Log in

explorers club of pittsburgh

Log in

Mike Brown Memorial expedition Grants Fund


The Mike Brown Memorial Expedition Grants Fund was set up to fund grants in support of worthy club expeditions.  It is named in honor of (in)famous club member Mike "Mikey" Brown, AKA Binky of the Mountains whose legend continues to grown within the club with stories of his antics and climbing accomplishments.


Established in 2010, the MBE grants were designed to provide financial support to ECP expeditions of all types.  Awarded Grants to date:

  • 2016 Nov - Provide communication and safety gear to a group attempting to climb Ama Dablam in Nepal as part of a 30-Year anniversary expedition.  This group was successful in getting two members to the summit unguided and one member to the summit with the help of a local guide.  All team members returned home safely.  Granted: gear free of charge and additional $500 for safety equipment.
  • 2016 May - Circumnavigation and skiing first descents of the Tsambagarav Uul mountains in Mongolia $2000 granted.
  • 2011 Feb - Newfoundland "Ice Vikings" ice climbing on floating icebergs several miles offshore and new rock climbing routes on shore.

See also a memorial rock climbing route:


  • Grants are open only to members of the Explorers Club of Pittsburgh (ECP).
  • ECP Membership must have exceeded two consecutive years at time of application.
  • Applications must be submitted at least six (6) months  prior to the start of expedition, in electronic format.
  • All application materials must be received together - missing material will result in automatic disqualification.
  • All expeditions must be legal and all necessary visas and permits required by local authorities must be obtained.
  • All expeditions must be conducted in an environmentally conscious and sound approach, with care and respect for the local inhabitants.
  • All expeditions must be self-guided unless required by law of the host country.


  1. Applications are to be submitted to the Secretary electronically in one of the following formats:  Microsoft Word, Open Office Writer, or Adobe PDF.
  2. Upon receipt the Secretary will distribute to the ECP Board in a timely fashion for initial review to determine compliance with submission requirements.
  3. If other applications are currently being reviewed, the Applicant will be informed of the expected wait time until the review process can be initiated on their application.
  4. After initial submission compliance review by the Board, a committee, consisting of at least one Board member plus three subject matter experts from the active club membership, will be formed to review each application.
  5. The Review Committee will then review the Grant request.  The expedition leader may be asked to attend the review to answer any questions that arise. 

Approval or Denial

The applicant can expect approval or denial within sixty (60) days from the review start date for their application.

If the application is denied due to reasons which can be altered (not due to fundamental reasons such as the general nature of the expedition), the applicant can alter and resubmit their application.  Any other applications currently under review at that time will take priority.



The Review Committee will consider the following:

  1. Expedition must be a new, uncompleted, or a rare repeat of a prior expedition. Examples are:
    • Compelling nature of the expedition, including purity of line/route, difficulty, exploratory nature, and the overall significance of the endeavor.
    • Ethics, aesthetics, and/or methods being used. 
    • Any historical or scientific value of the endeavor.
    • Any education or environmental value of the endeavor.
    • Travel via uncommon routes, rivers, trails, or passageways.
    • Travel via unique method.
    • Remoteness of objectives.
  2. Persuasiveness of Statement of Purpose.
  3. Feasibility of expedition:
  • All explorers on expedition team must submit a “resume” for evidence of experience.
  • A detailed itinerary must be submitted.
  • Contingency plans to keep expeditions on track and/or provide for escape in case of serious emergency must also be submitted.

Activities that Qualify

The purpose of the grant is to provide members who posses a high level of skill, knowledge and
good judgment some level of financial assistance to accomplish their expedition goals.

Expeditions can include nearly any “outdoor” adventure sport.  The following are
examples of expeditions that would likely be considered and approved:

  • Mapping out new passageways in a cave or cavern system
  • Paddling a new river channel
  • Climbing a new mountain or significant rock or ice route
  • Crossing a significant territory
  • Diving and mapping a new underwater feature or wreck
  • An expedition which has a positive environmental impact or ecological exploration (e.g., discovering a better route that has less impact on a species and their environment)

The following are examples of expeditions that would likely not be considered:

  • Climbing established routes by commonly used methods
  • Any route, river or passageway commonly traveled

Committee Ranking

The committee will consider:

  • What is the full itinerary from the departure date until return date?
  • What precise sports activities will you be engaging in?
  • How will contact be maintained?
  • Will you be taking any GPS, Satellite Tracking / Monitoring Beacon, Personal Locator Beacon, or Satellite telephone systems?
  • What are the contingency plans?
  • What previous or similar relevant experience have you had?
  • Are contingency plans in place covering known medical conditions amount expedition members?
  • Are you traveling against medical advice?
  • If applicable, have you or the tour operator any history of previous Arctic / Antarctic trips? 
  • Have you or they had any previous SAR or Medical Emergency or Repatriation incidents?
  • How long have they been operating this type of trip? 
  • How many participants are there in this expedition?
  • How many professional experienced guides or leaders are there in the expedition?
  • List all documents necessary for successful initiation of your expedition, ie, travel, rescue, insurance, permits, passes, travel documents, etc.

Each of these criteria will receive a point value from 1-10 by each judge based on how much each criterion has been met by the grant requester.  Each line will then be averaged out between each judge for the final tally.

Once this evaluation process has been conducted, the committee for further evaluation of
the proposed expedition will interview the expedition leader.


Grants are awarded $500-$5,000 and are based on availability of funds.

The ECP general membership will be notified of any awards at the first general meeting following the grant of award.


  • If for any reason the expedition’s objective is canceled or significantly change, all awarded funds may be required to be returned to the Mike Brown Memorial Fund at the full discretion of the ECP fund managers.
  • This grant will only be considered once for any given objective. 
  • Grant funds are disbursed to recipients based upon the cash flow requirements of the endeavor and the funds available within the club’s grant assets.
  • Within one month of returning from the expedition, all grant recipients must submit to the ECP a written expedition report (including photographs) for possible inclusion in ECP publication (newsletter).
  • Successful recipients may be asked to give a presentation on the expedition at one of the ECP monthly meetings.


Eligibility is as above with the following exceptions and rules.

  1. Grants between $100 and $400 may be awarded towards travel costs for expeditions which do not meet the criteria outlined above, but which still provide a worthy challenge.
  2. Objective must be the ascent of an alpine ascent, a multi-day watercraft trip, extended backpacking route or similarly challenging expedition. Objectives which can be reasonably achieved in a single day shall not be considered.
  3. All participants of the expedition must be ECP Members.
  4. At least one participant must have graduated from an ECP School within the previous 3 years.
  5. Only one grant may be paid for any expedition, irrespective of the number of participants.
  6. No individual may receive a grant more frequently than once every 3 years.
  7. The amount of the grant must not exceed 50% of the budgeted travel costs.


In lieu of the full application, applicants must submit a one-page summary of the proposed expedition, including: Grant recipient (usually the trip leader), principal objective, itinerary, participants’ names and experience. ECP School graduates must list the year of graduation, trip budget including travel costs, amount requested.
  1. Applications must be submitted between two and six months in advance of the trip start date.
  2. Applications must be reviewed by three senior ECP members who are not participants in the expedition.
  3. The President will choose suitably qualified ECP Members as reviewers.
  4. The amount of grant will be determined by the committee depending on the quality of the application and the funds available.
  5. If approved, the Treasurer will pay the grant within 4 weeks.


The club Policy and Procedures specifies the base level funding in the Finances, Special Funds section.  Additional funding can be raised by way of clinics or seminars given by ECP members where participants make a suggested donation for participation.

Submit an Application

> View/download the application (Microsoft Word .docx)

Adopting the motto "Research, Education, and Adventure" in 1947, for three generations the ECP has provided the opportunity to learn new skills and meet new friends who share a willingness to accept the physical and mental challenges of outdoor exploration and adventure.

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram:

Get the Members Mobile App for IOS and Android (by Wild Apricot)

Membership inquiries:

Activities and club officers:

General questions:

Mailing Address:
5715 Beacon Street, No. 516
Pittsburgh, PA   15217

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software