Blue Sky Fund
P.O. Box 8108
Richmond VA 23223
Mission Statement To provide transformational experiences for urban youth through outdoor education.
Web and Social Media
Video
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mr. David Kunnen
Board Chair Mr. Matt Perry
Board Chair Company Affiliation Riverside Outfitters
Contact Information
Address P.O. Box 8108
Richmond, VA 23223
Telephone 804 410-4273
E-mail info@blueskyfund.org
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2007
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
 
 
Projected Revenue $707,000.00
Projected Expenses $707,000.00
Additional Documents
Annual Report2016View
Annual Report2014View
Annual Report2013View
Annual Report2012View
Statements
Mission To provide transformational experiences for urban youth through outdoor education.
Impact

Blue Sky Fund, now in its ninth year, continues to grow in size, impact, and strong governance. Three years ago, Blue Sky’s leadership team signed off on an exciting and ambitious strategic plan. The goals included “going deeper blue” with the participants and “climbing higher” by scaling-up the organization to provide more (and more excellent) programs through a strategic focus in Richmond’s East End. These targets were dependent, however, on the goal to strengthen the organizational foundation and secure financial health by diversifying funding sources. 2014 was a capstone year for the strategic plan with full implementation of the 5th grade expansion of Explorers and the development and full capacity execution of our Outdoor Adventure programs. Blue Sky’s strategies, values, and guiding direction remain consistent with the former plan.

During this next strategic window, Blue Sky is committed to deepening its roots in Richmond’s East End; to strengthening its capacity to work with kids from elementary through high school; and to building a generation of young people whose “Deep Blue” experiences with Blue Sky are personal, transformational, and real.  Our three strategic actions will be 1. Expand program integration from elementary school through high school in Richmond's East End (adding K-2nd and 4th grade to our field trip program, piloting a trail running team, and growing the number of kids who participate in our leadership program). 2. Establish clear characteristics of a "Deep Blue" kid, and build programs around the needs of our community. 3. Strengthen our organizational capacity, focusing primarily on staff development, sustainable fund development capacity, and succession planning. 

Needs Individual contributions give us the most flexibility and stability of any funding source.

Sponsor and Support levels
  • $8,000 - Sponsorship of one school's participation in Explorers
  • $1,500 - Sponsorship of one Outdoor Adventure Club's semester 
  • $800 - Program fees per student in Outdoor Leadership Institute for one year
  • $200 - Program fees per student in Explorers for 1 year
  • $150 - One day expedition (i.e. fishing, hiking, swimming)
  • $45 - Equipment 
 
Current Blue Sky Fund Needs
Marketing expertise to consult on projects
Land access for events
Affordable videography
Affordable graphic design 
Background Our founder, Fritz Knapp, began sending kids to summer camp out of a personal passion to connect City of Richmond students with the summer camp experience.  Inspired by his late father, a man committed to mentoring and serving at-risk youth, and with admiration for the Fresh Air Fund based in New York, Knapp looked for many ways to get youth into the outdoors. In 2003, Knapp helped 3 students experience summer camp.  Knapp quickly found support for his model and managed to send 16 kids in 2004, 54 kids in 2005, and then partnered with Richmond Hill to send 96 City of Richmond children to five different summer camps in the summer of 2006. Dreams for our city's youth grew throughout 2006 and Blue Sky Fund began to take shape.  We soon took steps to include more in-house programming throughout the school year in addition to funding camp tuitions.  In 2007, we chose to focus on our organizational structure and sustainability as an organization.  We incorporated as a non-stock (non-profit) organization under Virginia law, applied for tax exemption, began to pay staff and formed our board of directors.  In October of 2007, Knapp moved out of day-to-day operations, leaving the executive leadership to Lawson Wijesooriya.

 

Today
 
Today, Blue Sky Fund provides year-round opportunities for children to learn through outdoor adventures. Our participants are building teamwork on the ropes course, testing their expertise with a fishing rod and pushing their physical and emotional strength by backpacking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Our year round programming includes unity projects such as the Outdoor Leadership Institute, science environmental education programs, weekly adventure programs in disadvantaged neighborhoods and many outdoor expeditions such as fishing, rock climbing, and hiking. 
CEO Statement
Executive Director's letter from 2015's Annual Report:
Dear Blue Sky Friends, 

I have now been on my Blue Sky journey for almost 10 years!  In the summer of 2006, I spent several weeks crafting vision, goals, and dreams for how I thought outdoor education could impact the lives of young people in my neighborhood.  I wanted students to access hands on learning through field trips, street kids to get away into the woods to discover more about themselves, and teens to learn leadership and build bridges across divides through wilderness experiences.  And I wrote down that the evidence of this all “working” would be when the kids themselves run the programs.

As we report to you on 2015, we want to introduce you to some kids (and programs) in various stages of their Blue Sky journey. We consider the students who stick with us along the Blue Sky trail of programs as the greatest highlights of our year. You will meet Quianday, who elected to participate in our Outdoor Adventure Club in 6th grade after having the outdoor world opened to her first as a 5th grade student in our Explorers environmental field trip program. You will meet Alyssa, who started her journey with us in 8th grade in an Outdoor Adventure Club and then was nominated, applied, and participated as a young leader in our Outdoor Leadership Institute during high school. Lastly you will meet Jon, a high school junior, who paddled over 60 miles in a canoe on our alumni wilderness trip and then trained to return as summer staff to lead the next generation of outdoor leaders.

I am beginning to see the kids themselves running our programs! We are excited to report to you on our outcomes, goals, and finances, but we know the trail is long and that we have not arrived at a destination of meeting all the needs we see or empowering all the students to take over our jobs. We still have a long journey ahead, and we hope that you will find a way to continue to journey with us as a participant, volunteer, donor, staff, or mentor. In 2015, we caught a glimpse of our students growing up with us, and we want more and more stories of young people growing into servant leaders who can shape our communities, care for the environment, and bring other youth along with them.

What’s your next step in your Blue Sky journey?

Lawson
Board Chair Statement
Board President's letter from 2015's Annual Report:

At the beginning of 2015, we set out to develop a strategic plan for Blue Sky Fund that would take us to the “next level.”  We also established an ambitious fundraising target to support our programs.  Well, not only did we identify our strategic goals and begin to implement our “Version 2.0” strategic plan, but we also impacted hundreds of kids through our programs thanks to our unprecedented fundraising success.

And now the journey continues.

Our plan for 2016 is to continue to work on expanding our programs in order to reach more of Richmond’s youth and to deepen our relationship with the students that we have the opportunity to reach.

Our hope is that the kids we meet and serve in elementary school will continue their Blue Sky journey with us by participating in an Outdoor Adventure Club offered at their middle school. And we hope that we will inspire many of these boys and girls to take on new challenges in high school through out Outdoor Leadership Institute. Finally, some of those same students will blaze their own Blue Sky journey by graduating from OLI, applying to be a junior counselor, and joining our staff.

We have established challenging goals for Blue Sky Fund. But we know that with the continued strong financial support and the efforts of our loyal volunteers, we can continue to achieve those goals and provide outdoor learning opportunities for our Richmond youth that allow them to blaze new trails that they never thought were possible. We hope you will continue to help us preserve and grow our programs so that our Outdoor Adventure Clubs and Outdoor Leadership Institute can one day be an option for every 3rd grader we taught this year.

On behalf of the Board of the Blue Sky Fund, THANK YOU to our generous donors, our tireless staff, and our dedicated volunteers for the tremendous success that we achieved in 2015!

Sincerely,

Connell Mullins
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Area
Richmond, City
Richmond, Virginia and the surrounding localities.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Matt Perry
Company Affiliation Riverside Outfitters
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2018
Email mattperry58@gmail.com
Board of Directors
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Mr. David Blanchard Benefinder
Mr. Bernly Bressler Environmental Resource Management
Mrs. Sheri Crowell Community Volunteer
Mr. Rick DeJarnette CapTech Consulting
Mrs. Debbie Edwards CarMax
Mrs. Emily Gottwald Community Volunteer
Mr. Brad Nott SVP Xenith Bank
Mr. Matthew Perry President/Co-Owner, Riverside Outfitters, Inc.
Mrs. Kelly Tattersall Community Volunteer
Mrs. Tiffany Hall Terry Caritas
Mr. Andy Thompson CEO Richmond Outside
Mr. Ty Toepke Consultant The Frontier Project
Mr. Charles Valentine Partner, Eastlight Renewable Ventures
Mrs. Logan Vetrovec VCU
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 9
Female 6
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 67
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Finance
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. David Kunnen
Experience
David Kunnen joined Blue Sky Fund as Executive Director in September 2016. He previously served as Senior Director for Finance & Operations for the American Heart Association. His distinguished career also includes ten years with the YMCA in various roles, including executive Director of the Downtown YMCA. David received his masters degree in accounting from Virginia Tech. He treasure the outdoor resources we are lucky to have in Richmond, and is committed to helping youth from the East End and volunteers at Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School in his free time. David is looking forward to continuing the positive impact Blue Sky is making on our community’s youth and leading the organization’s staff and volunteers through the next stages of its growth.
Staff
Full Time Staff 8
Part Time Staff 22
Volunteers 250
Retention Rate 80
Plans
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted June 2015
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Collaborations
Blue Sky Fund collaborates with several other organizations to meet the needs of the urban poor.  Our participant partners include Church Hill Activities and Tutoring, Church Hill Academy, Boys and Girls Club Metro Richmond and Salvation Army, Anna Julia Copper Episcopal School, and Richmond City Public Schools (Armstrong High School, Henderson Middle School, Franklin Military Academy, George Mason, Fairfield Court, Chimborazo, Bellevue, Woodville, Miles-Jones, Blackwell, and Oak Grove Elementary Schools).
Awards
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
ED received Top 40 Under 40Style Weekly2010
Programs
Description The Explorers will enjoy the opportunity to learn about nature from being in nature. This courageous group of third and fifth grade students from Richmond City Public Elementary Schools, along with their teachers and community volunteers, will travel outside their urban environments to the open spaces of the James River Park System, Shalom Farms, and Bryan Park Nature Center, in order to discover more about themselves and their surroundings. The Explorers curriculum includes hands-on science SOL instruction, time for recreation, and a focus on respect for one another and the environment. This program meets monthly with each partner school throughout the school year on a school day of their choice, coordinated by a large collaboration of individuals and organizations dedicated to the education of our city's young people. This program has grown to serve over 1,600 students in 8 partner schools every month.
Budget $252,000.00
Short Term Success We have an average of a 18% increase in correct answers on pre and post program tests, leading to an expected increase in correct answers on the VA SOL's. 100% of teachers identify value from the programs enhancement of their classroom teaching and teacher-students interactions. 90%  improved student classroom behavior and social skills as reported by teachers.
Long Term Success This program is designed specifically around the Virginia Standards of Learning, a standardized test required for school accreditation and student graduation, that begins in the  3rd grade. Our goal is to equip these students with knowledge of their surroundings as well as the information on the test so that they may be successful in passing these tests through experience and not just memorization. Additionally, a goal of this program is to impact youth when they are young to begin cultivating a love for the outdoors.
Description

Blue Sky Fund will lead crews of 12 high school students (separate boys’ and girls’ programs) from diverse backgrounds to come together to build teamwork,confidence,leadership, and community involvement. The summer institute centers on a five day backpacking trip, during which crew members learn, through challenges, how to strengthen their leadership and teamwork skills.  The program design includes experiences that will help shape knowledgeable multicultural leaders who learn about the social needs of Richmond through service learning. After completion of the summer institute, crew members will continue to meet monthly to apply their new skills by engaging in meaningful community service together.

Budget $26,800.00
Description Outdoor Adventure Club is a program developed around the idea that enjoying the outdoors is not simply an event, but part of a lifestyle choice. Therefore, students in each club are exposed to a number of wilderness skill that they are able to put to use on a trip into the Virginia wilderness. We mostly run this program on a school club model where we will teach skills in various adventure sports such as rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, and biking, and then the students will plan an expedition to culminate each semester.
Budget $20,000.00
Short Term Success

90% of participants report increased confidence in participating in outdoor activities and increasing the amount of time spent outside. This is inline with our main goal as an organization to provide transformation experiences for urban youth in the great outdoors.

Long Term Success The purpose of the Adventure program is to give urban children experience with hands-on instruction, focusing on nature and the opportunity for outdoor exploration in a safe and nurturing environment.Our goal is also to teach a hands-on, experiential model of adventure education that will relate directly to the National Standards for Physical Education whilst developing core values and build character in students that relate to both classroom behaviors and life social skills – specifically in preparation for outdoor adventure (e.g hiking, rock climbing, biking, etc.)
CEO/ED/Board Comments
We also lead various summer day camp activities for local camps, host an annual sports clinic event for 300 people, support the Dominion River Rock event, take varied expeditions to private land and public trails, and host fishing clinics.
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $707,000.00
Projected Expenses $707,000.00
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
------
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified------
Individual Contributions$511,072$413,939$333,763
------
$19,466$26,001$5,905
Investment Income, Net of Losses------
Membership Dues------
Special Events$34,169$41,873$35,505
Revenue In-Kind$7,921$13,217$7,250
Other$5,892$18,119$16,939
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$342,108$266,887$230,040
Administration Expense$82,229$90,492$88,666
Fundraising Expense$71,329$40,919$36,677
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.171.291.12
Program Expense/Total Expenses69%67%65%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue13%9%10%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$398,910$313,617$198,767
Current Assets$350,747$278,432$189,798
Long-Term Liabilities$0----
Current Liabilities$2,438----
Total Net Assets$396,472$313,617$198,767
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities143.87----
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 5/2016View
Comments
Foundation Comments
  • Financial information provided from Form 990.
  • Form 990 and financial review prepared by Wells, Coleman & Company, LLP.