Climbing For Change (C4C), the nonprofit founded by professional climber Kai Lightner in 2020, has opened the application process for its first four grant programs. The grants range from outdoor climbing to competition and leadership opportunities, all with the purpose of “[increasing] BIPOC participation in rock climbing and the outdoor adventure activities.”
One of the four programs, offered in partnership with Black Diamond, is called the Gym To Crag Grants. These grants “help BIPOC individuals’ transition from indoor to outdoor climbing” by providing up to $1000 in funds for program fees and/or travel costs. According to the C4C website, Black Diamond will also help with equipment needs for activities funded by the company.
Other awards include the Competition Climbing Grant, which assists BIPOC individuals with expenses related to “[attending] high level climbing competitions in the United States or abroad,” as well as the more general Adventure Outside Grants for “outdoor recreation activities.” Like the Gym To Crag program, both grants may award recipients up to $1000 for participation fees and/or travel costs.
The final program, the C4C Leadership Grants, is an open grant which “[encourages] BIPOC individuals to become leaders in rock climbing or the outdoor recreation industry.” Examples of careers noted in the program description include routesetting and guiding, and grants are intended to help applicants “elevate [their] status in these spaces.”
“We are incredibly excited to launch these programs and help increase diversity in the next generation of outdoor sports enthusiasts!” Lightner said about opening the organization’s first round of grants. According to Lightner, more grants are due to come out in the next three to four weeks as well. These next grants will help BIPOC individuals obtain AMGA Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) certification by covering the costs of SPI courses and exams at the New River Gorge, Red Rocks, and in Washington state.
Applicants may apply for the first four grants at the application portal here, which can also be accessed via the C4C website. Once at the portal, click “Sign-Up” on mobile devices or “Register” on desktops to create an account and start an application.
C4C has raised over $100,000 since launching its inaugural fundraising campaign. To make a donation and help reach the goal of $200,000 please click here.
Joe Robinson has been working in the climbing industry for over a decade and currently manages CBJ advertising and editorial. He traveled the world as the IFSC’s community manager during Olympic inclusion and across the US while writing for Alpinist, Climberism, DPM and CBJ. He also worked in local climbing gyms of the Pacific Northwest and West Michigan while advancing economic empowerment, educational equity, youth development and diversity programs of national non-profit organizations.