Support Us


Campaign for the Gulch

In order to continue to fill the gap and inspire future generations to be stewards of the places we all have come to love, we are embarking on a campaign that will update our infrastructure, expand our capacity to accommodate our nine month trek season, and ensure a future of diversity through a scholarship fund.The bottom line is that to achieve these goals, we need to raise $3 million dollars. The good news is that we have raised a portion of this goal and we also have a generous match from an anonymous family foundation of $300K, but we need your help to meet this match and to meet our overall financial goal. Together, we can launch this inspirational organization into the next 90 years of programs that impact the hearts and minds of young people! Click here for a more detailed vision of our campaign.

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Your Donations Matter

Cottonwood Gulch has an incredibly strong network of alumni, parents, staff, and others interested in our mission.  As a non-profit organization, we rely on donations from these supporters in order to maintain affordable, high-quality educational programs.  If you have already made donations to the Gulch, we cannot thank you enough.  If this is your first time making a donation, we can assure you that it will go to a worthy cause. In addition to cash gifts, we are happy to accept stocks, bequests, and in-kind services. All donations are tax-deductible. Click the donation button to use a credit card or save us a 2% fee by sending us a check or e-check.

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Scholarship Fund

Can you help a young person go on a Trek?

Donations large or small can make the difference and change the lives of young people across the country. Whether for a local New Mexican Native American youth, an inner-city young person from Houston or a rural New England kid, the need is great and you can help! Sponsor a trekker this summer and give the gift of being unplugged for a summer and tuning in to the nature rhythms of the wild places throughout the Southwest.

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Your Gift Counts!

  • If 23 people give $100, an Outfitter can experience the outdoors up close and personal for 2 weeks and fall in love with the sounds of nature.
  • If TEN people give $430, a 15 yr. old boy can stand at the top of the 13 ft mountain and have the realization that he wants to become a wildlife biologist.
  • If ONE alumni gives $5000, a trekker can spend 6 incredible and life-changing weeks in the wild places of the southwest and forever be an advocate for conservation.
  • If 100 Millennial generation alumni from 2005- 2015 give $29, they will be responsible for ensuring that the next generation will have also have a chance to experience the beauty that is waking to sunrise splashed across the red rock mesa or lightning illuminating the ridgeline of a tall rocky mountain or to see the intricacy of the skin of a horned lizard held in the palm.
  • We need you to share the trek with the next generation!
  • Any size donation helps get another trekker to the Southwest. Give what you can and grow a trekker story that will have an impact for years to come!

What is your story?


icon“Over the summer I was catapulted across the United States to the “middle of nowhere,” my new favorite place. Yet, it would not have been possible without the scholarship I was granted. Without it, I would have stayed in the city, completely oblivious to what I was missing. You don’t understand the Southwest until you go there, and walk through its enigmas and adventure through the night, guided by the moon. Every single day was breathtaking, and the entire experience has completely reshaped who I understand myself to be… I had never gone to a summer program prior to Cottonwood Gulch because of the expense, yet because of the scholarship I received, I had, by far, the most amazing summer of my life.

–Lily, Mountain Desert Trek





Give a scholarship for a trekker to come to the Gulch this summer! Each year we have more potential trekkers apply for financial assistance than we have dollars to award. Your financial contributions to send as many kids on a trek as we can. Last year we awarded 25 partial or full scholarships totaling $51K. Help us get that number to $60K in next year.


Give a gift to lend a hand in forest management, erosion control and land management at our base camp property.  We purchased our 540 acre nature preserve in 1934 when it was badly in need of restoration, and to this day we work hard to keep it thriving ecologically and lower the risk of a forest fire. Last year we spent more than $19K to improve our forest’s health and steward our land for future generations to enjoy.


The Gulch is all about the stories…trek stories from times spent at the Gulch, and life stories of how you came to be who you are, as a result of your trek. As we talk to alumni and current trekkers, we come to know about how important the Gulch was in growing professional passions, personal inspiration, environmental/scientific knowledge and ultimately, one’s self.




Each year we spend upwards of $80,000 of your donations to support the overall mission of Cottonwood Gulch.  These are some of the ways your contributions are spent:

  • Thousands of dollars in donations help us to provide dozens of scholarships and keep our tuition low so that young trekkers who want to experience the Gulch can do so.  Donations like yours make this possible.
  • Our Base Camp recently turned 80 years old (since we purchased it, that is) and we love our old buildings and their stories. Each year we work to repair and preserve them. Some examples of these efforts include new roofs, kitchen equipment updates, wood preservation, and road improvements.
  • Our vehicles get quite a work-out on those beloved, rugged New Mexico roads. Your donations help maintain our vehicle fleet! In the past, generous alumni have made in-kind donations of gently used vehicles to help improve our fleet.
  • Visiting scholars are an important part of our history and current programming. Your gift allows us to continue to support this valuable project.
  • With donations from alumni and parents, we recently added a 20 tree, high elevation fruit orchard to our farm project.
  • A number of our composting latrines were gifts from generous good-humored friends of the Gulch.

Our Endowment

Do you want a way to make your dollars work now and for future years? Our endowment gives an avenue to do this. In recent years, over 30K of interest from our endowment has supported scholarships, land initiatives, capital improvements and other projects.

In-kind donations

We have a strong community of builders, woodworkers, plumbers, metal smiths, IT professionals, and professors who are eager to promote our mission.  If you can’t make a financial commitment, consider donating your time and skills.