Celebrating National Philanthropy Day: How First Descents is Creating Healing through the Hero Recharge Program

Celebrating National Philanthropy Day: How First Descents is Creating Healing through the Hero Recharge Program

Today is National Philanthropy Day, a day when we celebrate those who make a positive difference in our communities. Here at Dunkin’ we’re proud of the work the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation has done this year to support its mission, and we’re so thankful for our network of franchisees, employees, partners, and grantees who have brought joy during a challenging year.

This National Philanthropy Day, we want to spotlight First Descents, the global leader in adventure-based healing. In April, the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation and First Descents announced Hero Recharge, a first-of-its-kind program focused on adventure-based healing for nurses and healthcare professionals who have experienced traumatic stress from working on the front lines of the pandemic. In May, we announced applications were open, and thousands of healthcare workers from around the country immediately began applying for the recharging retreats.

First Descents
Photo Credit: Melanie Fidler and First Descents


Shannon Basara, an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at UCHealth in Colorado, joined one of the first programs in Colorado - a rock climbing, hiking, and yoga retreat. Shannon volunteered to work with COVID-19 patients from the beginning of the pandemic. “It’s been difficult carrying the burdens of what we see in the ICU - patients ventilated on multiple forms of life support and being isolated from family.”  

After attending a Hero Recharge hiking retreat in Colorado, Shannon said, “Getting outside and adventuring in Colorado with other frontline healthcare workers was an incredible experience - something I didn’t know my mind and body desperately needed. The Hero Recharge program challenged me by pushing myself to seek adventure in new ways and speak to experiences that have affected me deeply over the past year. It gave me a chance to breathe and step back from the stress of everyday life, while teaching me how to better help myself mentally and physically.”

Since the first event in Colorado, retreats have also taken place in New York, Washington, Michigan, and Massachusetts, included hiking and rafting adventures, with more planned in beautiful outdoor settings around the country in the coming months. The feedback from healthcare professionals has been overwhelmingly positive, and the most common reaction is, “This is exactly what I needed.”

This National Philanthropy Day, we raise our cups to organizations like First Descents for making meaningful changes in the lives of the healthcare professionals who have kept us running through the pandemic and beyond.

We encourage healthcare workers who are interested in attending a Hero Recharge retreat to visit https://firstdescents.org/ to learn more.

If you want to celebrate National Philanthropy Day, you can help support programs like Hero Recharge by donating to the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation. Visit www.joyinchildhoodfoundation.com to help us continue to make an impact in our communities.

How are you recognizing National Philanthropy Day? Let us know on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and TikTok!

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