The community we serve is young men and women age 10-17 who would like to attend wilderness programs but do not have the financial resources and/or equipment they need to do so. We fund students from the United States and Canada. We usually reach them through referrals from program staff, outdoor educators, teachers, school counselors and community leaders.
DEEP was started by CG Stephens, Director of Northwaters & Langskib Wilderness Programs. Northwaters & Langskib provided scholarships for 30 years until demand exceeded their ability to fund all the requests. In early 2001, CG used donations from trip leaders and staff, and a generous grant from the Lopez Low Foundation, to begin DEEP. Five students were funded that year. In July of 2002 DEEP was incorporated.
In January of 2003 Burke O'Brien, a beloved trip leader passed away. He had been an instrumental part of DEEP's creation and there was an incredible outpouring of donations in his memory. These gifts were used to seed an endowment and to build the scholarship program.
In February 2003 DEEP received notice of tax-exempt status from the US Internal Revenue Service. In early August 2005 DEEP Canada was incorporated and in May 2006 the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency awarded the new organization tax-exempt status as a registered charity.