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 eight 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 contact [email protected] or 612-676-9400. J.P. Morgan Chase holds and manages Wilderness Inquiry’s Endowment Funds.
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.
Wilderness Inquiry Founders Endowment Fund
Provides adaptive gear and equipment; staff training and support; and scholarships for individuals and families who experience disability and, due to financial circumstances, may be limited in their ability to participate in Wilderness Inquiry programs.
The Founders Endowment invests in the programs and community-building activities that provide the foundation for Wilderness Inquiry’s inclusive programs. Through this endowment, Wilderness Inquiry seeks to honor the legacy of our founder and longtime visionary leader, Greg Lais, alongside all of the founding leaders who were instrumental in the establishment of Wilderness Inquiry and our mission of inclusion. The Founders Endowment will provide ongoing support and funding to facilitate accessible outdoor recreational and educational opportunities for people with physical, emotional, cognitive, intellectual, and developmental disabilities and for all of those in our community who face barriers to accessing the outdoors.
Support to the Wilderness Inquiry Founders Endowment helps carry forward the core of our mission as we seek to connect people of all ages, backgrounds, identities, and abilities to each other and the natural world through shared outdoor adventures.
Whitney Ulvestad Memorial Endowment Fund
Provides scholarships and financial assistance for all persons to experience community, the possibilities of the natural world, and living with intention through shared outdoor activities.
Whitney brought joy to everyone she met. Her enthusiasm for life and all its possibilities — and her curiosity and adventurous nature — took her all over the world. Whitney worked as a guide for Wilderness Inquiry for several seasons, developing a deep love for the Apostle Islands. She was a wonderful and patient instructor, a confident and curious colleague, and possessed a dry and clever sense of humor. Whitney was always positive, encouraging, and genuinely thrilled with the success and accomplishments of others.
Learn more about Whitney and her spirit of adventure in our Trail Tales.
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 -- read his story here. 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. Francine Murphy continued to support Wilderness Inquiry for many years. Read a tribute to her here.
We are indebted to the Murphy family for their unwavering support of our mission.
The Finch Family Endowment Fund
Provides scholarships for people with traumatic brain injuries, 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 Wilderness Inquiry. On every trip she inspired many by pursuing her love of the outdoors, despite her disability. Harold (Shorty) and Catherine (Baba) Finch became involved with WI after their daughter’s first trip. They saw the positive impact in Martha’s life and became advisors and friends. Click here to read more about the Finch family.
To honor their memory, the Wilderness Inquiry Board of Directors, in cooperation with the Finch family, established The Finch Family 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, Wilderness Inquiry 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. See more about this fund here.
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 Wilderness Inquiry adventure.
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, they conducted the "Great Wide Open Golf" tournament to help build this fund.
Carol Beim Nulsen Endowment Fund
Provides scholarships to build positive relationships between youth and the outdoors.
The Carol Beim Nulsen Scholarship Fund was created in memory of Carol Beim Nulsen and her passionate support of Wilderness Inquiry's mission of connecting youth to nature. Carol believed in building strong, positive, and lasting relationships to nature for future generations. The endowment provides scholarships for youth that experience barriers to the outdoors.