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Expedition 2013: Providing Vision and Guiding Actions By Melissa Hemken, Foundation Relations Officer

Stephane Terrier


n 2008, NOLS embarked on a five-year strategic plan focused on increasing the strength, depth, breadth, and balance of the school. The plan, called Expedition 2013, will come to a close at the end of the calendar year. Expedition 2013 has five main goals that permeate how the school operates and have been incorporated into the annual plans and daily decisions of each location and department. The strategic goal of diversity broadens the NOLS community to include students, faculty, and staff of more varied backgrounds. NOLS believes that multiple perspectives and experiences are essential to learning. The school defines diversity as encompassing ethnicity, race, socio-economic background, gender, sexual orientation, faith, age, and national origin. Financial aid is an integral part of this initiative. It is essential to include under-resourced students and faculty in programming in order to reach a broader audience and fulfill NOLS mission. Since fiscal year 2008, the school has increased the amount available by 28 percent, and NOLS awarded scholarships to 613 students in fiscal year 2012. Our strategic goal of enhancing staff excellence specifically includes seeking, developing, and retaining staff and field faculty who provide exceptional student experiences. Our efforts over the last six years have resulted in increases in compensation with gains ahead of inflation rates. This increase has enabled NOLS to evaluate compensation across the school. In fiscal year 2012, wages were up to or above comparables of industry standards for field faculty. In further efforts to enhance staff excellence, the NOLS Faculty Summit was revived in 2011, and the third annual professional development seminar geared specifically toward field faculty is scheduled for May 2013 in Lander. Over 175 instructors from 10 countries attended the Summit in 2012. This event provides thought-provoking workshops, invaluable

In order to have a successful expedition, a team needs to prepare properly for potential challenges. As Expedition 2013 comes to a close, we are confident we have made the proper measures to ensure the long-term success of NOLS.

networking, and invigorating training through rescue and wilderness medicine clinics. NOLS improves educational outcomes and impacts for students through evidence-based curriculum development. Through the course quality survey, the school developed the capacity to collect, evaluate, and use objective data in the design of what and how it teaches. The course quality survey utilizes a Likert scale and is framed around program quality factors. Over the past three years, the highest ratings have been given to safety and instructors and the lowest to learning mechanisms and pre-course services. The lower scores are still averaging out to an “Agree” statement, a positive sign. Program areas being improved upon include nutrition, gear, and instructor effectiveness. In commitment to NOLS’ core values of wilderness and excellence, the school is working diligently to achieve greater environmental stewardship. NOLS seeks to practice and teach responsible use of natural

Expedition 2013 provides perspective on our daily jobs in the bigger picture of NOLS. It is inspiring to realize the enormous undertaking that NOLS embarked on five years ago. Every single task and contribution has had an impact in the meaningful mission of the school and the lives of future leaders around the world.

— Carolina G. Cortés, NOLS Mexico Director

resources, by integrating them into student experiences and the global NOLS community. In the United States, the school produces 10 percent of its energy needs through renewables that serve the dual purpose of educating staff, students, and local communities. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4...

As a full-time field instructor, I have been positively impacted by Expedition 2013. The goal of staff excellence has meant a branch level commitment to helping me continue developing as a mountaineer and grow as an educator. By deepening my own skill sets, I am able to pass on more to my students.

— Anne Peick, NOLS Instructor

Friends is for people committed to helping NOLS provide the world’s best education in wilderness skills and leadership. This newsletter aims to provide useful and interesting information on charitable gift planning and supporters of the school. NOLS is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory services. State laws govern wills, trusts, and many charitable gifts, and these laws vary from state to state. While NOLS welcomes and encourages inquiries about the material in this publication, individuals should consult with their professional advisors when planning their wills or deferred gifts.

Estate Gifts from Your Forgotten Pocket If you are 70.5 or older, you must take a distribution from your tax-deferred retirement account. Instead of paying income taxes on the distribution, use these assets to make a gift to NOLS!


he principle “Plan Ahead and Prepare” is a key point to Leave No Trace wilderness ethics. It’s also an important way to lead your life, providing stability even through the ups and downs. Over your life, you’ve worked hard and saved. Like many of us, you probably have a retirement plan. Yet, if you don’t require it for your fiscal security during retirement, your plan could be gathering metaphorical dust. Your retirement plan may be an inefficient means to transfer assets to your family members. If left in an estate, retirement plan assets are often subject to high tax rates, resulting in an unplanned “gift” to the federal government. Funds could ultimately be

Gift Options Using Your Retirement Plan Pocket • Make an IRA charitable rollover • Name NOLS as a beneficiary of your IRA or life insurance policy • Gift NOLS your life insurance policy that you no longer need • Start a Charitable Remainder Trust • Make a gift now out of your retirement plan


subject to both income and estate taxes. State taxes can add even more, further diminishing the eventual value of the assets. Yet there is an option that allows you to avoid most, if not all, or these taxes.

Avoid Double Taxation Tax-deferred retirement plan assets often provide a convenient pocket from which to make charitable gifts. Because contributions to qualified plans are frequently made with “before-tax” dollars, those assets are subject to taxation when they are withdrawn. Many couples and individuals defer receiving income from pension plans until they reach the mandatory age of 70.5, then taking only the minimum distribution. Thus the plan continues to grow, and when it is passed down to heirs it can be subject to “double taxation,” a double-whammy of estate and income taxes. Rather than make an unintended donation to the federal government, you can use retirement assets to fund charitable donations. There are a few of ways to accomplish this, including naming NOLS as a beneficiary of your IRA. Or you might use your retirement assets to establish a charitable remainder trust. The trust pays income to you, or your beneficiaries, for life or a term of years and eventually funds an important gift to NOLS.

You can also fund a bequest with your retirement assets. This plan might very well produce the pleasant result of your heirs receiving more than if retirement assets were left directly to family and charitable bequests were made from other assets in your estate. It allows you to protect your retirement assets and your children’s inheritance from excessive taxation.

Dust off Your Life Insurance Policy Another oft-forgotten safety net is life insurance, and it just so happens that this is one of the most straightforward ways to support NOLS. The most common method—especially if you have a policy your family no longer needs—is to designate NOLS the owner of that policy. This option allows an immediate income tax deduction. Or you can simply name the school as a beneficiary. Because the latter is not an irrevocable designation, you do not receive an immediate income tax deduction; however, at your death your executor can take a federal estate tax deduction for the full amount. Our community shares a commitment to wilderness, education, leadership, safety, community, and excellence. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational institution we cannot support all of our important projects with operating revenue alone. A gift to NOLS

volunteerS in action

Lori Bukiewicz

Creating Community in the Big Apple By Rich Brame, Alumni Relations Director


ur graduates often come off their NOLS adventures with two strong desires: to do more outdoor activities and to help the school. There are many ways to support NOLS; philanthropy is one obvious and powerful way to be involved, but motivated alumni can also lend volunteer energy to the mix. Lori Bukiewicz is a fantastic example of how creative and enthusiastic volunteers can contribute to the school’s success by building a NOLS community in their hometown. In the fall of 1999, Bukiewicz headed to Africa for a NOLS semester—hiking through the bamboo forests, scree, and high (over 16,000 feet) boulder fields on Mt. Kenya, sailing dhows, snorkeling and windsurfing on the coast, living with the Maasai, and safari trekking. Her instructors noted that, “her smile and positive attitude made her a joy to be around,” and felt that, “Lori can become a very strong leader.” Those instructor observations from 14 years ago certainly hold true today. Since 2003, Bukiewicz has

taken a leadership role with the NOLS New York City alumni group. She and her cohorts have consistently organized social events, reunions, river paddles, ski adventures, and holiday parties for NOLS graduates in the Big Apple. Beyond just being fun, alumni events connect our grads with each other and create a sense of community across the miles, years, and varieties of a NOLS education. Burkiewicz’s long-term volunteer efforts in New York City bring NOLS into the lives and neighborhoods of our graduates. Which is why in the fall of 2012 she received the Alumni Service Award for her stalwart dedication to the New York City NOLS community. If you are interested in becoming a NOLS alumni group catalyst within your own community, please drop us a line at

Moe Witschard

Summit Team Profile

Bill Murdock Giving Back The Gift of a Lifetime

from your “retirement pocket” ensures the continuation of these values that define us and our mission. To find out more about any of these gift options, contact the NOLS Development staff today at (800 332-4280 or

IRA Rollover Set to expire Dec. 31, 2011, Congress extended the Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) charitable rollover into 2013 as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal. This allows donors age 70.5 and over to make direct, tax-free donations of up to $100,000 per year to a charitable organization. Donations must be made from a traditional or Roth IRA, and donors need not report the donated amount as income on their federal tax returns. It should be noted that IRA charitable rollovers cannot be used to fund gift annuities or other life income gifts.

By Larkin Flora, Communications Coordinator


ongtime member of the NOLS family Bill Murdock first made his way to Lander, Wyo. in 1970. Hooked, Murdock headed back into the Wind River Mountains as an Assistant Patrol Leader the day after coming off his student course. Thus began his long career with NOLS. For the next several years, Murdock returned to Lander during the summer, hitchhiking crosscountry all the way from North Carolina to do so. NOLS ultimately brought him to Alaska for a Denali climb. One of the many life changing experiences from NOLS, it directed his personal and professional life, assisting his decision to move to and start a family in Kodiak, Alaska. “I had a very a passionate attachment to the school that has continued to this day,” he said, “My attachment to NOLS is probably the longest running thing in my life other than my attachment to my own core family.” Through the years, NOLS has remained a constant. Murdock explained that NOLS is on the list of things that seems like it’s always been there

and always will. For him, a life without NOLS is unimaginable. That’s understandable since, at one time or another, Murdock has worked as an instructor and course leader, at “the Lumberyard” (NOLS Rocky Mountain), or as a driver, in addition to serving on the Board of Trustees and Advisory Council. He is also a supportive NOLS parent. His attachment is due largely to the positive work ethic that transfers from being in the backcountry into the frontcountry. “There’s more than just personal growth that occurs on a NOLS course,” Murdock explained, “There is a cultural and social ethic of accountability that comes out of a NOLS course that is so rare in other forms of education.” The huge cultural and societal benefit of a NOLS education is one of the reasons that Murdock has included NOLS in his will. “I also feel very fortunate, lucky, and graced to be part of this organization. It has been a gift,” he added, “It’s been the gift of a lifetime.” The NOLS Summit Team, established in 1999, is a recognition society for donors who include the school in their estate plans or establish some other deferred gift to NOLS. For more information, contact NOLS Development at (800) 332-4280 or



philanthropic Tidbit

By comparing the plan’s five primary goals to where we are today, I can see the 2013 strategic plan kept the school on track even as we had to adjust to unexpected and consequential events. NOLS is stronger today because of its ability to make a plan and follow through.

— John Whisnant, NOLS Advisory Council

Currently, all branch locations are conducting sustainability audits that will increase efficiency and financial savings. NOLS is also focusing on how its vehicle fleet is managed. In 2012, the school hosted a Petroleum Reduction Seminar with nearly 30 participants from five NOLS locations from across the globe. Alternative fuels that were discussed included compressed natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, electric, and hybrid options. To pursue its mission as a nonprofit school and to achieve its strategic and operating goals, NOLS must increase its philanthropic support. Expedition 2013 includes Campaign NOLS: Endowing Our Core Values. NOLS has been challenged by generous donors to raise $19,250,000 by the end of December

of this year. If NOLS meets this challenge, it will receive a capstone gift of $750,000. A component of Campaign NOLS is to increase staff and faculty giving. Fiscal year 2012 saw 55 percent participation; a record of 460 staff gifts totaling $65,000. For more on the progress on Campaign NOLS, read “Campaign NOLS: Mission Based, Values Driven” located in the campaign insert. The base of Expedition 2013 was to focus on what NOLS does, strive to do it better, reach a broader audience, and remain a leader in the outdoor industry. As NOLS completes the current strategic plan and begins to look forward to the next five-year map, it will stay committed to its values of safety, education, wilderness, community, leadership, and excellence.

Gifts at Work

Expedition Denali Inspiring Youth of Color

Pease amendement not a cause for concern By Larkin Flora, Communications Coordinator

This past January, Congress reinstated the Pease limitation on itemized deductions as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal. First established in 1990, this provision affects those above a certain threshold: individuals earning over $250,000 and couples filing jointly earning over $300,000 per year. The Pease limitation reduces itemized deductions by 3 percent of gross income above the threshold. This provision is not a penalty for itemized deductions, and should not be a disincentive to donating to your favorite charities. Rather, it is surtax on income above a certain threshold. In fact, if the Pease reduction were more than the standard deduction, that deduction could not be reduced by more that 80 percent. Example 1 John Donor earns $350,000 in 2013 and has $75,000 in standard deductions. Since he is filing alone, his income above the $250,000 threshold is $100,000. The Pease reduction for John is 3 percent of $100,000, or $3,000. So his allowable deduction for 2013 is $72,000. Example 2 Phil and Anne Thropist jointly earn $1,000,000 in 2013. Their income above the $300,000 Pease threshold is $700,000. The Pease reduction—3 percent of $700,000—should be $21,000, but they only have $7,000 in standard deductions. Since the Pease reduction may not be more than 80 percent of the standard deduction, the Thropists’ allowable deduction for 2013 is $1,400.

By Abinand Devan, Stewardship Coordinator


outdoor organizations, community organizations, and church groups nationwide. These post-expedition speaking and media engagements will give these role models a platform to inspire youth of color to connect with America’s wild places and take on outdoor pursuits they never imagined possible. Joining Expedition Denali as sponsors are The North Face and REI. The North Face will outfit the team as the technical gear sponsor. As retail sponsor, REI will provide funding to help underwrite the costs of Expedition Denali. “This diverse team of inspiring individuals has the opportunity to ignite a passion for the outdoors in the next generation of outdoor explorers,” said Ann

Brad Christensen

n a historic undertaking, NOLS will run an expedition of the first predominantly African American team to attempt to summit Denali, North America’s tallest mountain. In June 2013, the 100th anniversary of the peak’s first ascent, Expedition Denali will set out on their journey. The group of role models in the African American outdoor community will learn and utilize valuable leadership skills—including expedition behavior, communication, and tolerance for adversity and uncertainty—to work together toward achieving a common goal. More importantly, after the expedition the participants will tour schools, nonprofit institutions,

Expedition Denali team members visit NOLS International Headquarters in Lander, WY.

National Outdoor Leadership School | 284 Lincoln Street • Lander, Wyoming 82520 • (800) 332-4280 Larkin Flora, Editor. To subscribe, contact: NOLS Development (307) 335-2276 • Friends is printed on 100% recycled, 60%-PCW FSC-certified paper.


Krcik, director of outdoor exploration at The North Face. “We’re proud to be able to offer the team the best outdoor gear and equipment from The North Face to help make this expedition a success.” “The dedication shown by the NOLS’ Expedition Denali team will serve as a motivation to others to lead active lifestyles and to find their own version of Denali,” said Laura Swapp, REI’s director of diversity and inclusion. “Their journey perfectly aligns with our commitment to inspire others and to be inspired by them.” The North Face and REI join partners such as the Foundation for Youth Investment, the Sierra Club, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside! campaign to help NOLS launch the expedition. “The North Face is the premier supplier of innovative equipment and apparel, and REI is one of outdoor recreation’s best known brands,” said NOLS Diversity and Inclusion Manager Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin. “We are delighted to have both of them backing this historic project, which will help to narrow the gap between people of color and the world of adventure and inspire people to connect with our outdoor spaces.” For more details and to follow the team’s progress, visit


Endowing Our Core Values

As with climbing a mountain, the final stretch of a campaign can often be the most challenging. It will take the whole NOLS team—alumni, parents, staff and friends—to reach our $20 million goal by December 31.

Our Place on The Map:

Fredrik Norrsell


A $20 million campaign made up of $15 million to strengthen our endowment and $5 million for annual philanthropic support.























Current fundraising total: $17, 825,000

Remainder to be raised to recieve capstone: $1,425,000

Mid-campaign gift recieved after raising initial $10 million

Capstone gift of $750,000

Campaign NOLS: Mission Based, Values Driven By Larkin Flora, Communications Coordinator


ne aspect of NOLS’ current strategic plan, Expedition 2013, is to increase the school’s philanthropic support. The initiative, Campaign NOLS: Endowing Our Core Values, will allow the school to continue to pursue its mission as a 501(c)3 educational institution: to be the leading source and teacher of wilderness and leadership skills that serve people and the environment.

The majority of the $20 million campaign will go to strengthen the school’s endowment with the remainder directed to annual philanthropic support. This campaign will not only help us achieve the goals we have set for ourselves, it will also allow NOLS to financially prepare for the future. The stability and strength provided by a strong endowment are vital to ensuring the continuation of our core values—

safety, education, wilderness, community, leadership and excellence. As with many ambitious achievements, the final stretch can often be the most difficult. Fortunately, a few of our major donors planned ahead and prepared us for this by initiating the final challenge. If NOLS can raise $19,250,000 from alumni, parents, staff, and friends by the end of December of this year, the CONTINUED ON BACK...

While we are encouraged and gratified by the fantastic support NOLS has received during the campaign, we have some work to do in the final year. I can think of few better uses of philanthropic dollars than enabling those who would otherwise be unable to experience NOLS to do so—living and learning in the outdoor classroom, developing leadership skills, and building character. These young men and women are our future. The case is very compelling. — Greg Avis, Campaign NOLS National Steering Committee Chair

Contact us: Phone: (800) 332-4280 • Web: • E­ mail:­

Campaign nols CONTINUED...

school will receive a capstone gift of $750,000 to help us reach our final goal of $20,000,000. On any expedition, there are benefits to planning ahead and preparing as well as assessing one’s place on the map. As NOLS enters the final stage of our current strategic plan and Campaign NOLS, we have just over $1.4 million and eight months left to reach this goal. There are many ways to give, including irrevocable planned gifts and multi-year pledges. To learn more about how to Multiply Your Impact, read the proceeding article. We are confident that we can meet this ambitious challenge, but we need all of our supporters help to do it. Thanks to all of our supporters over the past years for helping to ensure that NOLS will remain the leader in wilderness education.

With A Five-Year Pledge By Judd Rogers, Development Officer


ike many of our supporters, Fred Hammerman and his wife Marrisa Wesely take great pleasure in giving away a certain percentage of their income to non-profit organizations every year. As a college student in 1983, Hammerman found himself on a month-long NOLS course in the Cascade Wilderness. Thirty years later, he still looks back on his course with NOLS as a formative life experience. Wesely and Hammerman both agree that NOLS continues to do important work. Thankfully, we are among the handful of organizations that they choose to support annually. When approached about supporting Campaign NOLS, Wesely wondered if there was another way to help

beyond making a one-time gift. Campaign NOLS’ capstone challenge encourages donors to leverage their giving through multi-year pledges of up to five years. Loyal supporters, like Hammerman and Wesely, are able to help NOLS close the gap by multiplying the impact of their annual contributions. The total amount of the pledge is counted toward the campaign goal, meaning they—and you—can do more to support leadership and wilderness education today. We’re happy to talk with you about the options for leveraging your gift. If you are interested in making a multi-year pledge to Campaign NOLS, please give us a call at 800-332-4280.

Andrew Mills

Please consider making a gift to Campaign NOLS today. Give us a call at 800-332-4280 or go online to

Multiply Your Impact

At NOLS, we believe in the power of a wilderness experience to shape positive, ethical leaders. Campaign NOLS will ensure a strong future for NOLS so we can help create the leaders of tomorrow.

NOLS Volunteer Leadership GIVING BACK MORE THAN JUST TIME By Larkin Flora, Communications Coordinator


eadership, according to NOLS’ Board of Trustees Chair Kate Williams, is about cultivating those ideas, people, and institutions that move us toward a better world. But ultimately there is a core element of giving back in the act of leadership. Williams is one of a number of NOLS’ volunteer leaders who give back to the school with their time, as well as philanthropic support. These individuals are highly motivated and committed NOLS’ future. “The NOLS mission and values continue to be as relevant today as they have been for the past 48 years,” explained John Whisnant, co-chair of the NOLS Advisory Council, “The quality of

the educational experience in pristine wilderness classrooms is without equal. The staff and instructors are loyal, highly skilled, and motivated to teach. The leadership is well governed and engaged.” Both Whisnant and Williams agree that their personal leadership skills have significantly grown from being a part of NOLS’ leadership team. They have a birds-eye view of the school and understand the importance of the values we impart on our students. For this reason, they both support Campaign NOLS: Endowing Our Core Values to insure a strong future for NOLS. “NOLS offered a great experience [on my course

Contact us: Phone: (800) 332-4280 • Web: • E­ mail:­

in 1966], and it offers a great experience now,” Whisnant said, “If my contribution can help the school to continue to fulfill its mission, it is money well spent.” Williams agrees. For her, the education that NOLS offers to a wide range of students across the globe is crucial. “The school has a ripple effect as students embody the NOLS values in a variety of fields. The core strength of NOLS is critical to this education,” Williams added, “Campaign NOLS is an investment in scholarships for the future, and is thus an investment in future leaders.”