’s cohort. This has been a “bucket list” dream for SOLES, and funding from The Cairn Project has made it possible! They leveraged our support and sought out in-kind gifts for raft gear, and have been collaborating with local BLM colleagues in designing the trip’s river restoration component.

Most recently, we’ve added Little Bellas Twin Cities, a volunteer-led chapter of a cycling and mentorship program pioneered by Olympic cyclists, and Women’s Wilderness, a Boulder-based group that is growing its program to reach girls in the Denver region, to our list of partners. In both cases, our support is empowering these groups to get more young women outside and learning in the upcoming summer season.

Looking ahead, we’ve got big plans – many more partners, new states and regions, and lots of learning and inspiration! Thanks to all of you who have been founding supporters of this vision!

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