To Return is dedicated to creating opportunity through education in Tanzania for Mt. Kilimanjaro porters, guides and their families by connecting climbers and tourists with local communities.
Our team is volunteer-based and our interest in supporting the Mt. Kilimanjaro community came from our first climbs of the mountain. Secretary and treasurer, Chris Halsey climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1991. Executive director, Lindsay Halsey followed suit in 2002 and has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro 9 times. In 2007, assistant director Linden Mallory climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for the first of six times.
To Return became a non-profit in Colorado and a 501 C 3 organization. Our first project was to collect and distribute mountain gear for Kilimanjaro porters.
In 2009, To Return started to support education for porters and their children with the award of our first scholarship. Steadily our scholarships have increased to support 18 students. We remain small to balance our desire to support each of these students through university.
To Return partnered with Sentinel Outdoors to provide Mt. Kilimanjaro guides with wilderness medical training and Leave No Trace certification in 2012. An annual program, Sentinel Outdoors teaches Mt. Kilimanjaro guides these courses each April.
In 2014, To Return started the Mountain Social. Designed to bring the mountain community of Aspen, Colorado together to support another mountain community, that of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The gathering was a huge success and raised $19,341 (the same number as the height of Mt. Kilimanjaro). The Mountain Social is now held every two years in Basalt, Colorado.
To Return is celebrating 10 years of support for Mt. Kilimanjaro porters, guides, and their children! Our commitment to our group of 18 students is unwavering. And we are grateful to the many donors who have supported these students. In 2018, we have one of our first students graduating university with a degree in accounting. Congratulations Elianaso!
To Return continues to support our group of students with educational scholarships. 2020 has brought much joy for this group — two students who graduated from university with degrees in business and accounting, and three students started university in November. They are the first generation of children in their families to pursue education beyond 7th grade. We are so proud of these accomplishments. Thank you for being an integral part of their success.
Like it has in our own communities, the pandemic has brought new challenges for students and their families. Tourism to the Mt. Kilimanjaro region is at a standstill. Porters and guides are without work and cannot support their families' basic needs. As a result, we've evolved to meet the changing need. We are currently providing financial support for porters and guides to overcome these challenging times.
Over the past ten years, our students have grown. Many are now in high school and university. We're very proud of their commitment to pursuing higher education.
Our students are currently studying to become doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, accountants, tour operators, and more. We're deeply committed to their future and are so grateful for the support of our donors for their continued support.
Lindsay Reither Halsey is founder and director of To Return. While working as a mountain guide for seven years, Lindsay had the opportunity to climb and guide some of the worlds most sought after peaks including Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson, Mt. McKinley and Mt. Kilimanjaro. She has a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College and currently resides in Basalt, Colorado. Lindsay serves To Return by coordinating our scholarship program.
Linden Mallory is the assistant director of To Return. He was born and raised in Aspen, Colorado and began working as a mountain guide on Mt. Rainier in 2004 for RMI Expeditions. He has traveled extensively throughout the developing world as a guide and climber, from Kilimanjaro to Alaska to the Himalaya. Linden is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a BA in Geography and serves To Return by promoting our goals in the guiding community and by keeping tabs on our efforts with frequent travel to the Mt. Kilimanjaro community.
Chris Halsey is the secretary and treasurer of To Return. Chris grew up in Boston and graduated from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado with a BA in Business Administration. He is the ski patrol director for the Buttermilk Ski Patrol and a Snowmass Summer Ranger. When not working, you’ll find Chris exploring the world as he is passionate about travel and adventure. He has traveled extensively in Tanzania and climbed Kilimanjaro. Chris leads our gear donation efforts through his relationships in the outdoor industry and most recently collected over 500 lbs of mountain gear for our gear donation drive from the Aspen Skiing Company.
Joel Siao is a mountain and safari guide in Moshi, Tanzania and is the director of operations for To Return. Joel manages the day to day activities of the scholarship and gear donation programs. He coordinates with families and the schools to make sure all needs are met including transportation, uniforms, books, tuition, and more. Joel frequently goes the extra mile in getting to know our students and their families as part of To Return’s close oversight of our scholarship program. He also organizes the annual To Return gear donation in Moshi. When not guiding and working with To Return, you’ll find Joel spending time with his family.
To Return is grateful to all of our partners who support us through in-kind services, fundraising, advertising, and more.
Reese Henry & Co. – Certified public accountants located in Aspen and Carbondale, Colorado. Instrumental in helping To Return gain 501 C 3 status with the IRS.
Garfield & Hecht – Law firm in Aspen, Colorado, whose services were instrumental in forming To Return.
Pathfinder SEO – Search engine marketing software company that donates web hosting and ongoing maintenance for our website.