Paying a Living Wage
Fitness and wellness are essential to the health of our communities. Too often the people providing these services are themselves struggling to make ends meet. We want to ensure that we don’t fuel the disparities we see in the wider society within our walls. We will continue to extend generous benefits such as covering 50% of healthcare insurance premiums and parental leave to full-time employees. As of this announcement, we will now additionally commit to paying at least $1 per hour above the state/local minimum wage in the cities where we operate.
Climbing for All
Part of our founding mission was to bring a traditionally outdoor sport to cities. It was our way of allowing more people to experience climbing when they otherwise never would be able to. This is the spirit in which we founded the Brooklyn Boulders Foundation in 2010, a 501c3 non-profit whose goal is to make climbing accessible to the public, specifically youth and people with disabilities and supported the Adaptive Climbing Group which was birthed within our walls.
This year we learned that while our industry is constantly evolving to make fitness more “accessible,” it’s often done so in gentrifying communities while pricing out the very community members who have lived there the longest. That fundamentally contradicts the inclusive environment we want to create.
We launched our Climbing for All initiative to address this directly. It kicked off with a new sliding scale program that removes pricing barriers and gives more people access to climbing. The youth scholarship component of our sliding scale model is live in Somerville and currently being rolled out to all facilities. We are now working with additional partners to grant more people free or subsidized access to our facilities. (If your organization is interested in becoming a partner to distribute access passes, contact us!)
As soon as capacity restrictions are lifted we plan to hold regular community open houses where we invite the local community to come climb with us. If you have an organization that would be interested in exposing its members to climbing please send us a note.
Our aim is to give everyone an opportunity to become a climber and reap the benefits. Read more about it here.
Upgrading BKB Gowanus
Before we seek to expand further we’re going to do right by our existing communities. Starting immediately we are investing more than $500,000 in updating our original location in Gowanus, fixing issues that have nagged at community members for years. This includes new windows, climate control and fixing the roof. At the same time we’ll be dramatically expanding climbing terrain, adding 60% more bouldering than is available today. And this is only Phase 1. We’ll be soliciting feedback on the immediate changes as well as teasing our Phase 2 plans which go beyond the firm commitments outlined above.
How We’ll Be Amplifying More Communities
Coming to DC
Ten years ago we were the innovators in bringing climbing to the city. We’ve successfully ensured that anyone can experience the intersection of an urban lifestyle and an outdoor adventure by bringing climbing facilities to cities from Brooklyn to Chicago to Boston.
Now, our vision to make climbing one of the world’s most accessible activities will expand even further.
We are thrilled to announce that we’ll be opening a new gym in Washington, D.C. beginning in August. Located in the city’s Eckington neighborhood, we intend to amplify the rich culture of the capital while also bringing the city’s first-ever climbing experience to locals. Share the great news with your friends in D.C. (and let them know we’re hiring!). Learn more about BKB Eckington.
Lastly, fostering community is the heart of what we do at BKB. It’s so important to us that it’s almost become cliché. Each gym deserves someone whose full-time focus is attending to the health of the community and making sure you always feel safe, connected, and supported when you walk through our doors. We’re looking internally at people who have already demonstrated a connection to our community to step into Community Manager roles to do just that. And, if you or someone you know would be absolutely perfect for this role, apply here. It is only right that we fill these key roles with the help of our community – members and staff – as Community Managers will have a meaningful impact on the quality of your experience here for years to come.