Supporting BOLT

Alumni and parent donations are always critical to the success of BOLT. We truly appreciate your help with supporting the program each year!

Our program depends on the financial support provided by BOLT parents, alumni and friends to allow us to offer financial aid to our BOLTers and our Leaders, continue our backpacking and hiking trips, improve the quality of our fall programming events, maintain our ability to lend out equipment and improve the quality of leader training. Without your support, we would not be able to offer BOLT as an opportunity for students at Brown.

Currently, BOLT is funded through a combination of contributions: 47% by student fees, 23% by the University and 30% by alumni and parent support through direct gifts (10%) and our annual endowment yield (20%).

Annual Phone-a-thon for BOLTer Financial Assistance

Each January as classes begin (week 3), we have the opportunity to partner with Brown’s Advancement Office to use Brown’s official call center to reach out to our BOLT Alums and parents to ask for their help. The caller ID will say “Brown University” and on the other end will be one of our current leaders, our program director (Shelley) or one of our founders (Dean Rose). Through this Phone-a-Thon we aim to raise the funding we need to offer financial aid to our BOLTers. It is important to us to pass the BOLT experience on and to ensure that our program is accessible regardless of a students ability to fully pay the program fee for participation. This annual event also helps us stay connected to our alums and to answer parent and alum questions about the program.

Your Support Matters

This year, we were able to offer a variety of Fall Program events and workshops, including small group gatherings, two leadership workshops led by our student leaders, “Family Group” events (4 BOLT groups combined), traditions such as our BOLT Wars (a spin off the first year Unit Wars field day) a slide show and a Thanksgiving Celebration for all-BOLT, all years. With your help, we can continue to add new events to our schedule, growing the BOLT community at Brown and beyond.

We were able to ensure that participating in BOLT is need-blind, meaning that we are able to offer financial assistance to our BOLTers (participants) and our Leaders.

Each year our BOLTers have needed an average of $6,000 in financial assistance for participation fees. Our Leaders obtain their national certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), wilderness first aid (WFA) and wilderness first responder (WFR) prior to leading a trip and we average about $1,200 in financial assistance in requests to assist with course fees.

Each year, we also replace worn and damaged gear — both group gear (tarps, ropes, cooking gear, bear bags) and individual loaner gear (rain gear, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, backpacks).

We have two gift accounts that our donors may choose to support: “Current Use” and “Brown Outdoor Leadership Training (BOLT) Endowment.”

Current Use Gifts

We rely on a collection of about 100 gifts each year that provides $5,000-$6,000 in “current use” support. This is funding that is immediately available for program use towards current needs. Our ability to provide BOLTer financial aid is based on our current use gifts from our family and friends.

Endowment Fund

A number of years ago, BOLT began building an endowment with the goal of establishing the program’s sustainability in a permanent way for future generations of leaders and participants.

As of June 30, 2015, Our endowment has a book value of $390,516.79 which holds a market value $487,521.91 and its annual yield (interest earned) permanently supports our operating costs including the calendar of fall events, leader training, leader financial aid for wilderness certification courses, gear replacement and our general operating costs. The current annual yield available to support the program from this fund is $23,181 (a $1,115 increase for FY16).

As of June 30, 2015 the Book Value was $390,516.79 and Market Value was $487,521.91. Yield was $23,181.17.

We are truly grateful to our leaders, alumni and parents for their support in our efforts to secure BOLT’s future at Brown!

How to Make Your Gift to Brown directed to BOLT.

Donations using Brown’s Secure (Official) Website:

To provide a financial gift through using Brown’s Advancement Office’s secure site:

1. Go to Brown’s secure giving page: (

2. Enter Amount

3. Select Student Groups, then a drop down box appears and BOLT is an option. This is a critical step for directing your gift to support us

4. Special Instructions. The default if you leave this blank would be for the funds to be directed to Current Use Priorities. If you would like to contribute to our Endowment, please indicate this for the Advancement Office to direct the gift.

5. If you would like to designate the gift “on behalf of,” “in honor of” “in memory of,” this is a check box option. A nice letter from Brown will be sent to the person you are honoring notifying them of the gift.

6. Continue through the rest of the page to provide the contact information, and credit card details.

If you have questions, please contact the BOLT Managers or Rachael Wise, BOLT Director, in Student Activities.

To donate by mail, please send us a note or card with a check:

BOLT/Student Activities Office
Box 1930
Providence RI 02912

Checks may be made payable to “Brown University,” with the memo adding the info to direct the gift – “BOLT endowment fund” or “BOLT current use.”

We will submit this to the Gifts Cashier to process the gift properly. This ensures that you will receive an official letter from the University thanking you for the gift (a donation letter for tax purposes). A gift to BOLT is a gift to Brown University designated for a directed use.

If you have questions, please contact the BOLT Managers or Rachael Wise, BOLT Director, in Student Activities.

We also welcome your support in other ways that really help. It is always wonderful to feel your support. 

  1. Host an alumni gathering or hike in your area.
  2. Stay connected and share opportunities for open positions for outdoors jobs.
  3. Share with us a great trail recipe that we absolutely need.
  4. Send us great BOLT pictures for our archives that we may be missing.
Gear and Clothing Donations Needed

Often, BOLTers and leaders will need to borrow clothing or personal from the program. You can help to grow our supply of gear by donating extra outdoor items to BOLT. We welcome and seek donations of warm, non-cotton clothing items and hiking boots in good condition: hats, gloves, long underwear, hiking socks, nylon pants/tops, and fleece items of all kinds. Other items like Nalgenes and headlamps are often in high demand too.

Please contact the BOLT managers at if you would like to drop something off in person.

Or if you’d like to mail us a package of gently worn gear that we can share, you can send it to:

Brown Outdoor Leadership Training (BOLT)
Student Activities Office
Brown University
Box 1930 (or for UPS choose 75 waterman St, rm 230)
Providence RI 02912