Amazingly, in its founding year, the Squaw Valley-based Shane McConkey Foundation proudly donated $30,000 to causes that support environmental education. SMF was created to honor the life of pro skier Shane McConkey who was known for his larger than life persona affected everyone around him.
In March 2011, the Foundation hosted its first annual fundraiser; the Pain McShlonkey Classic. With support from sponsors like Red Bull, Squaw Valley, Oakley, K2 and countless other donors including the Lake Tahoe and greater winter sports communities the event was wildly successful.
“It’s been completely overwhelming and inspiring to be embraced by so much love and support from around the world,” says SMF Founder, Sherry McConkey. “I started the Foundation as a means to channel this amazing wave of passion and love that people share for Shane into causes that he cared about.”
As a result, SMF selected two groups to benefit from this year’s Pain McShlonkey Classic with $20K going to Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (http://www.ttusd.org) and $10K going to Protect Our Winters (POW) (http://protectourwinters.org).
For TTUSD, the donation will serve as a means to implement sustainable strategies and practices within the school district. “This is an incredible opportunity to partner with an amazing foundation,” explains Anna Klovstad. “TTUSD is honored to be the recipient of this donation. It will allow us to do things that we otherwise would not have funding to accomplish.”
TTUSD has enlisted Canopy Strategies, a local sustainable business development firm, to determine how the donation will best serve the District. The initial proposal includes environmentally friendly lunch trays, monitors for conservation observation, creation of an alliance with Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP), and the creation of “Green Teams” at each school site.
“Shane had a huge impact on kids,” says Sherry McConkey. “The Shane McConkey Foundation hopes to motivate change by teaching youth the value of environmental stewardship at a young age.” SMF also hopes this partnership will inspire educators to adopt environmental leadership as part of regular school curriculum.
SMF also awarded Protect Our Winters $10K in support of environmental education initiatives. POW is an environmentally focused organization intent on uniting the winter sports community towards a common goal of reducing climate change’s effects on our winter playgrounds and local mountain communities.
“The Shane McConkey Foundation is very close to our hearts and we’re truly honored to receive this grant in their inaugural year,” says pro snowboarder and POW Founder, Jeremy Jones. “Because empowering children was so important to Shane, the funds will be put toward our climate education program, ‘Hot Planet/Cool Athletes.’”
In partnership with Alliance For Climate Education (ACE), POW ‘s “Hot Planet/Cool Athletes” program targets schools in mountain communities, leveraging the power of a pro athlete to inspire the younger generation to become environmental leaders.
“Because of our common goals, this alliance with POW and TTUSD is a natural fit,” says Sherry McConkey. “We are really proud to support these groups. Together, I hope we can inspire a better world.”
The Shane McConkey Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations can be made online at www.shanemcconkey.org.