Have you ever donated money and wondered what it was being used for?  Read below to learn how your donation to Paradox Sports is used to make an impact!

By: Becky Lindstrom, Development and Communications Manager

When you donate to Paradox Sports, you believe in our mission of transforming lives and communities through adaptive climbing opportunities that defy convention. But what happens with the money you donate?  With a season of giving just around the corner, we wanted to make sure you could see and better understand how your donation impacts us.

If you donate through most of our portals: general donations, Base Camp, or Adaptive Advocate, your money goes into our “unrestricted” category; this money is spent on our day-to-day operations, including program, fundraising, and administration. Our current spending percentages for each are located below. 

But what exactly does any of that mean?


Most of our time, effort, and money is spent on programming. We have two staff members devoted entirely to our programs: Sam Sala is responsible for national trips and local programming. Nate McKenzie is in charge of our Adaptive Climbing Initiatives (ACI) and East Coast programming. 

Multiple hours of research go into each trip which often includes visiting the area, checking accessibility, lodging possibilities, cooking situations, and speaking with local guides and rangers.

What goes into a trip budget:

Numbers in parentheses are the average cost between our 6 trips – Ouray, Joshua Tree, Rumney, Yosemite, Shelf Road, and the Gunks.

Staffing and guides for the actual trip ($921)

Transportation costs to get staff to trip ($467)

Permits for climbing if required ($230)

Campsite or lodging costs ($763)

Food purchases (when food is supplied) ($721)

Misc. supplies such as sunscreen, bug spray, utensils ($100)

Several of our trips are run at a deficit to Paradox Sports, meaning that we lose money providing these experiences (and that’s why the next piece is so important!)


Fundraising! We have one staff member dedicated to Development — me, Becky Lindstrom. The money spent on fundraising goes towards marketing materials, donor relations, Paradox Mile swag, and Becky’s time. The Development seat is responsible for grant writing, event planning, peer-to-peer fundraising, corporate partnerships, and donor relationships. With fundraising, we can keep our five staff members employed and our seven trips running at our high standards.


Regarding administration, we have two staff members that split their time among all three categories — Dave Elmore, our Executive Director, and Brittany Spiegelberg, our Operations Manager. Administration is about what it sounds like- everything we need to help our office run. This includes website management, registrations, the creation of monthly financials, taxes, and so much more. Though not as exciting as Programs, everything that happens behind the scenes in administration helps us run smoothly.

Paradox Mile Donations

When you donate to a Paradox Mile, this support is categorized in three ways and depends upon the host gym: restricted, unrestricted, and scholarship. If a gym chooses to use the money raised to host an Adaptive Climbing Initiative (ACI), we keep the funds restricted for that purpose. In the case of the Paradox Mile Resolution, hosted January 1 -31, we use that money exclusively for our trip scholarship fund. On average, we scholarship 30 participants per year. If a gym does not want to use the funds for an ACI, the funds raised go into our unrestricted category and are spent as detailed above.  

Trip scholarships are typically given by waiving trip fees for participants who apply.  Our hope is that we can use these funds to eliminate any financial barriers for participants who need extra support and continue to bridge the gap of accessibility in the outdoors.  These trips provide transformational opportunities, below are some testimonials from participants who received scholarships to attend our National Trips. 

“I feel like I’m able to tackle challenges that I might have been putting on a back burner for fear of not being able to accomplish.  Go ahead and sign up. The experience is exhilarating and very impactful!! Also the adrenaline rush can’t be matched in any other thing you do!!” -Rumney Ice Climbing Participant

“I had more experience in rock climbing than ice climbing so I didn’t need a lot of assistance there.  But what I noticed at Shelf was that Paradox lets you learn and do other things rather than just the act of climbing.  There’s more to climbing than just climbing; it’s belaying, it’s being a part of a team, it’s cleaning a route, it’s learning knots, you know, there’s a lot of things to climbing that aren’t actually climbing.  I felt really safe, comfortable and happy because I was able to do other things like belay and tie my own knot.  It was so cool to do everything as if we were a team of climbers rather than an organization doing a clinic or something like that.  At the same time, everyone learned and was safe, but it was really cool to be taught where to go if Paradox isn’t there, if you are just climbing with someone in the community.  And hopefully, a lot of people in the community will see that you can be safe too, even if you have a barrier or an obstacle.  You can do everything the same way and safely.  Both of these trips prepared you for moving out on your own, independently and with other climbing partners.”  -Shelf Road Rock Climbing Participant

Adaptive Adventure Fund Donations

Paradox athlete Tanner Jones indoor climbingIf you donate to our Adaptive Adventure Fund, your money remains restricted and is used with our Adaptive Adventure Grant! This is a grant for adaptive adventure seekers who embark on climbing and mountaineering-based activities separate from Paradox Sports’ programs. In 2021, we had four grant recipients. We are always looking for more applicants! 

To better understand the importance of your donations, please read some testimonials below from two Adaptive Adventure Fund grant recipients who received money to attend and compete in the Paraclimbing Nationals. 

“The community I found through Paradox recently took me to Birmingham, Alabama for the 2022 Para Climbing Nationals. With the use of the Adaptive Adventure Fund I was able to afford travel expenses to compete. During my time at Nats’ I was able to meet countless adaptive athletes that absolutely crush. I learned more about climbing with my prosthetic than I ever thought possible. Side by side with other climbers we broke barriers and climbed in a national competition. Thanks to Paradox and the Adaptive Adventure Fund I competed at nationals and have now been asked to climb at a Para World Cup in Salt Lake City at the end of May 2022.”

“It was so inspiring to see other people climb with one arm just like me. Usually, when I go rock climbing I am the only adaptive climber in the gym. I remember as a kid I never saw another person with one hand until I was 18 at my first international ski race. Looking back I hope that I can show every little girl and boy out there that you can do anything you put your mind to. Thank you so much Paradox Sports for sending me to the US Paraclimbing Nationals. This is hopefully just the start of my rock climbing career!”

If you would like additional information in regards to how your donation is making an impact, as well as a deeper look into Paradox Sport’s financials, you can check out our Annual Report here

Did you make it this far in the blog? I’m impressed — I’m not nearly as interesting as all our other blog writers. Still, it is essential to understand why your donations make such a huge impact on Paradox Sports. We could not do it without our donors, and we appreciate each of you immensely.