Keep Climbing Foundation Wraps Up Appalachian Trail Climb for the Kids Fundraiser

St. Louis, MO (Oct. 25, 2021) – Keep Climbing Foundation, an independent nonprofit aiming to serve children with severe illnesses and U.S. Veterans, recently completed their Climb for the Kids (CFTK) 2021 on the Appalachian Trail. A team of volunteer climbers hiked 21 miles to Georgia’s highest peak to raise funds and awareness for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), ultimately raising over $50,000 for the nonprofit.

More than 35 volunteers signed up to participate in the climb from October 16-18, raising between $250 and $9,000 for RMHC each before hiking the Appalachian Trail. Some climbers who couldn’t make it to Georgia participated in the climb “virtually”—matching miles each day and raising funds remotely.

“I wanted to be a part of the climb because I really believe that mortgage companies should be involved with their community,” said THLE Loan Officer Jon Howard. “I built genuine friendships with people that I only knew from work emails. It’s great to work with likeminded individuals with diverse backgrounds and get out of our comfort zone for a good cause.”

As in years past, the climb was sponsored and underwritten by The Home Loan Expert, allowing for 100% of donations to go entirely to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Outdoor camping supply store Outdoors Geek helped sponsor the climb by providing discounts for and shipping rental tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads for participating campers in need of gear. Appalachian Campground staff also helped make the climb possible by providing discounted campsites, cabins, and supplies for the climbers. 

“Many of our climbers didn’t have basic camping supplies, and the cost of gearing up is too high for most, so we were relieved when Outdoors Geek agreed to ship gear directly to us,” said Keith Austin, Director of THLE Community. “The price was affordable, the gear was high-quality, and the convenience was a gamechanger.”

Climb for the Kids was started in 2015 by Ryan Kelley, founder and CEO of the Home Loan Expert (THLE) to bring attention to the lack of adequate federal funding for childhood cancer research. This year’s climb marks the 9th CFTK event and the largest yet in terms of participation.

 “I finished the climb with a sense of victory having my THLE family there by my side to cheer me on,” said Tracy Finegan, a THLE Loan Officer who fundraised $1,500 for RMHC. “The view from the top of the highest mountain in Georgia was a moment I will never forget.”

RMHC will use the funds raised to help families and their children access much-needed medical care and resources.

To learn more or to make a donation, visit

About Keep Climbing Foundation

Keep Climbing Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to helping others overcome obstacles and reach their personal summits by raising financial support and awareness for our causes. These causes include empowering children, supporting Veterans, assisting first responders, and meeting urgent community needs. We take our name, Keep Climbing, as both a call to action and a guiding principle. We want to help others reach their goals and overcome adversity, because we hold on to the hope that every mountain is scalable.

About Climb for the Kids

Since 2015, Climb for the Kids has raised more than $130,000 for charities, hospitals, and families of children battling serious illness. Past climbs include Mt. Massive, Mt. Elbert, Cotopaxi, Mt. Rainier, and Grand Teton. This year’s climb in Alaska aims to bring awareness and raise funds for organizations that serve children in need. Our chosen charities all help children fighting serious illness or strive to empower children to live their best lives. 


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