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Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall Supports First Descents

By: First Descents HQ

Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall awards $500,000 to First Descents to support frontline healthcare workers. 

Denver, Colorado – First Descents (FD) has announced a leadership $500,000 contribution from #StartSmall, Jack Dorsey’s philanthropic initiative, to support trauma-informed adventure programs for frontline healthcare workers and first responders. Funds will be used to deliver more than 35 multi-day adventure programs across the nation, providing respite and renewal for providers coping with the trauma and exhaustion of the pandemic. 

Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are experiencing significant trauma with the risk of ongoing psychological distress. In response, First Descents is offering adventure-based support programs for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. Aptly titled HERO RECHARGE, these programs are designed to improve psychosocial health, nurture supportive peer relationships, process grief and loss, and better position healthcare workers to carry out their important work. 

“Healthcare workers and first responders are experiencing significant stress and trauma as they address the most devastating public health crisis of our lifetimes,” observes Ryan O’Donoghue, CEO, First Descents. “This leadership gift from #StartSmall LLC, will enable us to extend the healing power of adventure to hundreds of healthcare and emergency response professionals in the year ahead.”

First Descents launched HERO RECHARGE in April 2020 with a leadership gift from the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation. With significant program demand, Dunkin’s gift rapidly inspired additional funding partners, including the VF Foundation, Basepoint Foundation, and hundreds of individual gifts. HERO RECHARGE gained national attention when featured  on CNN Heroes in October 2020. 

Since the launch of HERO RECHARGE on April 28, 2020, First Descents has received more than 10,100 inquiries from healthcare workers and first responders across all 50 states. Beginning in 2021, First Descents will collaborate with researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research the effectiveness of HERO RECHARGE and the healing effects of time spent outdoors. 

About #StartSmall, LLC

#StartSmall is Jack Dorsey’s philanthropic initiative to fund global COVID-19 relief, girls health and education, and efforts towards Universal Basic Income. Dorsey transferred $1 billion (28% of his wealth) to #StartSmall in 2020.

About First Descents

First Descents (FD) is a leader in adventure-based healing. Through outdoor adventure, community building, and lifestyle development, FD improves long-term survivorship and quality of life for young adults impacted by cancer and other serious health conditions. Headquartered in Denver, First Descents has served more than 10,000 participants over the last 20 years. Beginning in 2020, First Descents launched programs for healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVID-19. All services are fully-adaptive and free of charge. A Guidestar Platinum-ranked nonprofit, First Descents has been recognized on CNN Heroes and Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work.

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