All hunters want to think that hunting will exist and be available forever. However, the facts show that ten years from now, many Fish and Game agencies that rely on license sales may find themselves short on funds. The First Hunt Foundation, which has one of the largest dedicated cadre of volunteer mentors and hunting trainers in the nation, is working hard to ensure our hunting heritage is alive and well decades into the future. Rick Brazell, President and Founder of the Foundation, says, “We currently have over 800 volunteers spread across 38 states ready to help any new hunter, regardless of age, learn the skills necessary to become a hunter and our goal is to have 1000 more mentors. in the future.”
The NRA Hunters Leadership Forum has seen the First Hunt Foundation grow and wanted to help recommend the establishment of the “Hunting Heritage” endowment. They awarded a challenge grant to the FHF and Vista Outdoor immediately stepped up with another $15,000 to help establish the first $50,000 for the endowment.
“The NRA Hunters Leadership Forum is pleased to support the First Hunt Foundation,” said Peter Churchbourne, Director of the NRA Hunters Leadership Forum. “Our missions align, and it’s only natural that we partner to provide opportunities for new hunters to experience the empowerment and personal fulfillment of hunting. I want to thank the generous donors of the Hunters’ Leadership Forum for providing the funds that made this grant possible.”
“Having the funds to start the endowment was great,” says Brazell, “but we also needed to find the best way to manage and grow the funds in perpetuity. FHF can use 5 percent of the funds each year, so we needed to find the right institution to help it grow and be sustainable in the long term. We approached several national banks and investment companies when I remembered that we already had a small endowment with the MidwayUSA Foundation.”
Brazell contacted Ashley Petersen and John Linquist of the MidwayUSA Foundation and they were both excited to help the FHF restructure its current endowment and formally establish the national “Hunting Heritage Endowment.” Everyone knows you have to learn to shoot before you go hunting and teaching that skill is one of the First Hunt Foundation mentors/trainers who see it as a basic duty.
MidwayUSA Foundation Program Manager Ashley Petersen spoke about the relationship with the First Hunt Foundation. “It is always an honor and a privilege to work with people like Rick who see the importance of sustainable funding for the future of youth shooting sports. The impact of Rick’s hard work, raising substantial funds, will affect countless young people who want to participate in shooting sports for generations to come.”
The MidwayUSA Foundation helps communities and organizations raise funds for their youth shooting teams. Approximately 2,800 youth shooting teams and 74 organizations have an endowment from the MidwayUSA Foundation. These youth shooting programs increase their respective endowments through donations and fundraising and are eligible to receive a cash grant each year to cover critical expenses including travel, targets, safety equipment, entry fees and more. In addition, each team or organization can purchase products from the MidwayUSA Foundation Product Grant, such as shooting equipment, firearms, optics, coolers, etc. provided by top companies, which can then be used in your fundraising efforts. In addition, the MidwayUSA Foundation has a Matching Program to match all donations raised by teams, enhancing fundraising efforts and making donor dollars go further. “We were ecstatic to say the least,” says Brazell, “and I can’t wait to see all the people who will now take up shooting and eventually hunting thanks to this endowment from the MidwayUSA Foundation.”
The Endowment helps provide financial certainty to programs and organizations whose mission is to keep America’s hunting heritage alive forever. Anyone who wants to support efforts to grow Hunting Heritage’s endowment can contact the MidwayUSA Foundation or go directly to (https://www.midwayusafoundation.org/team-profile/?id=R9583) to make a donation. Donations may be eligible to be matched through the MidwayUSA Foundation Matching Program. Donations can also go directly to the First Hunt Foundation.
The First Hunt Foundation has no paid staff and relies on donations to organize events, provide liability insurance, attend and host recruiting events, and purchase necessary equipment. FHF works with any organization or agency seeking to preserve our hunting heritage. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been the primary organization that has helped FHF grow to its current reach and others such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, NRA Hunter Leadership Forum, Pheasants Forever, Boone and Crockett Club, Backcounty Hunters and Anglers, numerous Fish and Game agencies. , a host of private companies and individual supporters have also stepped up to help. Brazell says, “We all have to work together to make a difference. No organization can do it alone and having the MidwayUSA Foundation on the team will help ensure we can be successful in fulfilling our long-term mission.”
For more information about the First Hunt Foundation, visit: https://firsthuntfoundation.org or contact Rick Brazell at email@example.com or (208) 917-9700.