What a year. In the spirit of optimism, we want to highlight a few non-profits worthy of your consideration when thinking of buying gifts this holiday season. We know the wonder cross-country skiing provides. Gliding through the woods, no noise, totally connected. Silent sports fuel us. Why not support organizations lifting kids up and sharing the wealth that is skiing.
Spirit North: Canada based and supporting Indigenous youth. Founded by Beckie Scott, a former champion cross-country skier, the organization speaks to the values of empowerment. Among some of their offerings, Spirit North engages Indigenous youth in cross-country skiing, mountain biking, cross-country running, and canoeing.
“Spirit North is a national charitable organization that uses land-based activities to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous youth, empowering them to become unstoppable in sport, school and life.”
You can donate to Spirit North here.
Skiku: Skiku and NANANordic remain cornerstones for wellness in many rural and urban communities in Alaska. What the program is best known for is providing cross-country ski instruction for week-long blocks. Community schools are then entrusted with housing and maintaining ski gear accessible to local youth. The program has expanded and offers running camps during non-snow months.
Below is a list of places involved with Skiku’s skiing efforts:
“Where We Ski:
Upper Kuskokwim Region: Aniak, Chuathbaluk, Crooked Creek, Sleetmute, Stony River, Upper Kalskag, Lower Kalskag
Bering Straits Region: Brevig Mission, Elim, Gambell, Golovin, Koyuk, Nome, Savoonga, Shishmaref, Unalakleet, Wales, White Mountain
Lower Yukon & Kuskokwim Region: Atmautluak, Bethel, Chevak, Hooper Bay, Mountain Village, Pilot Station, Russian Mission, Scammon Bay
NANA region: Ambler, Buckland, Deering, Kiana, Kivalina, Kobuk, Kotzebue, Noatak, Noorvik, Selawik, Shungnak
North Slope Region: Anaktuvuk Pass, Atqasuk, Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, Point Hope, Point Lay, Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Wainwright
Interior Region: Arctic Village, Allakaket, Dot Lake, Galena, Hughes, Kaltag, Koyukuk, Minto, Northway, Rampart, Ruby, Shageluk, Tanacross
Bristol Bay Region: Aleknagik, Dillingham, Manokotak
Southcentral Region: Anchorage, Chugiak/Eagle River, Mat-Su Valley”
You can donate to Skiku here.
Hartland Community 4 Youth and Families: This Salt lake City non-profit provides sports, tutoring, and stewardship programs for the city’s underserved youth. We profiled Hartland this past July in FasterSkier.
The leader of the organization is Gilberto “Juan” Rejón Magana- a passionate and committed advocate. We described his work this way in our feature:
“What’s important about Magana’s work is its longitudinal scope: His organization supports youth from kindergarten to high school with the end goal of matriculating in college.”
You can donate to Hartland Community 4 Youth and Families here.
Share Winter Foundation: Another organization we featured this off-season was Share Winter and their CEO Constance Beverley. As we noted then, “Share Winter is a non-profit focused solely on providing access to snowsports to a more diverse community of children.”
Share Winter seeks to benefit kids interested in cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, or snowboarding. In Share Winter’s own words, they are “working to improve the lives, health, and fitness of youth through winter sports.”
Share Winter grantees include the Bridger Ski Foundation, Central Cross Country Skiing and their Nordic Rocks program, and the New England Nordic Ski Association.
You can donate to Share Winter here.
Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) Idaho: CAF provides financial assistance to create access to outdoor recreation for individuals with physical challenges, particularly in the area of equipment grants. CAF Idaho is embarking on a new model with their adaptive ski program, recently hiring a cross country ski coach, Wilson Dippo, whose aim is to get kids in Idaho and from the surrounding Intermountain West out on skis and recreating in the outdoors year round. Their message is this:
“Idahoans of all abilities have the right to practice, play, perform, and compete at their best. So let’s hike, bike, swim, ski, skate, move—and keep breaking barriers.We’ll unite through sport and drive Idaho forward.”
You can donate to CAF here. All donations up to $25,000 will be matched by a private donor this holiday season, helping your gift reach more adaptive athletes.
No Excuses Unlimited: No Excuses Unlimited provides training and racing grants for Paralympic level athletes, fostering development of athletes bound for international racing. This includes travel expenses and adaptive equipment. Your donation goes directly to the athletes to help with the high monetary cost of elite level training and competition.
You can donate to No Excuses Unlimited here.
We understand this is not an exhaustive list of worthy organizations. Please feel free to present worthy organizations in the comments below.