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Campaign NOLS: An Investment in Our Future Leaders By Larkin Flora, Communications Coordinator

ampaign NOLS: Endowing Our Core Values is an investment in the future of NOLS and the future of our global community. The five-year, $20-million campaign comes to a close on Dec. 31. Through this campaign, NOLS aims to shore up the school’s financial foundation, ensuring that we can continue to be the leader in wilderness education long into the future. A huge success of the past year has been within the annual fund. Before the end of our fiscal year, we met and exceeded our goal of $1,558,000. This demonstrates the collective power of our donors and their steadfast belief in the NOLS mission. As of mid September, we have 2 percent left of our goal to earn the capstone gift of $750,000 towards Campaign NOLS. Our family of supporters is made up of those individuals, couples, families, and organizations who make our work possible. They come from all walks of life, young and mature, graduates, parents, and friends. NOLS donors make small gifts and large contributions: the 20-something alumnus who donates $25 each month and the retired couple who put NOLS in their will, the scholarship recipient who gave back once she made it big, the parents of a NOLS graduate who saw such a huge change in their child, the NOLS employee who gives $5 out of each paycheck, and you. Each and every donation adds up to help us fulfi ll our mission. Thank you for all you have done and for what you’re doing now! At NOLS, we believe that positive, ethical leaders like you change the world. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational institution, we cannot help cultivate those leaders without the help of our broader community. Without donated funds, we could not send over 740 scholarship students on courses like we were able to do last year. Our donors support advocacy for wildland protection and help us increase our sustainability

Brian Hensien


Part of planning our route for the future is ensuring a strong foundation today. It takes teamwork and the whole community of NOLS supporters to bring us to our final goal of $20 million by the end of this year.

projects school wide. Gifts fund the development of cutting-edge research to improve our wilderness medicine curriculum and backcountry nutrition, which you can read more about on page 4. Donor dollars make possible NOLS outreach programs, allowing us to teach local residents at our operations around the world. These individuals are now creating positive change at home by serving as land managers and outdoor educators with strong wilderness ethics.

A graduate of one such program, the Mexican Educators Sea Kayaking course, Carlos Retamoza explained it well when he said, “I think that NOLS is not just about the experiences in the field; it is about how you can make a difference in your everyday life through what you learn out there.” In order to continue these incredible programs for years to come, we need to ensure the school has the financial stability to weather any storm. CONTINUED ON INSERT...

NOLS is an organization whose mission is far-reaching, ambitious, and on the cutting edge of experiential education, leadership, and personal development. I believe that the types of opportunities that NOLS offers should be available to all who seek these experiences. Offering my support through donations, volunteering, and serving on the Board of Trustees are ways in which I can contribute to its mission and future generations.

— Caroline Burnett, NOLS Board of Trustees

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.

Planned Giving and the NOLS Endowment Building Stability for the Future

To find out more about any of these gift options, contact NOLS Development staff today at (800) 332-4280 or



n the nonprofit sector today, the sure sign of the financial stability and a healthy organization is a strong endowment. Comprised of an array of gifts and accrued interest, an endowment is a fund that is permanently invested. The return earned on the investment can be used by the organization for a variety of needs. In this way, a single gift to an endowment provides support in perpetuity. Because endowments (including ours) typically contain provisions that prohibit spending the principal, they provide crucial long-term stability for an organization, allowing it to stay focused on its mission regardless of changing annual pressures or economic downturns. That stability is not only essential to ensuring that the NOLS Board of Trustees can carry on with its present work, but it also gives board and staff the ability to look beyond current priorities and needs to imagine how the organization might fulfi ll its mission years from now. Date NOLS Endowment Started: 2000 Current Endowment Assets: $24+ million Investment Gain in 2013: 14% Amount Released to Scholarships & Programs in 2013: $652,000 Amount Released to Scholarships & Programs Since 2010: $2,127,000 Primary Means of Supporting Endowment:

Planned gifts and endowment-restricted outright gifts.


THE NOLS ENDOWMENT – PROVIDING STRONG R ETURNS NOLS completed its first endowment campaign in 2000, successfully raising $8 million. Many in the NOLS family saw the wisdom in establishing such an endowment and contributed generously to the campaign. Today the endowment fund stands at over $24 million. It’s no secret that many donors see an endowment as proof that an organization already has more than enough funding. But nonprofits like NOLS—whose endowment total is roughly two-thirds the cost of one year’s operation—still have a long way to go to ensure long-term financial stability. While there is plenty of room yet for us to grow, we are proud of the strides we’ve made during the ongoing campaign to shore up our economic foundation, ensuring that a quality wilderness leadership education will remain available for generations to come. Just as NOLS works hard to be a good steward of the wilderness classrooms through which our students travel, we also strive to be a good steward of the funds entrusted to us by donors. Thanks to the wisdom and guidance of the NOLS investment committee, combined with the strength of the current market, our endowment release grew by over 17 percent, or $116,000, in fiscal year 2013. This marks the fourth consecutive year of positive returns. Of course, it’s not just future students who will benefit from the foresight of today’s donors. Because of the endowment’s solid performance for the last four years, the amount of the release has also been growing steadily during that time, allowing us to be increasingly flexible in meeting the needs of

today’s students. Currently 4 percent of the average endowment assets over the last 12 fiscal quarters is released each year to support the NOLS scholarship program and other endeavors that allow the school to fulfi ll its mission. In 2013 the endowment release totaled nearly $652,000. This, coupled with the NOLS Annual Fund fundraised dollars, supported critical program and operating expenses—such as curriculum development and public policy research— while also providing $1,532,000 in endowed and general scholarships.

PLANNED GIFTS & THE NOLS ENDOWMENT As the leader in wilderness education, NOLS has always encouraged its students to think ahead and take the long view. The Leave No Trave principle “plan ahead and prepare,” which students hear again and again from their instructors, is just as apt organizationally as it is in the field. That’s why the NOLS Endowment is the beneficiary of all planned gifts to the school unless a donor otherwise restricts the gift. Whereas gifts to the NOLS Annual Fund are put to immediate use, planned or deferred gifts allow NOLS to look ahead and practice what we preach—to both plan ahead and prepare! In two years NOLS will turn 50. As we begin to think about and plan for the next 50 years of wilderness and leadership education (and the 50 after that), the work we did during Campaign NOLS to build up our endowment will allow us to stay focused on the school’s long-term stability. Planned and deferred gifts are one vital way we can support the endowment and Campaign NOLS.


Charlie King

USING NOLS SKILLS TO EMPOWER OTHERS By Madelyn Wigle, Alumni Relations Intern

Fredrik Norrsell


SUPPORT NOW, GIVE L ATER For the first time in the history of capital campaigns at NOLS, irrevocable planned gifts— life income gifts, charitable lead trusts, and irrevocable bequests—can be made toward Campaign NOLS. A clear vision for the future is critical, for both individuals and institutions. A planned gift to Campaign NOLS is a testament to your belief in the school and a way to demonstrate your personal legacy.

IRA ROLLOVER Make a gift from your IRA before the end of December and take advantage of this tax break before it expires! 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 older 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.

hen you see a NOLS sticker on the bumper of a car and have the urge to run it down and exclaim, ‘me too!’ that is fellowship,” said Charlie King, 1990 Wind River Wilderness alumnus and current life coach. There are specific parallels between King’s current life-coaching career and the values he was taught at NOLS. If he does his job correctly and empowers his clients from a leadership standpoint, they won’t need him anymore. He’ll work his way out of a job. For King, it’s all about leadership in action, not just in theory—calling on people to lead for themselves. The NOLS mission lies not only in the conception of the principles, but also the practice of them out in the world. “That is the unsung beauty of NOLS,” reflected King, “There’s no gap between developing leaders and training them.” Over 20 years after he graduated from his course, King considers it a pivotal point in his life. He was able to see himself through new eyes. He felt capable of so much more than he ever had before.

“It physically shifted my life,” King explained. “NOLS always stayed with me as one of the things that helped me get seated in who I am.” Today, King believes there is potential in the relationships between alumni, as well as their non-grad friends and family, to get involved with NOLS. He is determined to stoke the fires of these relationships and get together with other organizers in the Seattle area. Some current projects include both fall and winter camping, a kayaking trip on Lake Washington, and a social night in the city. “Being in the presence of other people with that perspective creates fellowship through shared values and a gritty appreciation for things cooked over an open fire,” King said of his fellow alumni. “There’s a sense of, ‘we can do anything.’” If you’re interested in being a NOLS alumni group catalyst in your community, contact us at


Wendolyn Holland SPREADING NOLS LEADERSHIP IN THE WILDS OF WASHINGTON By Larkin Flora, Communications Coordinator


s a student on the 1986 Semester in Alaska, her second of four NOLS courses, Wendolyn Holland experienced a profound feeling of failure that has shaped much of her life since. The 17-year-old had iron deficient anemia and wasn’t getting enough oxygen to her brain. “I was tripping over myself on the glacier in Alaska,” she recalled, “which is not a good way be glacier traveling.” Since then, Holland has looked at the world in a new way and has worked hard to not let fear or failure hold her back. “It’s given me the courage to go out and try new things, knowing that that the failure part is OK. The worst thing is to not try at all,” Holland explained. This drive has pushed her to multiple jobs in and out of the environmental sector to where she is now: a consultant to green energy companies trying to navigate Washington. While her environmental

ethic was solidified by her NOLS experiences, the leadership skills are most applicable to her daily life. Through her courses, Holland has become sensitive to group dynamics, knows how to listen, and understands when to let others lead and when the time comes to push her own agenda. “When I’m working with a new group, and I’m in charge, I set the tone like I would if I were leader of the day on my NOLS course,” Holland stated. This past summer, Holland wrote NOLS into her will. When she thinks about the institutions that have had a lasting impact on her life—on people she’s known, on values she has had instilled in her and incorporated into her life—there are really only a handful of institutions that stand out. “And NOLS is absolutely at the top of the list,” said the new Summit Team member. 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




Advancing Expedition Nutrition


By Melissa Hemken, Foundation Relations Officer


hether providing rations for mountaineering, sailing, or climbing, the NOLS food system has been developed to balance food weight with nutrition and appropriate foods for various activities. As would be expected with prolonged physical challenge, many NOLS students see a change in body composition during their course. For most, this is a loss in fat. However, some students who start their courses with a lean body composition can have a challenging time maintaining muscle mass. In a partnership with the University of Utah, NOLS is studying the variables that can affect these changes, such as increased protein intake, designated recovery food and drink, added leucine and other branch chain amino acids, high-calorie diets, and nutritional education. NOLS is working with sports nutrition expert Stacie Gaia at the University of Utah to undertake this research. Gaia has completed several studies regarding how to keep the body nourished on

By Larkin Flora, Communications Coordinator

high-altitude expeditions, such as on Mount Everest. The new data from the NOLS partnership has shed light on the amount of calories adequate to support high levels of activity and stress on the body. A wilderness setting requires a great deal of activity, and NOLS students will soon have a better understanding of the effort it takes to lose fat, build muscle, and maintain adequate levels of nutrition. This past summer, researchers collected data on 15 courses—approximately 200 students—to inform revisions to the NOLS ration system. The school is also revamping its nutrition curriculum resources to help faculty best educate and coach students. With obesity and diabetes reaching all-time highs, it is especially valuable for youth to understand how their bodies function. NOLS students will learn how their bodies perform at high physical levels and take these lessons forward with them in life to help curb unhealthy eating and exercise behaviors.

The charitable deduction has been under the microscope lately as Congress strives to create tax reform. In the Senate Finance Committee’s new “blank slate” approach, all expenditures, credits, and deductions—including the charitable deduction—will be stripped from the tax code before being added back in. It remains to be seen whether or not the charitable deduction will make it into the reformed tax code. The most likely scenario, however, is not a complete abolition of the charitable deduction. Instead, there may be a cap on itemized deductions or a reduction in the top tax rate. President Obama continues to propose capping all itemized deductions at 28 percent on income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for couples. Another scenario proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee chairman is a reduction in the top tax rate form 39.6 percent to 25 percent. In both cases, only about 33 percent of households who itemize would be affected. Many charitable organizations and advocacy groups have lobbied Congress advising against ending the charitable deduction. In 2009, only 27 percent of all taxpayers who itemized claimed the charitable deduction. At this time, Congress has yet to present a tax reform plan, so the fate of the charitable deduction remains mere speculation.



Tracy Baynes

By Madelyn Wigle, Alumni Relations Intern

NOLS’ latest backcountry nutrition research will help students get the most out of their course rations and allow them to make conscious food choices in the frontcountry.

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.


Lightning injuries cause the second-highest number of storm-related deaths in the United States. With backcountry travelers at a high risk for this type of incident, NOLS has partnered with the National Weather Service and the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to complete a new book on lightning safety. This partnership will allow the authors access to the most up-to-date research and statistics. This book is intended to educate NOLS students before, during, and after their courses. There is also a wider audience. With so many people using areas with serious lightning potential, NOLS wants the public to recognize hazardous terrain before the storm is overhead and it’s too late. “Anyone who uses the backcountry should be aware of the risks lightning poses and have the knowledge to avoid those dangerous situations,” co-author Scott Morris explained. “Avoiding lightning should be an integral part of everyone’s risk management.” Morris experienced the reality of his research recently while visiting Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. He and his parents were at Artist’s Point overlooking the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone just when thunder started to rumble. With its high, exposed location and long metal railings, Morris recognized it was probably the worst place they could be. And with that knowledge, he quickly got his group to a safer location. NOLS’ backcounty lightning safety book will be available February 2014.


Our Place on The Map:

Benjamin Fox

A gift to NOLS is an investment in the future. By looking forward and planning ahead, we prepare our school for future challenges and fiscal ebbs and flows.























Current fundraising total: $18, 906,000

Remainder to be raised to recieve capstone: $344,000

Mid-campaign gift recieved after raising initial $10 million

Capstone gift of $750,000


out with them into their communities after their courses. Our students range in age from 14 to 72 and hail from all over the world. These leaders know the value of communication. They understand the importance of giving feedback constructively, embracing it actively, and keeping things positive, which allows them to prevent and resolve conflicts in their communities. Thanks to donor support, the school was able to extend that education to students who would otherwise be unable to attend, providing over $1.5 million in scholarship funding during fiscal year 2013; students like Naomi Greene who came to NOLS through our partner organization GirlTrek. Naomi plans to use her new skills to inspire other women and girls of color to step outside of their comfort zones and challenge their bodies and minds. The challenges of her course can be summed up in her description of the day she summited Wind River Peak in Wyoming. “To keep myself going, I repeated the mantra ‘left, right’ as we ascended the 2,000-foot climb. Suddenly, a team member ahead whooped with joy. We had made it to the top! That day, I found

strength inside me that I had not known before.” Thank you for all you have done for Naomi and all of our scholarship students in the past year. With your help, we will be able to continue providing these life-changing experiences to our future leaders for many more years to come.

Stephane Terrier

Storms on an expedition are inevitable and so, clearly, are the fiscal ebbs and flows that affect endowments. We believe in what we teach in the field: the necessity of taking the long view, of looking at the big picture. We recognize that financial stability happens over time, not overnight. We also recognize that putting the right pieces into place today will foster such stability down the road. Donations to the endowment can include those of cash and stock, as well as certain legacy gifts, such as a gift annuity. Monthly gifts and pledges are both great ways to leverage your dollars by making a larger contribution over a longer period of time. Since a pledge can be paid throughout a five-year period, what seems like a smaller annual donation will result in a more significant contribution over time. The total amount of the pledge is counted toward the campaign goal, meaning you can do more to support leadership and wilderness education today and spread your payments out. Learn more about the endowment and making a legacy gift on page 2. By supporting NOLS, you are investing in the future. We attract highly motivated students who want to learn how to lead and take those skills

NOLS leaders take their new skills back into their communities to affect positive change at home.

From a student in the early ‘70s to an instructor through the ‘80s and finally as a board member in the ‘90s and 2000s, I have seen NOLS grow and change while staying true to its core values. NOLS is a terrific steward of its funds. With my family, we are proud to support the annual fund and the NOLS fundraising efforts, including support for Campaign NOLS. — Kurt Petersen, NOLS Board of Trustees

CONTACT US: Phone: (800) 332-4280 • Web: • Email:

Sharing The Dream By Melissa Hemken, Foundation Relations Officer


arter McBride first learned about NOLS while volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America. He completed the Wood Badge adult leadership training but felt that he still needed more skills to confidently and safely lead youth in the outdoors. This desire to expand his skills brought him to NOLS for a 23-and-over Wind River Wilderness course in 2011. “One of my mentors always says, ‘You cannot lead others unless you truly know yourself and how you act and/or react during times of stress, adversity, doubt, and failure,’” McBride said. McBride believes that the NOLS experience plays to all of those characteristics by placing students in the “wilderness laboratory.” His NOLS course transformed him, teaching him patience, tolerance, and the willingness to open himself up to what he describes as “the truth of understanding.” Inspired by his own NOLS experience, he welcomed the idea when his daughter, Chelsea, inquired about taking a course. So, a year after his course, Chelsea joined the NOLS family as a graduate of a Wilderness Horsepacking course. This past year, Carter had a particularly special opportunity to show his appreciation and support for NOLS as a donor and member of the Expedition Denali support team. Expedition Denali set out to be the first all-African American team to summit North America’s highest peak this summer. Though they did not reach the summit, the team, including the support team, is inspiring countless youth of color to get outside and discover the outdoors. “The experience solidified in my heart and soul the mantra to never cease to ‘dream, plan, train, execute, dream,’” he shared.

Carter McBride pauses to take in the views of the surrounding peaks in Wyoming’s Wind River Range.

Today, Carters’s donations help provide both youth and adults with experiences similar to the transformation both he and his daughter have had.

“Together, we must make sure that Paul Petzoldt’s dream continues to evolve and grow,” Carter declared.

The Courage to Take Risks By Melissa Hemken, Foundation Relations Officer


Annie Kiser tests her chef skills while baking with a twiggy fire at NOLS Rocky Mountain.

n a NOLS expedition, students learn a lot about group dynamics, self-awareness, leadership, and backcountry skills. For Anne Kiser, her 2006 Yukon Outdoor Educator course also taught her the importance of organization. “I lost my bug net the first day of the hiking section,” Kiser said. “For two weeks I had a swollen face because I had so many mosquito bites. I learned immediately that there are harsh consequences for being a disheveled mess.” NOLS provided a structure and focus to Kiser’s life that she didn’t have previously. It gave her the confidence to start climbing and pursue a love of skiing, mountaineering, and general outdoor pursuits. “It gave me the courage to take risks that I wouldn’t have taken before,” she explained. This adventurous spirit and focus took her

CONTACT US: Phone: (800) 332-4280 • Web: • E­ mail:­

to Lander, Wyo., where she landed a marketing internship with NOLS, then on to Chile, where she taught English and also sold wine out of the back of a van. I like to tell people that wilderness

makes you dirty on the outside and clean on the inside.

“It’s amazing what 25 days in the wilderness can do to a persons’ soul,” Kiser explained, “My NOLS experience was huge. It changed the course of my life.” Kiser is grateful to NOLS and gives to the annual fund to provide the same experiences to other young people. “I like to tell people that wilderness makes you dirty on the outside and clean on the inside.”