Deer Hill Foundation

The Deer Hill Foundation (DHF) was established to offer the unique experience of wilderness and service expeditions with Deer Hill to those who would otherwise be unable to afford it. Most contributions come from individuals and families who have been personally touched by the rewards of a Deer Hill program. Several community organizations support DHF as well. Since its inception in 1998, DHF has sponsored over 1,500 scholarships. Please consider making a donation that fits your budget.

If you are interested in applying for a scholarship to attend a summer program, please complete the online Scholarship Award Application

How Your Contribution Helps

Contributions support the mission of the Deer Hill Foundation (DHF) in three important ways:
1) DHF funds scholarship awards for high potential, low income students from around the country to participate in Deer Hill’s wilderness and cross-cultural service-learning programs.
2) Since 1989, Deer Hill groups have lived and worked in communities in Dinétah (Navajo Nation) and in Zuni and Hopi Pueblos. DHF provides materials and expertise for these cross-cultural service projects. 
3) DHF supports the professional development of Deer Hill staff so that they can guide the best student experiences possible.
Participant looking out over the San Juan Mountains


In an excerpt from a letter by Rahwa, a scholarship recipient, we see the impact her Deer Hill experience had on her belief in herself as a leader, and her understanding of community: “While at Hopi, we found out about Wilbur, an old man who’s wife had passed away a few years ago and we were told he is very lonely. We decided to go eat our meals with him and talk to him whenever we can. When I got home at the end of the trip I had a letter waiting for me from Rhonda. It was about how she and her people in Arizona have been doing, asking me about my family. Finally she told me what Wilbur had said about our Deer Hill group. She quoted him, and this I will never forget. He said, “They have made my life longer and richer, and that is something money can’t buy.” I never realized before that I can make a huge difference in someone’s life by doing such a simple thing.”

Cross-Cultural Service Projects

Living and working with Native American families in the Navajo Nation, Zuni Pueblo, and Hopi Pueblos, Deer Hill groups bring open minds, open hearts, and a trailer full of tools. Hands-on work, shared meals, and evening Circle foster connection across cultural boundaries. Native host families, many of whom have worked with Deer Hill for decades, design projects that are important to their community and create opportunities to share cultural arts, stories, and traditions with participants. Examples include building traditional stone bread ovens in a Hopi pueblo, chinking the log walls of a Navajo hogan, tending sheep and mending fences on a multi-generational family farm, or whitewashing the homes facing the central plaza in preparation for summer Kachina dances in some of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.

Field Educator Training

Field educators are the heart and soul of Deer Hill, facilitating experiences that transform a young person’s worldview, and inspire a sense of empowerment, leadership, and wonder. Deer Hill Foundation supports the growth and professional development of committed field staff by providing training opportunities that will further their work guiding Deer Hill participants to “find themselves in the middle of nowhere.”



I want to express my deepest gratitude to you for providing Trevor with the scholarship that allowed him to attend Deer Hill this summer. Trev came home from his expedition with confidence and decision-making skills that weren’t there when he left. He is so ready for a more challenging expedition, and is already making plans to attend the Wilderness Leadership expedition next year. See you next year!

Debbie, parent

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