Building community through encouraging diversity and inclusion on the water is the foundation of Cali Collective. What started in 2015, as a way to encourage more female participation in kayaking, Cali Collective has grown into a successful and sustainable paddlesports school. We are excited to continue our core mission by working with underrepresented demographics to bring the gift of the outdoors to those who experience financial, geographic and other barriers to enjoying our natural resources.
Currently through this Project, we work with American Whitewater, Diversify Whitewater, Rios to Rivers, Ara Bolivia, Fresno Building Healthy Communities and other groups to bring Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and women, as well as at-risk youth out on the river to teach water safety, communication and leadership skills – all while having fun in the outdoors.
This October 2022, CWC Founder, Melissa DeMarie, traveled to Bolivia to work with Hayley Stuart and local advocacy organizations to work with indigenous communities in the fight against water contamination, deforestation due to destructive forms of gold mining, as well as the Chepete-Bala mega dam proposal on the Beni River where more than 5,000 Indigenous people would be impacted by flooding from the construction of the two dams. Watch the trailer for this documentary, Guardians of the River and Life here.
In July 2023, we worked with the tribal youth with ongoing kayak instruction for the Paddle Tribal Waters program. Indigenous youth in Northern California have recently completed an intensive whitewater kayak training to prepare to lead the first descent of the Klamath River following the much-anticipated removal of dams. This is the largest dam removal project in the world right now freeing the Klamath and returning it to being a free flowing river. CWC is proud to be a part of this paddlesports program.
“Tribal people from the Klamath’s headwaters to the coast have fought so hard for dam removal because it is the single biggest action we can take to restore the river for our youth and the generations to come,” Yurok Tribe Chairman Joseph L. James said. “I can’t wait to see these kids paddle down the free-flowing river.”
In summer 2023, Cali Collective collaborated with Diversify Whitewater in Northern California to provide access to the less represented demographics in paddlesports through a kayaking and packrafting trip on the Trinity River. Diversify Whitewater is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in paddlesports by removing the barriers that may exist for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and allies in kayaking, canoeing, rafting, and stand-up paddleboarding.
We are excited to announce that with the help of the Great Falls Foundation, we plan to turn our Outreach Project into its own freestanding Non-Profit organization. This will allow us to apply for more funding to bring our programs to those who are most in need. In the meantime, Great Falls Foundation can accept tax-deductible donations which will go directly to our Outreach Project.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
From working with indigenous communities at home in California and internationally to helping at-risk youth develop leadership and water safety skills to the CWC scholarship fund, our goal is provide accessibility to outdoor recreation and to encourage our next line of environmental stewards.
In 2023, we are excited to continue our work collaborating with organizations like American Whitewater, Paddle Tribal Waters, Fresno Building Healthy Communities, Rios to Rivers and Diversify Whitewater to create even more accessibility to the magic of being in nature and the healing power of water.
With operating costs, transportation and travel, food and accomodation, equipment and instruction, we are currently accepting donations to help support these programs. With your help, we can continue to expand our programming.
Option #1 — When you sign up for our clinics and trips, there is a dropdown during the registration process which asks, “Would you like to donate to our Outreach Project?” You have the option to donate between $10 and $100, which goes directly to the Outreach Project.
Option #2 — Great Falls Foundation is currently accepting tax deductible donations on behalf of the Cali Collective Outreach Project. The Great Falls Foundation is a 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.
You can make your tax-deductible donation to our Outreach Project via GFF by check or PayPal:
Check: Great Falls Foundation, PO Box 59102, Potomac, MD 20859 -or- PayPal: paypal.me/greatfallsfoundation
Please be sure to mark in the memo “Cali Collective Outreach Project” then take a screenshot of your Paypal or photo of your check and email it to [email protected], so we can add your donation to our records.
For your tax records, Great Falls Foundation IRS EIN: 81-0705156
If you would like more information on how we can bring our programs to your organization, please email us at [email protected].