News & Stories

A Local Team of Superstar Climbers Turn Their Passion into Philanthropy

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Since 2009, the Dream Mountains Foundation has raised nearly $190,000 in support of ONFE’s School Breakfast Program. As the team concludes a 10-year commitment to the Ottawa School Breakfast Program, we wanted to feature them during our Love Campaign to give them a special send-off.

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Dream Mountains climbers take a moment to capture their trek to Mount Everest Base Camp, Nepal in 2018.


Over the years, the Dream Mountains team of over 100 climbers has raised an astounding amount through its climbing expeditions: $1.2 million. Since 2009, a handful of charitable organizations have received the proceeds, including the Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE). We are so proud to say that the foundation has given back nearly $190,000 to ONFE’s School Breakfast Program!

The project started off when Shawn Dawson, founder of the Dream Mountains Foundation, decided to combine his dream of summiting the highest peak on each of the seven continents with supporting seven organizations that are dedicated to giving others a “hand up”. Some organizations have a local reach and others work internationally, but all focus on direct action and community building, writes Kristi Johnston, Assistant Team Leader at Dream Mountains.

So why did Shawn, Kristi and their team choose to give back to ONFE? “The Dream Mountains Foundation believes strongly in the value of personal connections, giving back to the community and education. We choose to support ONFE because it exemplifies these beliefs. Its programs have a direct impact on the people who are living, working and going to school right here in Ottawa and include key initiatives that drive the growth and the empowerment of its participants.” Well said, Kristi!

“We wish that more people knew about the diversity of the ONFE program offerings and that there are many ways for people to get involved and volunteer their time, experience or expertise. Our advice? Don’t hesitate. Being ‘of service’ is the ultimate gift that you can give to others.” Huge thanks to Shawn, Kristi, and all the dedicated climbers for their impressive fundraising efforts over the years!

Congratulations to Dream Mountains for their remarkable climbs—including excursions to Mount Kilimanjaro, Machu Picchu and Mount Everest Base Camp!—and their inspiring dedication to philanthropy. Best wishes for whatever comes next!

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“When we talk to others about ONFE, the first thing that we mention is what a phenomenal organization it is to partner with. By supporting each other’s efforts to raise awareness and funds for this worthwhile cause, we have been able to accomplish our goals and inspire others to do the same.” It’s so easy to work with fabulous community leaders like Dream Mountains!

Did you know that, every year, ONFE’s School Breakfast Program distributes over 2.5 million nutritious meals to children and youth across Ottawa? To sustain the program, we need to raise more than $550,000 annually. You can make a direct impact on the students in our community by becoming a monthly donor, planning an event on our behalf, or partnering with us. Your donation will help a child eat, learn and succeed!

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