March 1, 2016. We are thrilled to announce the formation of the Great Falls Foundation, a new non-profit charitable organization dedicated to promoting an active and outdoor lifestyle by collaborating with land and water resource managers, producing adventure sporting events and competitions, and fostering the safe recreational use of our natural resources.
The Foundation was established in November 2015, and received its charitable 501(c)(3) status from the IRS in January 2016. We will work closely with the National Park Service, state parks and recreation agencies, local emergency response departments, and other public and private resource stakeholders. Timed to coincide with the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary celebration, the Foundation fully endorses the Park Service’s mission to “... cooperate with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.”
We were motivated to establish this Foundation in order to more effectively and efficiently produce the annual Potomac Festival and Great Falls Race, an extreme kayak race. As an independent organization, we now will be able to work directly with the National Park Service on permitting, the regional fire/rescue services on safety, and partners such as the American Canoe Association on insurance. Moreover, as a charitable organization, we will be able to more readily accept sponsorships, work meaningfully with private and corporate donors, and professionally manage the event’s finances.
But, our plans don’t start and stop with the Potomac Festival. We envision a broader series of events and competitions, including recurring attainment races; SUP events; pop-up events for all paddler levels; and multi-sport events. We also plan to work with regional authorities on safety and access issues, as well as exposing new communities to our public water and land resources.
The Foundation advocates for access to, and preservation of, natural resources so that those resources may be utilized in pursuit of an active and outdoor lifestyle. To accomplish this mission, the Foundation will build and enable public-private partnerships that celebrate, preserve, and fund activities that showcases sustainable recreational utilization of natural resources.
Additional announcements and details may be found at:
Inaugural Board of Directors
President, Charles L. Thornton
Vice President for Events, Geoff Calhoun
Vice President for Outreach, Jason Beakes
Secretary, Lauren Bixby
Treasurer, Thomas Calhoun