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Ten Tips for Winning a Live Your Dream Grant

Posted on: April 28th, 2014 by The AAC


Last year’s Live Your Dream grant powered by The North Face, gave out nearly $30,000 to every-day adventurers hoping to take their climbing to the next level.  With 362 applications sent to us from around the country, the Regional Managers and their committees had some big decisions to make to narrow it down to 50 individuals. This year we’ll give away $50,000 to help make climbing dreams happen!

Thinking applying this year? We asked the Regional Managers and grant committee members from around the country to give us their top suggestions for sending the best applications possible. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Take time to make it professional.  Ask your buddies to proof-read before you send it in.
2. Western Regional Manager, Jeff Deikis says, “The most important task is that you clearly illustrate how your proposed project is a progression for you.  By progression, we are talking about the next step in your climbing career: something you’ve never done before, something outside of your comfort zone or at the edge of your ability level.  This is a grant that is supposed to inspire you to dream big.”
3. Your past experience should illustrate that you have enough experience that you will be capable of completing your dream project safely. Rocky Mountain and Central Regional Manager Adam Peters says, “Be realistic when it comes to your objective in relation to your experience. If you’ve never placed trad gear, don’t apply to climb a big alpine route.”
 Jon Schaffer on Col Standhardt on his way to climb Cerro Torre. Photo: AAC member Jonathan Byers


4. Don’t get carried away with your own personal narrative. This is a grant proposal.  Keep it clear and as concise as possible.  Example: “I’ve worked hard over the last five years to develop my skills as an aid climber.  My experience has mainly been isolated to Yosemite Valley where I’ve climbed X, Y, and Z.  I would like to take these skills and apply them in the greater ranges, so I seek to travel to (insert awesome place here) and attempt (insert awesome route here).  This route will challenge me for reasons one, two, and three.  My hope is to someday travel (insert even more bad ass place here) and climb (ultimate goal here), and I think that this trip is a progressive step in that direction.” The wordier your proposal is, the harder it is to stay on topic.
5. This needs to be YOUR dream. Not your buddy’s.
6. This grant was designed to get you, the every-day adventurer, inspired and pushing your climbing to the next level. We have other grants to help with humanitarian efforts, research projects, conservation, and big-mountain objectives.
Paul Clifford hikes through the Cirque of Towers. Photo: AAC member Brian Threlkeld
7. Only one application per person, please.
8. Talk about how you want to document your adventure. Your trip and your trip report are there to inspire others. How and in what way you tell your story will matter.  The more creative your proposed trip report, the better!
9. Northwest Live Your Dream grant committee Emily Stifler says, “I like young people who want to eat the proverbial oatmeal and spaghetti in exchange for a few hundred dollars to go to the Bugaboos.”
10. Don’t be afraid to apply for adventures in your own backyard. Stifler says, “I like regional adventures that don’t cost that much, but are still a big challenge.”

Time to start dreaming big! The application period is open January 1 – March 1. If you’d like to learn more about the Live Your Dream grant, visit our website. You can also go to our website to find out more about this year’s winners. We strongly encourage those of you who didn’t make the cut this year to apply again next year! 
Learn more about the 2014 winners here.

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