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We believe climbing is for all people. At the same time, we recognize that climbing has historically been accessible only to a privileged few, and that the climbing community in our gyms does not represent the diversity we see in the cities we serve. That’s why we launched the FA Foundation. 

Our Mission: Harness the energy of the climbing community to provide access and programming to underserved people and communities, breaking down barriers to entry and creating pathways to pursue climbing for life.

For 2021, we’re focusing the work of the FA Foundation on two main initiatives:

By June 2022, our goal is to provide 1,000 people with a climbing experience and 250 people with long term climbing access. We know there is a lot of work to be done, and that these efforts represent a small step in the right direction, but we’re glad to be on the journey.

Questions? Drop us a line at foundation@faclimbing.com.


Foundation Update: December 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, we want to update the FA community on the work we’ve been doing through the FA Foundation this year.

Since the launch of the FA Foundation in June, it’s been exciting to see our REACH and RISE programs really begin to deliver on their purpose: to expand access to climbing for underserved communities and to improve the diversity of the climbing community in the cities we serve.

A few highlights to share:

  • We’ve provided free or reduced-price climbing access and experiences to over 350 people, despite the challenges of in-person programming during the continued pandemic
  • We now have 5 REACH Youth Programs running at Humboldt Park, Block 37, and Uptown, providing coached climbing sessions to over 60 kids each week. Here are some photos of our REACH Program in action with lead instructors Moises Hernandez and Brandon Bradberry:
  • We’re excited that 70% of RISE members identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color. Here are a few stories RISE members shared about how the membership has impacted them:
Our goals through June 2022:
  • Continue providing climbing experiences for youth and adults from partner organizations in pursuit of our goal to provide 1,000 people with a climbing experience
  • Develop Phase 2 of the REACH Program, with ongoing lessons, coaching, competitions, and other activities for youth who have completed the first 10-week session
  • Fill RISE membership capacity through community outreach, member awareness, and word of mouth efforts
There are 2 ways you can help:
  1. Help us connect with other organizations. If you know of any organizations we should work with, please email us at foundation@faclimbing.com to connect us
  2. Share the RISE Membership. If you know of someone who might benefit from the RISE membership program, please send them to faclimbing.com/rise to learn more and submit an application
And of course if you have any questions, please contact foundation@faclimbing.com and we’d be happy to answer them.
Lastly, we want to give a HUGE shoutout to the FA staff who have made this work possible: Moises Hernandez and Brandon Bradberry for all of their work on the REACH program, and Sydney Seabrook and Christine Savage-Wright for their work implementing the RISE membership program.
Thanks for reading, and let’s keep climbing higher together!
Dan Bartz
Co-founder | First Ascent Climbing & Fitness