PG GIVES BACK

 

Planet Granite formalized an ongoing commitment to support its community in 2010 via "PG Gives Back." As part of that program, Planet Granite pledges to donate 1% for causes important to climbers and the planet. To date, we have supported dozens of non-profit organizations and underserved communities with more than $699,000 of funds, plus in-kind donations, time, facility use, gear donations, and much more.


Here are key partners and projects we're especially proud of:


THE ACCESS FUND

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Planet Granite is proud to work with the Access Fund to preserve climbing access, including donations to preserve access at local Northern California crags Jailhouse and Donner Summit.

  • $111,780: in cash donations that PG has made to the Access Fund to date
  • We worked with the Access Fund, Truckee Donner Land Trust and saved this climbing area for future generations

What is the Access Fund?
Access Fund is a national non-profit organization that protects climbing areas, from bouldering to alpine climbing to sport and trad climbing.

“In today’s world of climbing our community has grown so much,” says Joe Sambataro, the Fund’s National Access Director & Northwest Regional Director. “That’s a positive thing and also brings challenges.”

“Access Fund is there to ensure that climbers have access to established and new areas, but also to make sure we take care of places we love, and show land managers we can be a partner and not just a recreational user.”

  • In the 1990s, the U.S. Forest Service was considering a ban on bolts and fixed anchors--the Access Fund advocated for climbers and no ban was put in place
  • In 2013 the National Park Service issued an order to approve fixed anchors in wilderness areas
  • Access Fund works with federal authorities in D.C. and at the local level with land managers across the country

How do we help?
2011: PG donated $10,000 and helped raise $23,000, half of the total the Access Fund needed to save Jailhouse for climbing by acquiring a land easement.

2015: PG matched $40,000 in donations to fundraise $88,000 towards the purchase of land at Donner Summit, about one third of the total needed.

“Planet Granite was the largest corporate donor in the campaign to save Donner Summit,” says Sambataro. “It has great, easily accessible trad and sport climbing, and great bouldering that is continuing to be explored.” 

“The 10 acres includes Black Wall, Peanut Gallery and Road Cut. It’s just 10 acres, but it’s a lot of history and climbs in one area. It’s a major part of the history of climbing in North California.”

Want to get involved?
The Access Fund is not an exclusive club, and it relies on the membership and participation of climbers around the country. You can join the national organization to help out, get swag, and receive updates on climbing access news, or meet up with an affiliate local group to get more directly involved in the work. For the affiliate groups, we’re particularly appreciative of the Bay Area Climbers Coalition, which organizes clean-ups at local crags on the reg. Look for news of those on our blog, or on the BACC Facebook page!

AMERICAN SAFE CLIMBING ASSOCIATION (ASCA)

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The American Safe Climbing Association (ASCA) is dedicated to replacing unsafe climbing anchors and bolts and reducing the visual and environmental impacts of climbing. The importance of this organization in the overall safety of our sport cannot be understated. Planet Granite often holds Live Auction Fundraisers at its gym, bringing together the community at large.  Check out the videos we've produced about the ASCA to raise funds, and check out our contributions to date:

  • $324,700: total amount raised since 2009 through Live Auction Fundraisers every year and Planet Granite's dollar match program
  • Around 300 people attend the fundraiser every year
  • Amount raised nearly funds the ASCA's annual budget. Every dollar counts - with this money, the ASCA is able to rebolt areas all over the country and as far as Thailand!

What is the ASCA?
The ASCA is a small, lean organization with the longest reach of any in the world when it comes to replacing deteriorating outdoors bolts and anchors with new, safer equipment. That includes maintaining coastal routes in the Bay Area with corrosion-resistant glue-in titanium bolts.

From Northern California to Colorado to Utah to Thailand, the ASCA’s bolts go everywhere. The way it works is local experts, guides, and crag veterans spot beat-up and rusted old hardware, then reach out to the ASCA for replacement gear, which is sent to them at no charge. Respect is paid to local bolting ethics. The ASCA also offers one of the most comprehensive sets of information about bolt replacement on the internet, including a list of locales where bolts have been replaced to their in-depth articles on how to examine a bolt, how to replace one, or how to alert a bolt-replacing expert to a dangerous situation.

  • 95%: ASCA funds spent directly on bolting materials
  • 14,000+: Bolts replaced by ASCA volunteers to date

ASCA founders Chris McNamara and Greg Barnes are veteran Yosemite climbers who are also behind climbing forum SuperTopo and the trusty review website Outdoor Gear Lab. Greg, Chris, and local bolt replacers everywhere, we salute you!

How do we help?
The ASCA do important work, and we’re proud to say that our annual matching fundraisers usually provide half of the group’s annual budget. Our members know the importance of their work as much as we do, and together, we’ve raised a quarter million dollars over the years for bolt replacement.

PG has donated $115,000 outright, but the even larger total of matching dollars shows just how important this cause is to our community. Our annual fundraisers on their behalf have featured event speakers including Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnold, and Chris Sharma.

Want to get involved?
There are plenty of ways to help replace old climbing bolts and anchors. One of the easiest and best ways: give a couple bucks. Or go to that same link if you’d like to offer to help assist local experts in bolt replacement, and learn some skills at the same time.

“Bolt replacement is getting more and more important, mainly because a lot of routes were put up in the ’70s and ’80s, and they were put up with bolts that only last 20 to 50 years,” explains Chris McNamara, an ASCA founder. “It’s definitely time to get out there and replace a lot of these bolts, before they end up breaking on people.”

BIG CITY MOUNTAINEERS (BCM)

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BCM seeks to transform the lives of underserved urban youth through wilderness mentoring expeditions. The group partners with community-based youth organizations and enlists volunteers who mentor young people on outdoor adventures that give them a new perspective on life.

  • 20% of BCM's Annual Budget is supported by "PG Gives Back" donations
  • 10 of BCM's volunteers in a given year are members of Planet Granite and heard about the organization through our gym
  • PG also donated 60 single program days in 2013 to help train kids before planned outdoor excursions

Who are the Big City Mountaineers?
In 2016, BCM will take 800+ urban teens on a mission to explore the backcountry in pursuit of challenges, inspiration, and life skills. The teens come from local partner agencies, and their journeys offer them a change from challenges they normally face:

  • 86% of participants qualify for free or reduced lunch programs
  • 51% live in single parent or foster care households
  • 13% have experienced homelessness

Big City Mountaineers matches teens with mentors and sends them on week-long backpacking trips. BCM aims to give teens wilderness experiences that offer “the place and space they need to build self-confidence, empathy, self-efficacy, resilience, and a better awareness of their own personal strengths.”

How do we help?
This year we’ve donated $15,000 to BCM to support outdoor backcountry expeditions in California. We will also continue to support the summer programs through the in-kind climbing days in our gym.

Want to get involved?
BCM has a variety of ways for you to join in their work, from volunteering at a pre-expedition event at one of PG’s gyms to mentoring, to mountaineering to raise money:

  • Summit for Someone, in which mountaineers and adventurers climb famous summits or create their own unguided challenge, and use that mission to raise funds for BCM’s work
  • Volunteer as an expedition mentor or at an overnight camp
  • Help out with a pre-expedition climbing training event at a PG gym

OUTWARD BOUND

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Outward Bound seeks to change lives and develop leadership through challenge and discovery. Planet Granite supports a robust scholarship program to bring that experience to youth without the financial resources for full enrollment costs.

What is Outward Bound?
“We’re part of a national network of schools that use the inherent challenge of the wilderness to teach students leadership, character and an ethic of service,” explains Emma Rapp, outreach and marketing manager for Outward Bound California. “In California, we have a specific dedication to low income and underserved populations, getting them outdoors for the first time and then leveraging the leadership and character development piece that they might not have access to at their schools or community centers,” Rapp says. Two thirds of students get a scholarship, from a full scholarship to a percentage off Funds also go to assist non-profit and school organizations in outdoor trips Students go on 7, 14, or 21-day courses in the summer

How do we help?

Want to get involved?
Outward Bound CA has a monthly volunteer night listed on its website under Events, and an annual fundraiser and party that involves rappelling from a tall building in San Francisco, the Skyline Challenge.
Corporate training events also generate income that funds charitable work.

YOSEMITE CONSERVANCY

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Planet Granite has donated money and time to Yosemite Conservancy’s Climbing Trails Program:

  • More than $30,000 donated
  • PG staff have volunteered to restore trails at crags such as Sunnyside Bench, Cookie Cliff, Pat & Jack’s Pinnacle, Royal Arches, and Olmstead Canyon

What is the Yosemite Conservancy?
Yosemite Conservancy has been around for 90 years and has put more than $100 million of work into the climbers’ paradise that’s known around the world. In their own words, YC organizes projects and programs that are essential to Yosemite’s future, “from trail restoration and wildlife protection, to scientific research and youth programs.”
That includes:

  • Reintroduction of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep
  • Restoration of the trail to Lower Yosemite Fall
  • Teaching underserved youth about the ideas of conservation and stewardship of public lands
  • Hundreds of other projects

How do we help?
Twice a year, Planet Granite staffers and community trek to Yosemite to do the happy work of establishing trails to big wall climbs. Maintaining trails minimizes erosion and climber impacts on the park.
“It’s kind of our home climbing area for Bay Area people, you could call it,” says PG San Francisco manager Eliot Carlsen, who usually leads the trips. “A lot of the climbing community go to Yosemite on the weekends to take advantage of the park there. It’s really important that we’re not just using the park, but also taking care of it.”
“We’ve done two years at the El Capitan base, building the trail up the eastern side. Any routes that go up towards the Dawn Wall, that’s the trail they’re going to use.”
Planet Granite also donates an average of $5,000 a year, for a total of $20,000 in the last four years. Those funds are earmarked for trail-building and climbing-related projects, and have paid for improvements in Tuolumne Meadows.

Want to get involved?
There are all kinds of ways to chip in to support Yosemite and the Conservancy’s work. They include donating, buying a Yosemite license plate, or donating a used vehicle to benefit the park.

ENVIRONMENTAL TRAVELING COMPANIONS (ETC)

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One of our longest relationships, since 2010, when we first donated as part of PG Gives Back, has been with Environmental Traveling Companions, a group that brings rafting, kayaking, and skiing to disadvantaged youth and people with disabilities.
ETC helps share the benefits of outdoor adventures: self-confidence, connection to nature, and stewardship of the environment.
Each year, ETC introduces 2,000 people to rafting, skiing and camping.
In their own words: “ETC has offered our life-changing programs to more than 60,000 people with special needs including visual or mobility impairments, developmental disabilities, cancer and other life-threatening illness, and youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Who are the Environmental Travel Companions?
We’ve had a long relationship with ETC, which is based in San Francisco. Founded in 1972, ETC has served more than 75,000 people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth. By partnering with more than 90 social service agencies and schools, ETC serves participants with a wide variety of special needs, including youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and people of all ages with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, developmental disabilities, and mobility, visual and hearing impairments.
“It is hard to imagine a job more inspiring and socially rewarding,” says executive director Diane Poslosky. “From mentoring a youth who transitioned from gangs to a maritime academy, to watching paddlers slip out of their wheelchairs into kayaks to explore the bay fauna, I am continually heartened by the triumph of spirit that is exhibited daily in the ETC community.”

How do we help?
Since 2010, we’ve given a total of $130,000 to ETC, with an average of $20,000 per year.
Each year that has enabled about 50 deserving kids to experience the wonders of the great outdoors on a multi-day ETC trip.
These trips include whitewater rafting on the American River, sea kayaking on the San Francisco Bay, or cross-country skiing in the Sierra. We’re proud to support ETC’s programs, keeping the great outdoors accessible to disadvantaged youth and folks with special needs. ETC’s Fellowship Climbing Program partners with agencies to bring underserved youth to Planet Granite gyms for climbing instruction, and has grown from a couple of trips a year to more than 10 in 2015.

Want to get involved?
You can visit the ETC website at: www.etctrips.org.
ETC invites Planet Granite employees and other climbers to volunteer to be a part of LEAD, a life-changing program which gives youth, ages 14-18, the opportunity to gain leadership skills. If interested, contact ETC’s Youth LEAD Manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 415-474-7662 x16.
“After my experiences with ETC, I feel like I can take on the world. I know that when I get home I will be a better leader and maybe even run for class president. I also know that no matter what challenges I face in life, I can do anything as long as I set my mind to it.” – ETC Youth LEAD Fellow Estella Turner-Gaitan

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