PLATINUM2023

Outward Bound California

San Francisco, CA   |  www.outwardboundcalifornia.org

Mission

Outward Bound California's mission is to change lives through challenge and discovery. By providing the highest quality outdoor education available in the world, Outward Bound California supports more than 2,200 youth and adults annually across California to take new risks and overcome new obstacles, both as individuals and within groups. Faced with the abundance of nature's lessons — from biting winds, to staggering heights, to scorching sun, and bone-soaking rain — participants discover within themselves and among their peers previously unknown reserves of resilience, balanced by more deeply felt compassion for their own limitations and that of their peers. These discoveries become assets that alumni can use to transform their lives, their communities, and the world.

Ruling year info

2009

Executive Director

Nettie Pardue

Main address

548 Market St PMB 68876

San Francisco, CA 94104-5401 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Pacific Crest Outward Bound School

Outward Bound Bay Area Center

EIN

26-4206241

NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Recreational and Sporting Camps (Day, Overnight, etc.) (N20)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We believe that all youth need opportunities to experience the outdoors, develop character and leadership skills, and achieve their highest potential. We believe that every young person, regardless of circumstances, can push themselves and achieve more than they ever thought possible. 70% of the students we serve annually come low-income communities, historically underrepresented in the outdoors. Many live in unstable home environments and/or neighborhoods known to experience high levels of crime. These youth are immersed in a sedentary and digital world, on average logging more than 7.5 hours of screen time. Many are struggling in school and have never visited open spaces in their region. In this context, our expeditions connect youth to nature, instill hope in them and inspire them to reach their full potential. These courses not only offer holistic health and personal development opportunities for students, but also integrate with schools to create better academic outcomes.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Open Enrollment Wilderness Expeditions

Students come together from all across the country and the world to join us for multi-week backpacking and rock climbing expeditions in the High Sierra and in Joshua Tree. While Outward Bound California courses vary greatly in terms of course type, length, itinerary, and location, there is a standard format. Courses move through a series of challenging phases as instructors gradually hand over more and more responsibility to the student group. Ultimately, most student groups progress to a "final challenge" in which they navigate the route, coordinate the daily schedule, and make decisions with little or no direct intervention from instructors. These expeditions develop leadership skills, build character and invite students to adopt an ethic of service towards one another and our earth.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people

Through our Bay Area Center, Outward Bound California runs short year-round courses (1 to 5 days each) for groups of students from local nonprofits and schools. These courses include one-day Insight Programs with teachers and students participating in rock climbing, kayaking or team building days as well as three- to five-day Peer Leadership Expeditions with students camping, backpacking and learning leadership skills together.

We target the majority of our programming in the San Francisco Bay Area to students ages 12-18, who come from underserved neighborhoods that have traditionally lacked access to outdoor education programs. We engage nearly 1,500 such students annually through the generous contributions of institutional and individual donors.

Outward Bound California’s programs are offered at no cost to these students and at a greatly subsidized price (up to 90% scholarship provided) to the school, with the percentage of students receiving free and reduced price lunch determining the level of scholarship. Typically 60% to 90% of the students at our partner agencies receive free and reduced price lunch.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people

Outward Bound for Veterans provides returning service men and women with 6-day wilderness expeditions specially designed to support their re-entry into the civilian world. We make the most of the organizational and teamwork skills which veterans have learned in the military to move groups of participants straight into the field.

Once on an expedition, Outward Bound training brings veterans up to speed on our wilderness travel expectations. Leadership skills are tested as participants take responsibility for the crew and make community plans and decisions. Participants rely on our skilled instructors for information and safety, but ultimately the success of the experience rests with the participants.

All programs, including travel to and from the course areas from anywhere in the continental U.S., are fully funded through the generous support of a network of partners, sponsors and donors. Participating veterans only need to provide day-to-day clothing and footwear.

Population(s) Served
Veterans

The Youth Leadership Corps (YLC) is a merit-based scholarship program that empowers a group of 18-20 highly motivated Bay Area teens to build their leadership skills and give back to their community each year. The program kicks off with an epic 14-day alpine backpacking adventure in the High Sierra. While trekking amid granite domes and alpine lakes, students build bonds of trust, an ethic of service and a framework of leadership and communication skills.

Once they’re back home, YLC students support each other and the community with monthly meetings and service projects under the guidance of their instructors.  They take lessons and skills learned on course and apply them to real-world leadership challenges they face in their schools and social groups. The result is a group of students who are inspired and empowered as community leaders and protectors of the environment.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

Highly motivated, underserved youth who successfully complete short expeditions and/or receive a nomination by one of our youth-serving community partners are eligible for full-tuition scholarships to participate in a life-changing multi-week wilderness adventure in the High Sierra. In the spring and with the support of a mentor, students apply for the scholarship program by completing an application form, submitting an essay and a teacher/mentor recommendation, and finally conducting a phone interview. Among our applicants, we strive to select students who are physically and emotionally fit for a 10-22 day course and who have the highest levels of interest and financial need. Each Pinnacle Scholar receives support in preparing for their course, a stipend to travel to the course start location, hiking boots that they keep, warm layers and backpacking gear that they borrow, as well as their full tuition scholarships.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Adolescents

We're thrilled to announce that the ropes challenge course is complete in San Francisco's John McLaren Park built in conjunction with San Francisco Parks and Recreation. This is a huge step toward our mission of increasing equitable access to all of the benefits of meaningful outdoor experiences and programming, providing students from District 10 and beyond an opportunity to become stewards of nature.

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people
Social and economic status
Veterans
Adults
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

On our overnight programs, 88% of students report gaining the courage to face challenges.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Students reported statistically significant positive change across all 12 measures for overnight programs, and all 6 measures for one-day ropes course programs.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our overall goal is to provide opportunities for youth to learn and practice leadership and social-emotional skills, while giving them the confidence and will to push themselves in their academics and in all aspects of their lives. There is a growing body of research showing that students are more effective learners when they possess 21st century learning skills such as communication, self-awareness, problem-solving, critical thinking, working in teams, and engaging in both active and passive leadership. These are the skills that Outward Bound has been imparting to students for over six decades.

Specifically, we focus on building character, leadership and a commitment to community service:

1. Character Development: Youth learn how to push their physical and mental limits so that they feel empowered to pursue new opportunities and broaden their horizons.

2. Leadership: Youth in under-resourced communities gain the confidence and opportunities to become part of the next generation of leaders.

3. Commitment to Community Service: Students increase their knowledge of and compassion for the community's well-being and the environment.

From our Bay Area Center base in San Francisco's Presidio, we run short courses for groups of students from local nonprofits and schools, leading them on adventures and expeditions in natural areas ranging from Golden Gate Park to the Marin Headlands to Big Basin State Park. From our wilderness bases in Joshua Tree and the High Sierra, we offer multi-week backpacking, rock climbing and mountaineering expeditions for students from all walks of life. Regardless of course length or course location, we help youth to dig deep and discover hidden strengths to build resiliency, self-reliance, teamwork skills and lifelong success.

Outward Bound California offers a portfolio of programs which we arrange in progressions and carefully customize to the needs and interests of each programmatic partner. These programs include:

Insight Days – Students and their teachers participate in a one-day outdoor adventure such as rock climbing or navigating local cultural landmarks. Students will often experience a sequence of Insight Days over several months or as a precursor to a longer expedition.

Base Camping Expeditions – These 4-5 day expeditions are for students and teachers who seek outdoor education with moderate levels of physical activity and personal challenge. In Bay Area parks and wilderness area, students establish a group campsite and from there venture out for hikes, rock climbing and teambuilding challenges.

Peer Leadership Expeditions – Students and teachers participate in a 4-5 day expedition, backpacking and navigating from campsite to campsite in national, state and regional parks. These expeditions involve a significant amount of physical challenge and teamwork.

Youth Leadership Corps - Bringing together a diverse group of students from Bay Area high schools, this merit-based scholarship program includes a 12-day summer expedition and a follow up year of a monthly meetings. The year of follow up allows youth to strengthen leadership skills they learned on their expedition and give back to their communities through service projects they design.

Partnerships are the core of our approach for recruiting and enrolling students from underrepresented communities. Our outreach staff contact schools and nonprofit groups to build partnerships, prioritizing those who serve the highest-need youth and whose administrators and teachers can commit to bringing experiential learning to youth over the long term. We currently work with more than 50 program partners across the state, including public schools, charter schools, and youth serving agencies such as Summer Search and Larkin Street Youth Services.

Outward Bound California is a regional Outward Bound School with bases in San Francisco, the Sierra Nevada, and Joshua Tree National Park. Our courses draw on a legacy of high-quality and transformational programs developed over five decades and build upon a history of expedition programming in California that has helped thousands of individuals to step out of their daily routines and into the perspective-shifting, transformational challenges presented by the great outdoors. These encounters have led people of all ages to discover in themselves levels of grit, resilience, and resolve that they never knew they had. Decades after their Outward Bound experiences, countless alumni proclaim a common outcome: “Outward Bound changed my life."

Founded in 2008 as the Outward Bound Bay Area Center, Outward Bound California uses the transformational power challenging outdoor adventures to achieve positive and enduring change for youth and communities in the Bay Area and throughout California. What began as serving 500 students from one base in 2008 expanded to serving nearly 2,400 students from three bases in 2018. Today, Outward Bound California continues to grow, with a vision of shaping the next generation of California leaders. Our goal is to triple youth participation, growing to engage more than 4,800 students in 2020.

Our Board of Directors is made up of 17 dedicated business and community leaders who are committed to our programs and our mission. They work hand in hand with staff to create strategic plans for the organization, to fundraise, expand our network, and provide fiscal oversight.
Our permanent staff of nearly 30 individuals cover Program Administration, Student Enrollment Services, Outreach and Communication, Fund Development, Finance, Operations, and Human Resources. Our field staff of nearly 100 individuals who directly manage and instruct our courses are some of the best and most highly trained educators in outdoor education field. They identify, assess and approach risk as a learning tool to be managed (but not eliminated) and expertly facilitate opportunities for students to gain new insights and perspectives around their and their group's capabilities.
Outward Bound's staff and board are constantly developing and implementing strategies to build sustainability for the long term. These strategies include:
*Strengthening board and staff's capacity through professional development opportunities
*Building and sustaining relationships with local foundations and companies while expanding our
individual donor cultivation activities
*Growing our earned-income streams such as fee-for-service courses for private schools and corporate
groups, and
*Finding efficiencies in our operations that allow us to do more with less.

In 2017, Outward Bound California reached nearly 2,100 young people, adults and veterans over the course of more than 10,800 student program days. We delivered 14.6% more program days in 2017 than in 2016 and delivered 11% more courses (129 courses taught in 2016 and 143 in 2017).

Through the equity and inclusion initiative that we launched in 2016, staff continued to focus on making our programming more accessible, inclusive and relevant to students and staff from broader ranges of backgrounds and identities. As part of this, we began planning to build a new challenge course in a permanent and accessible San Francisco venue and we also kicked off a new internship program at our Bay Area Center in 2017 aimed at removing barriers that young adults from under-resourced communities face in securing careers in the outdoor education industry.

We delivered higher-quality programs than ever in 2017 by offering staff more regular work schedules, professional development opportunities throughout the season, and subsidized housing as needed. On the administrative side, we increased the number of staff to match the scale and complexity of Bay Area program delivery and prioritized time off for busy program coordinators during the high-strain peak seasons.

What's Next:

Through our most recent strategic plan (2016-2020), Outward Bound California has charted a course to bring our uniquely effective outdoor learning experiences to every interested young person across the state of California, shaping the next generation of California leaders. Our goal is to triple youth participation, growing from engaging 1,500 students in 2016 to engaging more than 4,800 students in 2020. Additional goals of this strategic plan are to: broaden course offerings; deepen program impact; and ensure that underserved students especially have access to the deep learning and skill building that Outward Bound makes possible. We have raised $5.7 million to date towards a $15 million campaign designed to fund this strategic plan.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

Outward Bound California
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Outward Bound California

Board of directors
as of 07/05/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ed Colloton


Board co-chair

Winn Ellis

Doug Levick

Retired CFO

Winn Ellis

Winn/Wynn & Co.

Veronica Arthur

Community Volunteer

Steve Hagler

LearnUp

Topher Solmssen

RBC Capital Markets

Greg Yap

Biodesy Inc

Eric Boales

Wells Fargo

Tris Brown

LSA Global

West Coghlan

The Economist

Paul Danielsen

SolCarib

Jonathan Schmidt

Assistant District Attorney - San Francisco

Natalie McCullough

Microsoft

Ed Colloton

Bessemer Venture Partners

Abraham Simmons

US Department of Justice

Kendra Frisbie

Jorge Gutierrez-Luthe

Lori Guy

Brendon Kraham

Fernando Sucre

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/18/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data