Wilderness Inquiry Endowment Funds
Creating an endowment is a meaningful way to honor a loved one and to provide an ongoing source of financial support so that future generations may continue to enjoy the many benefits Wilderness Inquiry provides. We currently have four named endowment funds, each honoring a loved one whose spirit of adventure and compassion is exemplified in the mission of Wilderness Inquiry.
If you are considering starting an endowment to honor a loved one and “Share the Adventure” with others please call Greg Lais, our founder, at 612-676-9400. Or, send an email to Ask Greg.
Established endowment funds are listed below. If you wish to help build one of our existing endowments you can donate to it directly from this page.
Existing endowment funds:
Andrew Murphy Memorial Endowment Fund
Provides financial assistance to individuals with communication disorders and other disabilities.
Driven by his desire to experience the wilderness and his belief in social integration, Andrew Murphy participated on an 8-day trip to Ontario with Wilderness Inquiry in 1987. Not only was this his first wilderness trip, it was his first trip away from home. This canoe trip in Ontario was a turning point is Andrew’s life. Because of the difference the trip made in Andrew’s life, his family decided in 1988 to create an endowment fund in Andrew’s honor to make it possible for others to experience the power of Wilderness Inquiry trips. Andrew’s father, Mark, served on the Wilderness Inquiry Board of Directors from 1999 to 2005. We are indebted to the Murphy family for their unwavering support of our mission.
Harold B. and Martha A. Finch Endowment Fund
Provides scholarships for people with physical and cognitive disabilities and others in financial need to participate.
Martha Finch became involved with Wilderness Inquiry after an accident left her with a severe disability. Martha was determined to participate again in “normal” activities she loved, like canoeing and camping, and went on more than a dozen trips with WI. On every trip she inspired many by pursuing her love of the outdoors, despite her disability. Harold (Shorty) Finch became involved with WI after his daughter’s first trip. He saw the positive impact in Martha’s life and became a Board member, advisor and friend.
To honor their memory, the Board of Directors of WI, in cooperation with the Finch family, established the Harold B. and Martha A. Finch Endowment Fund.
Harriet Spencer Yellowstone Area Endowment Fund
Provides scholarships for underserved and underrepresented populations to directly experience the wonders of Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding Greater Yellowstone Area.
In recognition of Harriet Spencer’s deep love of the greater Yellowstone area and her commitment to sharing it with everyone, the Spencer Family and the Broadwaters Foundation established the Harriet Spencer Yellowstone Area Endowment in 2014 to help ensure that future generations from all walks of life experience and treasure this great resource.
Since 1989, WI has conducted 109 trips to Yellowstone National Park, serving approximately 1,500 individuals. Today, Yellowstone is one of WI’s most popular destinations, with opportunities to significantly increase visitation by underserved populations.
Sean Maher Endowment Fund
Provides scholarships for people with developmental disabilities and others to enjoy the outdoors.
Sean Maher returned from his Wilderness Inquiry trip to Voyageur’s National Park full of enthusiasm for the experience. According to his parents, Sean talked a lot about midnight canoe rides, full moons, rock sculptures, and a “Friday Night Live” variety show. His family established the Sean Maher Endowment Fund in 2006 to honor Sean’s life by allowing others to experience a WI adventure.
Click here to contribute to the Sean Maher Endowment Fund
Neil DuBois Endowment Fund
Provides scholarships to allow people with financial need to participate on Wilderness Inquiry trips.
Neil was a passionate young man who loved the outdoors and all kinds of outdoor activities. His love of snowboarding was contagious, inspiring many who saw him in action or just heard him talk about it to give it a try.
When Neil passed away unexpectedly in the fall of 2004, his family wanted to create a lasting and meaningful legacy to honor Neil’s life, establishing the Neil DuBois Memorial Fund. For many years the conducted the “Great Wide Open Golf” tournament to help build this fund.