OARS Expands its Efforts to Help Create a More Accessible and Inclusive River Community

Donates More Than $35,000 to Social Justice & Conservation Organizations; Provides River Trips for 150+ Under-resourced Youth in 2021

Angels Camp, Calif. —In 2021, veteran river outfitter, OARS, donated tens of thousands of dollars to efforts to preserve and protect rivers and help create a more welcoming and inclusive river community. The company released a full recap of its annual giving efforts earlier this week.

Continuing its long-standing support of regional conservation organizations in the areas it operates, OARS facilitated more than $27,000 in voluntary pass-through donations from guests this year. The company also took decisive steps toward being a stronger advocate for the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities.

In June, OARS partnered with the Sacramento LGBT Center to host a month-long Pride Month initiative at its American River Outpost which raised $4,090. In addition to providing a subsidized trip for the Center’s members, OARS donated $5 to the organization for every guest who rafted the South Fork of the American River Sunday through Friday throughout the month.

“The Sacramento LGBT Community Center, among its many services, provides 24/7 housing solutions for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness. Through a partnership with OARS we raised enough money to cover the cost of a month’s worth of housing, case management, and wraparound services for five youth,” says Lanz Nalagan, acting Chief Development Officer. “On top of that, OARS donated experiential trips to our residents – a remarkable experience for those whose time outdoors was never really about recreation.”

As part of a similar campaign in July for BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, OARS donated $4,705 to Oakland-based nonprofit Justice Outside to support their goal of advancing racial justice and equity in the outdoors.

“It’s always been part of our mission to inspire a love for wild rivers in all people through fun and meaningful experiences in nature, but we know many people never get the opportunity or have never felt welcome on the river,” says Steve Markle, OARS Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “This year, we’re especially proud to expand our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts by getting more under-resourced youth out on the water, creating a need-based guide school scholarship program for aspiring river guides, and through our partnerships with organizations like the Sacramento LGBT Center and Justice Outside.”

Beyond direct donations in 2021, OARS gave more than 50 trip vouchers to community and national nonprofits to help with fundraising, and outfitted a number of trips at deeply discounted rates for river advocacy groups like Friends of the Yampa, American Rivers, and American Whitewater to help support their critical work.

In partnership with The Pam & George Wendt Foundation, the company also provided dozens of whitewater rafting trips for under-resourced youth and young adults, as well as four raft guide school scholarships for deserving applicants in Utah and California.

OARS 2021 Contributions at a Glance

  • $27,000 in pass-through donations to regional conservation organizations
  • $4,090 Donation to Sacramento LGBT Center
  • $4,705 Donation to Justice Outside
  • 151 subsidized 1-day trips for under-resourced youth
  • 4 fully-sponsored, need-based guide school scholarships awarded
  • Over 50 trip vouchers for local and national non-profits
  • Discounted multi-day trips for Friends of the Yampa River, American Whitewater, and American Rivers

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