Our Impact

Announcing our Spring 2022 Grants!

We’re so happy to announce our Spring 2022 Local Partner Awards and share a snapshot of each of these organizations. These four grants take us to a new milestone: $240K+ in funding that expands access to outdoor education opportunities for girls and young women. Thank you for being a part of this impact. This set of Local Partners reflect some key tenets of our grant program:

We don’t have a “favorite” kind of outdoor program. We support organizations in a lot of different communities that are offering a range of activities and curriculums – biking, surfing, backpacking; after-school, weekend excursions, summer-only, etc. As we grow, we’ll be adding partners in places our funding hasn’t yet reached. Our partners know that a diverse outdoors is the best outdoors, and center their programs on access for underserved youth.

Systemic inequities, we see you. The thread that runs through each of the grants featured below is a commitment to addressing the systemic inequities that prevent young women – and especially those of Color – from equal participation in outdoor activities. We want everyone to feel welcome outside, and our niche in that dream focuses on the rising generation. Young adventurers are our future leaders!

‘Outside’ can mean a lot of things. When people think of outdoor education, they often think of weeklong expeditions to pristine wilderness landscapes. Several of our partners offer just that – and we’re proud to help more young women connect with gorgeous and inspiring ecosystems. But we know that when it comes to transformative nature education, the local park can be just as important as that faraway mountain range – sometimes, even more so. We let each of our partners tell us what ‘outside’ looks like to their participants.

Brown Girl Surf – Oakland, CA – $5K 

“You Belong Here” is the mantra that Brown Girl Surf seeks to reinforce in its community. We’re honored to continue our support for this landmark program in 2022. Brown Girl Surf builds a more diverse, environmentally reverent, and joyful surf culture by increasing access to surfing, cultivating community, amplifying the voices of female identified and gender expansive surfers of Color and taking care of the earth.

Despite their relative proximity, the surf breaks of Half Moon Bay and Pacifica are out of reach for too many youth of Color in the Bay Area. Brown Girl Surf’s holistic education program helps young women overcome the financial, cultural, and logistical barriers that stand between them and the empowering opportunities that the waves – and the surf community – have to offer. Learn more about this grant here.

Women’s Wilderness – Boulder, CO – $5K

“I can do most things I try” – this yes/no statement is included on a post-program survey for each participant in a Women’s Wilderness course, and to us, it illustrates that mental health and confidence are at the core of their curriculum. We’re proud to continue our funding to Colorado-based Women’s Wilderness; it was one of our inaugural local partners after Sarah and Alison’s John Muir Trail expedition!

A grant from The Cairn Project in 2022 will support at least 10 scholarships for participants in Girls Wilderness Adventure programs – weeklong plus day-camp style offerings around the Front Range, and multi-day programs adventuring afar, in high country Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah. Learn more about our partnership here.

Young Women Who Crush – Bronx, NY – $5K 

Community, confidence, leadership, and stewardship: these are the core principles of Young Women Who Crush’s indoor/outdoor climbing program for young women and gender expansive youth in the Bronx. This free-to-participants program started with students from one city public school, and now has a current cohort of 33 mentees – 31 of whom are people of Color – from several NYC public schools.

The cornerstone of Young Women Who Crush’s work is weekly meetups at a local climbing gym. Funding from The Cairn Project helps complement this offering with out-of-town excursions (again, tuition-free!), including winter hiking and snowboarding days, a couple of day trips to nearby climbs in the Shawangunks, and a 3-day climbing and camping excursion in Rummey, New Hampshire. Learn more about our support for Young Women Who Crush here.

AWExpeditions – Kanab, UT – $4K

By Women, For Women – that pretty much sums up the gist of AWExpeditions programs. If you haven’t heard of Sunny Stroeer and her women’s-only expedition program, we’re thrilled to introduce you! AWExpeditions operates big mountain and remote backcountry trips in locations across the globe – the Cascades of the Western US, Peru and Argentina, and even Kilimanjaro.

We’ve proudly funded scholarship opportunities for young women (ages 18-25) to join AWE trips in 2021 and 2020; this year, we’re supporting the participation of scholarship awardees on expeditions at Mt. Shasta and in the remote Paria Canyon of Utah. Stay tuned for more details about the awardees in the coming weeks! This funding is headed to the newly-formed nonprofit arm of AWExpeditions, the AWE Summit Scholarship Foundation. Learn more about our support here.

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The Cairn Project
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Mobilizing to empower young women in the outdoors through grantmaking.