Shilettha Curtis (trail name “Dragonsky”) was awarded a Backpacking Light Diversity Grant to help support her first thru-hike – the Appalachian Trail. Follow Shilettha on Instagram and read our Q&A with her. Photo: Shilettha Curtis.

About the Fund

We provide grants of cash and equipment to under-represented* adventurers, content creators, and outdoor educators.

*Under-representation is defined here in the context of what we publish here at Backpacking Light. We wish to tell stories by and about, and offer writing and teaching opportunities to people who represent more diverse backgrounds and culture.

How much is the grant?

Current grants are issued in the amount of $500 each (cash) plus equipment.

When are applications due?

Applications are reviewed on a revolving (continuous) basis.

What are the applicant qualifications?

You identify as a member of an under-represented community in the U.S. outdoor industry. Examples include but are not limited to BIPOC, LGBTQ+, or people with disabilities.

You would like to be considered for editorial, education, or guiding opportunities that impact the Backpacking Light community.

How do I apply?

Please submit a letter of consideration via email to Backpacking Light Publisher Ryan Jordan at [email protected]. Include:

  • A description of what you hope to accomplish with the grant funds. Please include a budget.
  • Any specific equipment needs you may have, so we can try to procure them for you with our partner community.
  • What type of editorial, education, or guiding services you are qualified to offer to our community, and what your pay requirements for those services would be.

How can grant funds be used?

Grant recipients may use proceeds for equipment, travel, supplies, permits, training, course/group/guide fees, and related expenses.

Note: you will be offered additional compensation (above and beyond your grant award) for editorial, education, or guiding services you provide to our community.


  • Where donations will be solicited: Annual seed funding will be provided by Backpacking Light. Donations to this fund will be solicited from our membership community and other networks.
  • Administrative Costs: 100% of fund proceeds will be distributed to recipients. Backpacking Light will subsidize all administrative costs out of its operating budget.
  • How Funds are Distributed: Decision-making about how funds are distributed will be made collectively by a committee comprised of Backpacking Light staff and/or community members.
  • Transparency: Disclosure of the value of all contributions and the value and nature of all disbursements will be made publicly available in an annual report submitted to the Outdoor CEO Pledge as part of the In Solidarity Project. Individual contributions will remain anonymous to protect the privacy of the contributors.

How do I make a contribution to the Diversity Fund?

Select an amount below to contribute:


The Diversity Fund includes partnerships with outdoor recreation service providers and equipment manufacturers, who provide gear and gift certificates to grant recipients in addition to our cash grant awards. If you’d like to partner with us, please contact us via email.

Current Partners:

  • GSI Outdoors
  • Feathered Friends
  • Enlightened Equipment
  • Tenkara USA