The Lewis Family Foundation and Grand Circle Foundation began a partnership with Protect Our Winters in 2011 and have donated $210,000 to support their efforts to educate and advocate on climate change issues. Founded by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones in 2007, Protect Our Winters (POW) turns passionate outdoor people into effective climate advocates. POW leads a community of athletes, thought pioneers and forward-thinking business leaders to affect systemic political solutions to climate change.

POW programs unite and mobilize the global snow sports community against climate change, and focuses on three main areas: youth education, advocacy and community-based activism.

Youth Education

The Lewis Family and POW believe that educating and empowering the next generation to be future environmental leaders is one of the most important things that we can be doing to address climate change.  And leveraging the influence of POW’s group of professional athletes to engage and inspire the students is a powerful way to do that.

The Hot Planet/Cool Athletes program in-school assembly focuses on the athlete’s personal experience in the outdoors, and why they care so much, while providing an overview of climate science, examples of what’s happening, and how we can all make a difference. Designed as a turn-key assembly for both the athletes and the schools, it’s available free to any school interested in educating teens about climate change through an in-person, energizing, and informational climate assembly aimed at empowering students to address global climate change.

In 2016, a group of sixth graders from the local community participated in a POW presentation at Alnoba, Kensington, NH, and since 2011, POW has reached over 60,000 students with this program, including 9,812 students in 2018 alone. In order to want to protect the environment, young students should first understand how special our outdoors are, and what’s at stake.

Climate Advocacy

The goal is to mobilize the snow sports community to create the political will for climate action.  Throughout the year, we elevate the voices of our 23 million strong snowsports community, the $62 billion industry and our pro athletes at the highest levels in Washington to urge lawmakers to support strong climate policy, such as The Clean Power Plan. We continually leverage our voice to maintain a presence at the state and federal level through the most creative and effective means possible.

Community Based Activism

Among POW’s 2019 Goals are to grow grassroots activists and train effective advocate influencers. In 2018, 47 influencers and 70 volunteers were trained to help POW reach 5,373,032 potential voters, and secure 12,278 pledges to vote.

2018 was the highest turnout for a midterm election since 1966, and the first midterm election to exceed 100 million votes. Youth political engagement was among the highest in recent decades.

POW plans to focus policy issues and elections in key states in 2019: Colorado, Oregon, Maine and Nevada.