Partnering with the Share Winter Foundation: Gratitude from a Grantee (Youth Enrichment Services)

A Different Kind of Foundation

When Share Winter Foundation CEO, Constance Beverley, approached us about writing this blog post we immediately said yes.  And then it occurred to us, “Where do we start?  There’s so much to write about!” 

And it’s true.  Share Winter is unlike any other institutional funder I have worked with during my 12 years as Executive Director of the Boston, Massachusetts nonprofit organization, Youth Enrichment Services (YES).  Constance and her team at the foundation wear many hats.  They are not only a grantmaker but also a resource hub, facilitator, connector, strategy partner, equity champion, and advocate.  When you become a grantee, the foundation will open doors for you far beyond just writing your organization a check.  One important benefit I have noticed is that by aligning with a national foundation like Share Winter (who partners with other national organizations, the likes of Snowsports Industries America (SIA), Snowbound Fest, and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA)) your own organization gains credibility as you connect with other funders.  

Funding from Share Winter has been a major catalyst for growing YES’s snowsports initiatives: our repeat engagement downhill ski/snowboard program and cross-country ski program. Share Winter specifically supports programs rooted in a repeat engagement model and understands the benefit of vertical growth in order to deepen the impact on young people served.  Not that YES is one to remain stagnant in our programming, but having a funder and partner who both understands the benefit of a repeat engagement model and pushes you to do more is really phenomenal.

Winter Round-Up

2021 was a different kind of winter for all of us.  Here at YES – like many of you – we remained resilient and adapted successfully to the challenge.  In total, 117 youth headed to the slopes and experienced the outdoors with us!  To make this happen in the midst of a tumultuous winter, funding from committed partners like Share Winter was more important than ever.  Ongoing support provided financial resources that allowed us to modify our programs in spite of pandemic-related travel bans, bus capacity reductions, safety regulations, and other logistical challenges.   

But as I mentioned earlier, Share Winter routinely goes “above and beyond” and this winter was no exception. 
— Bryan Van Dorpe, Youth Enrichment Services (YES)

From regularly checking in with grantees throughout the pandemic about the organization’s needs to coordinating Race/Equity trainings, Share Winter has been a supporter in every sense of the word this year. They’ve also been a bridge to incredible resources that our organization would otherwise not have access to.  

For example, Constance Beverley reached out to YES in February 2021 about a collaboration opportunity to create a video with Share Winter and luxury alpine outerwear brand, Alps & Meters.  Together at Wachusett Mountain (Princeton, MA), Alps & Meters crafted a compelling story (1) celebrating YES’s enduring 53-year history to impact young people through outdoor experiences and (2) Share Winter and Yes’s collective vision to create a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming snowsports industry.  As a small nonprofit, we have limited financial resources to create video content – and Share Winter gets this.  Thanks to Share Winter, we now have an amazing video, and Alps & Meters as a new local friend in the snowsports industry. 

Share Winter’s national reach and industry collaborations has also had a positive impact on our program through their facilitation of in-kind donations. In May 2021, Share Winter reached out to YES about a ski boot donation opportunity from Surefoot Skiing.  The company was interested in donating 500 pairs of ski boots to youth snowsports programs – and that’s where Share Winter stepped in.  They connected YES (Boston, MA) and Whaleback Mountain (Enfield, NH) to share this generous gift (valued at over $160,000!) and outfitted our youth with some amazing quality gear.  Boots, gloves, and warm layers are critical for youth in our programs.  It’s the first step to having a successful day on the slopes and ensures their warmth and comfort during the cold New England winter days.  Proper gear provides for our youth’s basic physical needs which in turn opens the door for learning snow sports and having fun!

Thank you, Share Winter!

In our experience as a multi-year grant recipient, the Share Winter Foundation is a unique and thoughtful partner who works together with organizations to further their mission and vision.  They are truly in “your corner” to make your programs successful and bring your organization to the next level. 

Thank you, Share Winter Foundation, for all you do to positively impact YES, our fellow snowsports program grantees, and thousands of young people across the country.  You are a one-of-a-kind grantmaker and leader!

Author Bio

Author Bio Cards.png

Bryan Van Dorpe has been the Executive Director of Youth Enrichment Services (YES) since 2008. Prior to joining YES, Bryan was the Executive Director at the South Boston Neighborhood House. He received his bachelor’s degree in English at the College of Holy Cross and then went on to receive a masters in Secondary Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In addition to his leadership background at other Boston nonprofits, Bryan has been coaching track and cross-country at Archbishop Williams High School and in youth programs for over 30 years.