PLATINUM2023

Big City Mountaineers

Connecting Youth with Transformative Outdoor Experiences

Mission

Big City Mountaineers is committed to providing transformative experiences through nature that strengthen life skills and build community for youth from disinvested communities.

Ruling year info

1990

Executive Director

Mr. David Taus

Main address

5394 Marshall St. Ste. 200

Arvada, CO 80002 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

65-0200163

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Other Recreation, Sports, or Leisure Activities N.E.C. (N99)

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.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Here at Big City Mountaineers we believe that a meaningful experience in the outdoors has the potential to change a life, and is one of the most effective ways to address issues of mental and physical health and social-emotional wellbeing in youth. Alarmingly, these experiences are becoming rarer. The average American boy or girl spends as few as 30 minutes playing outdoors each day, and more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This shift inside profoundly impacts the wellness of our nation's kids. Childhood obesity rates have more than doubled the last 20 years; the United States has become the largest consumer of ADHD medications in the world; and pediatric prescriptions for antidepressants have risen precipitously. It's clear our kids are out of shape, tuned out and stressed out, and we believe it's because they're missing something essential to their health and development: access and connection to the natural world.

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?

Week-Long Expeditions

Our core program, a week-long wilderness mentoring expedition, gives under-resourced youth an opportunity to experience both the beauty and challenges that the wild has to offer.

Alongside our supportive adult mentors, under-resourced teens are taken out of their comfort zones and taught important life skills proven to positively impact their futures.

Our week-long expeditions:

- Provide mentoring opportunities to under-resourced youth ages 13 to 18
- Offer a 1-to-1, adult-to-youth ratio crucial to effective youth mentorship
- Improve teen self-awareness and responsibility skills
- Promote effective communication skills and group development
- Deliver safe wilderness expeditions led by professional field instructors

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

Our 24-hour camping experiences provide kids ages 8 to 12 with a safe, supportive environment where they can learn and grow. The program’s curriculum focuses on understanding:

- Community values
- Teamwork
- Responsibility
- Respect for the great outdoors

Population(s) Served
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.

Number of children served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth, Low-income people

Related Program

Week-Long Expeditions

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Hours of programing delivered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, Ethnic and racial groups, Low-income people, At-risk youth

Related Program

Week-Long Expeditions

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of health outcomes improved

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, Ethnic and racial groups, At-risk youth, Low-income people

Related Program

Week-Long Expeditions

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

2022 was the first year BCM implemented a new methodology for measuring impact, focusing on self-esteem, self-efficacy, empathy, and sense of social belonging. Impact measured by percent.

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.

We provide access to and opportunities in the outdoors for youth who come from disinvested communities so they can soak up all the benefits of being connected to the natural world and supported by a caring adult mentor. Increasingly, experts are concluding that nature and experiences in nature have tangible benefits to human existence -- physical, mental, and spiritual. Studies show that experiences in nature reduce stress, improve our physical health, lead to better education outcomes, and build civic mindedness. We use the power of the outdoors to help teach and uncover the critical life skills young people need. Through this discovery, we are able to help our students overcome challenges they may face back home and give them the tools and experiences to help them grow up to have positive and productive lives. Big City Mountaineers provides free, fully-outfitted, and professionally led wilderness mentoring paddling expeditions, backpacking trips, and overnight camps for under-resourced youth in seven cities across the country – Boston, Miami, Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.

Since 1990, we have tailored our curriculum to ensure our unique outdoor programs have a net positive impact on young lives. Our model relies on a collaborative partnership with local youth agencies. We tailor our approach and goals for each expedition based on the needs and recommendations of our youth agency partners.

Youth are the focus of the organization; that is, youth are at the center of all activities. Programs are designed, structured, and framed to support youth making connections with themselves, with their community, with nature, and with a sense of joy.

We tailor each experience, create curriculum, and set goals in concert with our partner agencies. In the most successful cases, students run and operate the second half of an expedition. We structure our activities to provide consistency and safety for our youth. The students set individual and group goals prior to the trip and our mentors check in with the students throughout the expedition to see how they are tracking toward their goals.

We adopted a progressive, "scaffolded" approach to programming in 2021, acknowledging that it may be difficult for youth who have never been camping to jump into a weeklong backcountry trip. The signature weeklong experience is still at the center of BCM's model; now, youth have an opportunity to go on a day hike and frontcountry overnight as a way to increase comfort and reduce anxiety. As a result, youth get a lot more out of their time in the backcountry.

We partner directly with schools and youth agencies, which enables two things to occur: 1) youth participate in BCM's programming in cohorts, and share the experience with the communities they are already a part of. 2) Adult leaders who have pre-existing relationships with youth are present on every trip, which ensures continuity between the trail and home.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
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 engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

Big City Mountaineers
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our 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.

Operations

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

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.

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.

Big City Mountaineers

Board of directors
as of 08/31/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Paul Thompson

Heibing

Term: 2019 - 2023


Board co-chair

Ms. Carly Huey

Patagonia

Term: 2019 - 2023

Drew Kern

EWM Realty International

Carly Huey

Patagonia

Jessie George

Georgia's Own Credit Union

John Andriola

Independent Attorney at Law

Mitsu Iwazaki

Trust for Public Lands

Elyse Rylander

Outward Bound

Janelle Woodward

McKay Shields LLC

Deborah Beggan

Helly Hansen

Janette Chien

WA State Parks & Recreation Commission

Heather Distad

Distad Strategy

Chris Sawyer

Limmer Boots

Matt Marrapode

Epicore Biosystems

Margaret Morey-Reuner

Quality Bicycle Parts

Alex Kniess

Marketing & Strategy Consultant

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? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/24/2023

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
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/31/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.