Not All Charities Are Charitable — 11 Comments

  1. Just out of curiosity, since you are hiking the AT, why isn’t any money going to the ATC? or maybe the state AT groups that you are hiking thru? In case you are considering widening the scope of your giving,I am a hiker here in GA and I know our GaATC could really use some help! :)-Anna

    • Hi Anna,
      Thanks for your question. We approached the ATC first but they were not interested in receiving donations from us. So then we did exactly what you suggest and starting working with the local chapters. We would be thrilled to get some hikes going in GA, and if we could, would be very open to supporting the local chapter there. We would need a GA-based hike-leader / cheerleader to get it going. Know anyone? 🙂

  2. How much do you give to help maintain the trails you hike on? Traffic on the trails damages the environment and they must maintain them.
    Are you in connection with the ATC? Does the ATC help to support your cause? Because I know they are a national park and the department of the interior requires permission to use their parks for charities.
    I would love to see a copy of your financial records to see where the money goes before I give money to support your cause, could you send me one?

  3. Hi Brandi,
    We agree – preserving our trails is critical! That is why we designate 20% of our funds to trail preservation and 80% to mental health research. We work through the local member groups of the Trail Conference where we conduct hikes and secure the appropriate permits for all our organized hikes.
    I would be happy to go over our finanical records with you and answer any other questions you have. Email me at and we can set up a mutually convenient time to review them together. Thanks!

    • Do you have the department of interiors permission to use their property for your non-profit? I find it hard to believe that the ATC would say no to money and still allow you to use the trail. The ATC is always in need of money, so usually in the case of not taking money they don’t want to be connected to your organization. Why might that be?
      If you are full disclosure then we should not have to review them together.

      • Also Do you have a special use permit issued by the department of interior as required? This has an insurance obligation to it so they are not responsible for injuries that could occur.

        • As you probably know, the Department of Interior does not regulate permits for the AT, and there is no one permit for the AT. Each member organization of the ATC maintains its own permitting process, with its own rules and regulations. That is part of the reason we work with and support the local organizations. The ATC has a massively complicated job to coordinate across so many governmental, quasi-governmental, and non-profit groups. They often also encourage engagement more at the local level for that reason. Therefore, we adhere to the management structure of the AT by asking about and securing necessary permits from the proper local regulatory groups. Thanks for your inquiries.

      • Brandi, as is happening here, there are usually questions that come in the course of reviewing the documents. I find it more helpful and effective for all involved to do the review in a setting where questions can be asked and answered. If you like to do so, just let me know.

        In terms of the ATC, they are very sensitive about being perceived as benefiting financially for letting groups (profit or nonprofit alike) use the Trail. Admittedly, their policies sometimes seem inconsistent in this regard, but they do their best to keep the Trail from becoming commercialized or from looking like they are benefiting from activity on it. Again, I’d be happy to talk with you about this anytime. Thanks.


  4. What mental health organizations receive your donations? Do you donate directly to local trail preservation groups and do you have a list who receives your donations?

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