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Wilderness Inquiry

The mission of Wilderness Inquiry is to connect people from all walks of life to the natural world through shared outdoor education and adventure programs. Using outdoor adventure as a medium, WI programs inspire personal growth, enhanced awareness of the environment, and community integration on a scalable basis, making a measurable impact on the environment and society.

Mission Statement
Review Completed: 6/24/2013
808 14th AVE SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: 612.676.9400
Fax: 612.676.9401
EIN 93-0708637
Principal Staff Greg Lais, Executive Director
Number of Volunteers 400
Number of Clients Served 16,345
Affiliations Wilderness Inquiry works with many partner organizations regionally, nationally and around the world. Please see our website to learn more about our partnerships:
General Information
Board Chair Tom Nelson
Number of Board Members 17
Board meetings with quorum 4
Average Member Attendance at Board Meetings 9.25
Publicly Available Documents Most Recent 990
Most Recent Audit
In 2012, WI provided integrated programming that served 16,345 people on 334 inclusive outdoor events. WI served a diverse range of people: 45% of participants identified themselves as a person of color, 25% of those participating on multi-day trips have a disability, and over 50% of WI participants are economically disadvantaged. In general, formal evaluation of our programs show that a majority of participants experience positive changes in major life areas such as: 83% of all participants indicated that their WI experience helped them gain a new appreciation for the strengths of others; 69% of participants with disabilities indicated that their WI experience helped them gain more confidence; and 63% of participants with disabilities indicated that their WI experience made them more likely to take on new challenges in their life such as education or a new job. A 2012 study by the University of Minnesota of WI's Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program shows improved academic learning and interest in science in low-income and underperforming students.
Current Goals
WI's goals for 2013 include: • Serve 16,620 people through 340 inclusive outdoor events • Serve more than 10,000 urban youth and families through the UWCA program • Maintain a diverse mix of participants, including new immigrants, urban youth, low-income families, and people with cognitive and physical disabilities. Additional goals for 2013 include: • Facilitate Increased Community Integration - WI programs affect positive, long-term changes in the attitudes of people who participate. In short, they accomplish what much of civil rights legislation attempts by building lasting understanding, respect, and compassion toward people with physical differences. • Provide Opportunities for Improved Health - Outdoor activities have physical and mental health benefits, including: enhanced confidence, physical development and coordination, emotional adjustment, and the acquisition of social interaction skills. Providing convenient, low or no-cost, high quality outdoor events, WI encourages a more active and healthy lifestyle. • Encourage Youth to be Active Stewards of the Environment - WI outdoor experiences instill understanding and respect for the environment. WI effectively reaches people with disabilities, the economically disadvantaged, youth and others who are critical in helping to preserve and protect vulnerable natural resources. • Improve Academic Achievement for Students - Outdoor educational experiences can help youth succeed academically and socially. More educators are embracing this innovative program design as a way to close the achievement gap. • Promote Stronger Family Connections - When families participate in outdoor adventures, they have the opportunity to rebuild relationships, improve communication, and find common ground that strengthens family connections.
Community or Constituency Served
Annually WI serves more than 16,000 people through over 300 events. Our trips are designed to be engaging for everyone from novices to seasoned outdoor veterans, from urban youth to families to people with disabilities.
Geographic Area Served
United States and international destinations
Impact and Programs

3 Year Average Expenses

Program Services: $1,986,197 90.6%
Management: $85,015 3.9%
Fundraising: $122,064 5.6%

Unrestricted Net Assets

2012 2011 2010
End of Year: $1,863,247 $1,590,178 $1,447,593
Beginning of Year $1,590,178 $1,447,593 $1,165,603
Difference $273,069 $142,585 $281,990
Unrestricted Net Assets (End of Year), Current 990 $1,863,247
Based on information provided on 2010 to 2012
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List of Standards Met