About Us

The Be Brave For Life Foundation begins in 2015 with Riley’s story. At the time, Riley was only 12 years old, but had already been through more surgeries than most go through in a lifetime. She decided she wanted to help raise funds for brain tumor research.


The Be Brave For Life Foundation is made up of a Governing Board, a Junior Board, a Scientific Advisory Committee, Youth Ambassadors and our interns.  One of our priorities is to empower our youth leadership, made up of our Junior Board and Youth Ambassadors, to reach their full potential. We aim to provide them with the tools to lead now, so that they can become effective leaders in the future. The young people involved are learning, not just about Be Brave and our mission, but also about all aspects of philanthropy. They are seeing first hand how their actions have a real impact.

In 2016, the Northern New England chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored the Be Brave For Life Foundation with its Youth in Philanthropy award. In early 2017, Riley was honored in Washington, DC, by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Program as one of two Vermont recipients and one of ten National recipients of their Spirit of Community Award, given to her by Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. A few months later, she also received the Gloria Barron Young Heroes Award.


Be Brave for Life Hike-a-Thon

With the help of local friends and family, the central fundraising event for the foundation was born—the inaugural Hike-a-Thon and basket bonanza. The Hike-a-Thon is a metaphor for the “mountain” one climbs during any moment of life’s adversity, large or small, and for the bravery required to do so. Participants pledge to hike for certain amounts of time, and their donations reflect those pledges. While other fundraisers have included a summer benefit and several individual events, the Hike-a-thon will remain an annual event.