The nonprofit Climbing for Change (C4C) is compiling a comprehensive database of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) organizations and initiatives in the climbing industry. Called DEI Connections, the searchable database will allow users to find DEI opportunities near them and across the industry. Users will be able to filter for areas of interest, specific demographic groups, specific regions and/or enter keywords.
All DEI organizations and initiatives in the industry are welcome and encouraged to be submitted, including those of nonprofits, gyms, brands and any others. To submit your organization or initiative, please take a few minutes and complete the form on the Climbing For Change website. The page on the website where the database will be publicly available is currently unpublished until it can be adequately populated. Any questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“One of Climbing for Change’s major goals is to amplify diversity and inclusion initiatives in the outdoor industry, so people are more aware of the support and opportunities available in their community,” says C4C founder Kai Lightner. “If you run an organization that offers inclusion initiatives such as regular social events, discounted rates, scholarships/grants, or any other opportunities that aim to increase access and participation of underrepresented groups―including BIPOC (Black, Native American, Asian, LatinX, …), individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ, and women―in rock climbing and/or the outdoor industry, we want to raise awareness of your programs.”
The announcement of the DEI Connections database project comes one month after Lightner’s nonprofit opened its first round of grants for BIPOC individuals. Since then, C4C has opened applications for two additional programs: the Diversity in Guiding Grant, which “aims to provide funding for AMGA certifications for BIPOC individuals,” as well as the Spirit of Alpinism: Climbing for Change Scholarship, which encourages BIPOC individuals “to take the next step in advancing their technical backcountry and mountain leadership skills by participating in one or more of the [American] Alpine Institute’s programs.”
Joe Robinson has been working in the climbing industry for over a decade and currently manages CBJ 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.