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The directing board of Big City Mountaineers has high expectations for the 2022 fundraising season with their newly appointed executive director, David Taus, leading the way.
Big City Mountaineers (BCM) is a national nonprofit organization based in Golden, Colo., that provides transformative outdoor experiences to kids in underserved communities. By working with partner organizations in six cities across the nation, the group seeks to break down the barriers to outdoor access, creating a space where kids can connect with the natural world and their larger community.
According to Taus, the nation’s reckoning with social injustice and the destabilization from the Covid pandemic prompted BCM into a period of organizational introspection in 2020. Taus was offered the executive director position in June 2021 as a direct effect of that process. With his background in outdoor education and experience as an outdoorsmen, Taus brings plenty of relevant perspective to the position. He has worked as a camp counselor, naturalist, high school science teacher, and leader at multiple nonprofits with equity lenses.
A fresh set of goals
Taus has three main goals for BCM going into 2022. The first is to keep the programming of the nonprofit safe for all involved. Last year the group was largely successful in doing so, considering it had no reported Covid cases from any of its in-person excursions. This year, Taus hopes to further strengthen responses to Covid with the goal of increasing program delivery whenever possible. He plans on pairing this new safety lens with a renewed focus on the group’s equity commitments.
The second goal is to solidify a replicable model for community outreach. Taus stated the ideal model would be one that “increases span without sacrificing quality.” Accomplishing this would bring BCM one step closer to its third goal: expanding into new regions. This one is further off, and requires the organization to acquire more partnerships and more funding in new potential cities.
In order to take the organization in the direction that Taus envisions, he said it will require an expansion of current fundraising avenues. To aid in this process, BCM had also brought on Bailey Denmark as director of development, a new position at the nonprofit. Denmark’s main focus will be grant applications and fundraising efforts.
Taus also hopes to reexamine the equity of some of BCM’s programs. He said he realizes that programs based around physically demanding and time-intensive outdoor excursions are not inclusive for many people. Taus hopes to fix that problem in order to bring BCM’s benefits to an even wider range of people.
Taus hopes that if BCM can accomplish these goals, the nonprofit will continue to spread the message that “nature is for everybody and everybody belongs.”