Help us meet our goal of raising $50,000

Saturday, February 24, 2007

We're Making Progress

Well, we've made more progress lately now that Heidi is back from her many trips. Unfortunately she leaves in a few days for Jordon, and will be gone for five weeks. However, we nailed down some plans, including:

1. Heidi will likely be the head/chief of the board of directors, and I will be the executive director for the organization and will not serve on the board.
2. For the timebeing (or possibly for the longterm) we will be working with The Mountain Fund. We now have nonprofit status through them.
3. Elizabeth O'Neill will be assisting with grant writing and may also be on the board of directors.
4. Justin Voorhees continues to be a great asset and is opening our nonprofit bank account sometime in the next few days. He's also taking care of all fiscal/budget stuff and has been working with The Mountain Fund to make our relationship official.

We are currently looking for more board members. If you are interested, please contact me at

Also, the donations are coming in. We've just put a press release on, and since then have received 5 additional donations. Thanks!

Another Thank You

Wow, as the days progress, I find myself thanking more and more people for helping out in various ways. This thank you slipped through the cracks. Three of the photos we used on the official website were donated by David Lacure. The photos were taken in Mexico, October 2004, as part of a week-long mission trip.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Oops, I was just notified that I haven't put a link to on the site yet. I'll work on that today. In the meantime, just click on anywhere that it appears on the blog. :)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Thank You Montbell, Trango, Petzl, CAMP, Statik, etc...

Thank you to all the wonderful folks who made this event and this nonprofit possible!!! Without the longterm support of a number of businesses in the industry, I would not have been able to go on expeditions around the world. Without the experiences I had on these expeditions, I would not have founded Girls Education International.

First I want to thank my longterm friends and sponsors:
Scott Guenther and all the great folks at Montbell America, for providing me both with all the equipment I needed for my recent trip to Pakistan, and also for donating the fantastic Super Stretch Down Hugger Sleeping bag for the raffle (click here for more details on how to win the bag!).

Thanks also to Malcolm Daly and Great Trango Holdings for supplying me with the cams, light biners, harness, and all the other soft and hard goods I needed to climb big walls in Pakistan and around the Front Range. Mal, you rock!

Thanks very much to the Petzl, especially John and Chuck (the hottest grandpa I've ever met). These fellows are incredibly supportive of women in climbing, and regularly purchased ads for She Sends when I ran that magazine, and they also gave me some key items that I needed for my trip to Pakistan this past summer.

Thanks very much also to Jesse at CAMP for doing the Lumpy link-up with me before I left and for providing me with ice axes and plenty of super rad, light biners.

Thanks also to Statik Mountain Products for getting me some cool clothes to kick back in.

Thanks to Heidi's sponsors as well:
The North Face
The folks at Black Diamond (who have been great supporters of women climbers through their efforts with the HERA Foundation and also with She Sends).
Clif Bar
Wigwam Socks
Jetboil Stoves

Thanks, Kelly Cordes, for packing the house.

This is Kelly Cordes on the summit of Denali. Thanks very much, Mr. Disaster Style, for doing the slide show for GEI. You were the primary reason we had a packed house! You rock.

Coming Soon and things we still need...

Heidi and I are now beginning to organize the actual distribution of the funds that we earned at the first GEI fundraiser. Fabrizio Zangrelli, a longtime climber and all-around awesome human being, is going to implement some of the GEI plans in Pakistan this next summer. We are applying for the Zach Martin Breaking Barriers grant with the idea that Fabrizio will be able to stay in the Village Khane for a few weeks to buy and transport supplies to the village, with our local contact over there, Ghulam Abbas, and also to document anything that gets done over there.

We are also working on creating a newsletter and a series of press releases about GEI. We now have a few more volunteers on board helping out. Elizabeth O'Neill will be helping out with grant writing and the structuring of the nonprofit; Nicole Gordon will be doing some media work, including writing the newsletter and some press releases; Justin Voorhees is spearheading the fiscal/budget part of the whole nonprofit (thank gawd, since that is not my forte); Roxann Brock will be maintaining the website; and Heidi's considering being the head of the board of directors.

We are still in need of some additional board members, and we are looking for some other people to help out with the nitty gritty work of GEI as well, including another media person to help promote GEI, another grant writer, and some folks to help out with organizing fundraisers and other events. As things progress we will probably need additional volunteers. I'll post our needs as they arise.

Thanks also to all the people/businesses who donated products for the event:

The Estes Park Mountain Shop, Rob the owner, & all the EPMS employees for providing the venue for the event and the $25 gift certificate to the shop, and the three-month membership to the gym. Thanks also to Zach for organizing a good part of the event.
The Estes Park Brewery for providing us with the keg and a half of beer that was consumed!
GlassWorks, Estes, for the handblown pitcher (that I was just dying to have!)
The Wild Basin Lodge, Allenspark, for the $200 gift certificate
Statik Mountain Products for the two $50 gift certificates
The Spot Gym, Boulder, for the five-card punch pass
Chris Wall, Boulder, for the two training sessions
Seth Watson, Boulder, for the massage
Rambo’s Liquor Store, Estes, for the nice bottle of wine
The Stone Cup Coffee Shop, Lyons, for the three gift certificates
Tom at Longs Peak Coffee and Paper Shop, Estes, for the posters of Longs Peak and other things
Jane & Polartec, Estes, for all the great fleece jackets and vests
Komito Boots, Estes, for the Longs Peak poster
Rock & Ice magazine for the two subscriptions
Prana for the wonderful items of clothing
Patagonia for the cool fleece
Katy’s Hand Jam for the numerous containers of awsome hand salve
Pangea Organics for the wonderful, organic soap products

Thanks Frank James for the fine music!

I'd like to thank Frank James, the wonderful musician who entertained the audience at the GEI fundraiser. Frank, you were fabulous!

Frank's Bio:
“When somebody’s doing it just right, a 12 string sounds like two guitars, a bass, three mandolins, a hammered dulcimer and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir," says Frank James, ragtime and jazz guitarist. "Considering I’ve been working on it for a little over 4- years, I feel like I’m starting to get close.” Frank plays Leadbelly and Blind Willie McTell masterpieces, exciting instrumentals, and a load of old and new blues, rags, and ballads. “Basically I’ll do anything I think is great. I don’t care if it’s a cowboy song from the 1890’s or a Tom Waits song from the 1980’s. As long as it speaks to me, I assume other people will hear it too.” Since the late 1960s, Frank has played every sort of venue from coffee houses to concert stages to rock ‘n roll bars.

Chatting with volunteers and visitors.

The Raffle

Mary Marmorstone and Ryan Rickard host the raffle. We had planned to do a live auction and raffle, thinking that the live auction would bring in more money. During my brief presentation on Girls Education International, I announced that we had already made close to $900, and that if we could just clear $1,000 we'd raffle everything off. During the beer break, folks dropped $10s and $20s in the jug, bringing the total up to $1,100.

More Photos

Spruce, me, and Douglas Snively (local legend) waiting for Kelly's show.

Photos from the Fund Raiser

It was so packed people were hanging over the climbing wall. I'm so pleased that folks were so excited. Kelly's show was dynamic and funny, as well as inspiring.

Monday, February 12, 2007

We made $1,100 at our first event!!!

We made $1,100 at last night's event. It went very smoothly. Kelly's show was fantastic, engaging, and funny; Frank James played an hour and 15 minute set that was clearly enjoyed by all; and the Estes Park Brewery supplied us with a keg and a half (and, yes, it was all gone by the end of the night). It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I'll write a bit more about it in the next few days, including big phat thank yous to all the sponsors, volunteers, and performers.

This week Heidi and I will meet with some other folks who have just joined the effort. We are planning to discuss what to do with the first batch of $ (possibly paying for the first qualified teacher for the Khane Girls' school!).

I'll keep everyone posted. Thanks again for all the online donations and the support!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

PayPal IS UP!

PayPal is up! Check it out, and donate!!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Paypal button not up yet

A number of folks have notified me that the Paypal link on the website is not up yet. It should be up later today or tomorrow, Inshallah. To all those people who already donated. Thanks!
I look forward to seeing you all at the event on Sunday!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Website is Up!

The website is finally up. The URL is There are a few typos and a few things that need to be tweaked and added. However, it's looking really great. Thanks so much to Calvin Madison and Craig Wilson, two Longmont residents, for getting the site up and running!

And thanks to all the great folks who donated photos for use on the site (some of which aren't up yet), including Christine Blackmon and Dougald MacDonald, Johnny Copp, and Chris Van Leuven. Thanks also to Matt Samet for editing the content.

Also thanks to all the generous people and businesses who are sponsoring the event. The names of the companies are listed in the press release.

Press Release for Cordes Slide Show

Estes Park, CO. Nonprofit Girls Education International to hold first fund raising event with slide show by alpinist Kelly Cordes at the Estes Park Mountain Shop, Sunday, February 11, 2007. Free beer flows at 6p.m.; the events start at 7-9p.m. Arrive early; capacity limited. Proceeds to benefit Khane Village Girls’ School in Pakistan.

Estes Park local Kelly Cordes has established major new alpine routes around the world, always in lightweight style and ranging from ice and mixed lines in the Alaska Range and Peru’s Cordillera Blanca to one of the biggest rock climbs in history, on Great Trango Tower in Pakistan’s Karakoram Mountains. This summer, he had an “excellent failure” on Shingu Charpa, in Pakistan, climbing 45 pitches only to come up short of the summit. In early January, on his first trip to Patagonia, he made a bold new link-up on Cerro Torre, one of the world's most difficult technical peaks.

“Kelly’s one of America’s premier alpinists,” says GEI founder Lizzy Scully. “It’s very exciting that he’s agreed to promote GEI’s first major event. I expect standing room only.”

“I think organizations such as these are really important, and I feel strongly about this particular event because of the powerful experiences I've had in Pakistan,” Cordes added. “By doing this presentation, I feel like I can actually give back to the local communities that have been so warm and open to me during my visits there.”

In addition to Cordes’ show, there will be a short slide presentation on the founding of GEI and its projects; stand-up comic Ryan Rickard will announce the bids for a live auction during intermission and a raffle at the end of the event; and Frank James will play the blues throughout. This two-hour event is free, although there is a suggested a $5 donation/raffle ticket purchase that will support Girls Education International. The first 200 people to donate to GEI at the event and online at will be entered into a raffle to win a $300 Montbell Super Stretch Down sleeping bag.

Products to be auctioned or raffled off have been donated by outdoor companies such as Patagonia, Great Trango Holdings, Prana, Statik Mountain, Rock & Ice magazine, and Montbell. Other items include two sessions with personal trainer Chris Wall, a $200 gift certificate to the Wild Basin Lodge, a $150 hand-made glass pitcher from Glassworks of Estes Park, nature photographs by Dick Orleans, miscellaneous gifts from the Longspeak Paper and Coffee Shop, and gift certificates to the Stone Cup CafĂ© and Oscar Blues in Lyons, Nepal’s Restaurant, the Estes Park Mountain Shop, and Rambo’s Liquor Store in Estes, and the Spot Gym in Boulder. Additional items to be announced.

Girls Education International, a nonprofit founded by journalist Lizzy Scully and North Face athlete Heidi Wirtz, supports the education of disadvantaged girls who otherwise would not learn to read, write, or take charge of their own health. The proceeds from this event will go toward the $500 IRS application for 501(c)3 status and toward the Khane Village Girls’ School Project.

For more information on this event or on GEI and its projects, please contact Lizzy Scully at or call 703-887-9755. Additional information on the fundraiser and GEI can be found at: and