Advocate Beta - August 2021

Categories: LCO 101

Most folks take a break in the summer, but it’s hard to get climbing advocates to stop. And the past year and a half has made it crystal clear: Our collective impact and work as climbing organizations are more vital and relevant than ever. We’re hearing directly from you that Local Climbing Organizations (LCOs) are emerging from a pandemic year stronger and busier than ever. Trail days and other projects are back on. This is exciting news. We urge you to stay safe and be vigilant at this precarious moment in the pandemic, when COVID cases are going back up. I hope you will also take some inspiration from the innovative LCOs below, and sign up for our annual Climbing Advocacy Conference, which will be held virtually this fall. Thanks for your partnership and work.

Zachary Lesch-Huie
Vice President of Programs & Acquisitions

© Andrew Burr

Register Now: 2021 Climbing Advocacy Conference

Registration is now open for Access Fund’s 2021 Climbing Advocacy Conference. We’re calling all climbing advocates and local climbing organizations to join us virtually on October 8 and 9 to celebrate access victories and learn from fellow climbing conservationists across the country. As Access Fund celebrates its 30th birthday, we’ll use this conference to look back at some of the biggest success stories and look ahead at what’s to come. Attendees will have access to panels, workshops, and presentations featuring climbing community leaders and their insights on protecting access. Registration is free and the entire event is virtual. Check out the agenda, and register today to secure your spot.
~Jenna Winkler, Programs Manager

© Salt Lake Climbers Alliance

Submit Your Application for Bolt Replacement

We're currently accepting applications for funding from our Anchor Replacement Fund. If you're planning a bolt replacement initiative at your local climbing area, we invite you to apply. The deadline is September 15. Learn more and apply.


LCO 101: Virtual Programming

One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is the power of virtual programming and events for bringing people together. Though the pandemic will eventually wane, these virtual tactics are here to stay and have many perks beyond just social distancing—like lower price tags, increased capacity, and convenience for your community. From fundraising galas to education panels, we’ve learned a lot and want to pass those lessons on to you. Take a look at some of these tips as your LCO considers how to increase your virtual programming.
~Jenna Winkler, Programs Manager

Applying for 501
© Haeda Photography

Obtaining 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Status

One of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been getting from you all lately is how to file for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation. As your organization grows and your scope expands, you may want to consider turning your group of casual volunteers into a formal organization. By securing 501(c)(3) status, you’ll qualify for perks like tax exemption, additional liability protections, more grant opportunities, and your donors’ contributions will be tax-deductible.

While 501(c)(3) status is the standard for successful, sustainable nonprofits, it is highly protected by the IRS, and your LCO will be required to go through a detailed application process and follow specific rules in order to maintain your privileges. The first step is obtaining and proving nonprofit incorporation in your state, then you can ask the IRS for a 501(c)(3) designation. Access Fund has helped many LCOs through this process, and we offer this guide to help you learn more about incorporation versus 501(c)(3) and get you started. Consider applying for an Access Fund Climbing Conservation Grant to cover the fees for the 501(c)(3) application. Many LCOs have successfully gone through the application process, and yours can, too. We are here to help!
~Jenna Winkler, Programs Manager

Movers & Shakers

Western New York Access Coalition
We’re excited to welcome Western New York Access Coalition (WNYAC) as an official Access Fund affiliate LCO. Based in Buffalo, WNYAC will steward and maintain access to areas across western New York. Learn more.

Wisconsin Climbers Association
Wisconsin Climbers Association (WCA) recently introduced the Inclusivity Grant to support groups and individuals who are getting underrepresented climbers out to Wisconsin crags. WCA just paid out its first round of funding for anchor setting courses, competition fees, and a day of guided climbing. We’re pleased to see WCA furthering its commitment to making everyone feel safe and welcome at local crags. Learn more.

Haycock Bouldering Coalition
We’re thrilled to welcome Haycock Bouldering Coalition (HBC) to Access Fund’s affiliate network of LCOs. HBC is partnering with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to keep Haycock Mountain open for bouldering. Learn more.

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