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Welcome to Donate-A-Pack!

Founder's letter

Growing up in a small town in Idaho in the 60's & 70's, I had outdoor opportunities many kids do not. My father was an avid backpacker, my Uncle owned an outdoor company (Adventure 16) and I belonged to an active Boy Scout Troop and lived within biking distance of deep canyon walls and pine-covered hills.

When I joined Adventure 16 (A 16) after college, I began to appreciate the lessons I learned from my experiences growing up in and around wilderness and realized that many kids, especially in the inner cities of Southern California, didn't have' the same opportunities. I knew first hand that a positive outdoor experience could have a profound and lasting affect on anyone, especially a child.

Over the years, we at A 16 were approached continuously by organizations seeking gear donations. As both my sons grew, I would sit in Scout meetings and watch the parents wince as I read the list of equipment that Robby Jr. would need for our next outing. As much as I wanted to, it simply wasn't possible that A 16 could afford to help with all the requests. Like most outdoor retailers, we did what we could, but the effort was modest and the impact minor.

I was at one of Adventure 16's many Backpacker Swapmeets when it occurred to me that thousands of backpacks and other outdoor gear were likely collecting dust in attics all over Southern California. I suspected that given a good cause, outdoor enthusiasts would happily relinquish their used equipment to help local community organizations provide children with quality outdoor experiences.

With that idea in mind, I recruited a Board of Directors dedicated to the cause and together we founded Adventure 16's Donate-a-Pack Foundation as a 501 (c)(3) Nonprofit Corporation. The non-profit designation gave us instant credibility and the tax status needed to allow donors the ability to deduct their gifts. That along with a 10% discount on a brand new Gregory Mountain Products pack and the satisfaction of giving, was more than enough to motivate people to give.

Over the past 8 years Donate-a-Pack has served as the conduit for thousands of pieces of donated gear to 108 worthy non-profit organizations throughout Southern California. I'm proud to say that the gear has helped to enrich the lives of thousands of young people.

Our gear donations have helped many local organizations expand their reach and grow their programs. Over the years, A16 customers and a handful of vendors have been extremely generous with their giving and as a result, countless numbers of disadvantaged kids and young adults have been given an opportunity to learn the invaluable lessons best taught in a wilderness setting.

John D. Mead
Founder, Donate-A-Pack Foundation