A native of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Arielle Gold is a 23-year-old snowboarding Olympic bronze medalist and five-time X Games medalist.
Here are Arielle’s answers to The Sport of Philanthropy’s top 10 questions about her philanthropic work...
1. What is your motivation for giving back?
I have always admired professional athletes who use their influence to have a positive impact on the community. Having become one of these athletes myself, it was only natural to seek out several causes that I am passionate about and get involved in trying to create change.
2. What issues are most important to you and why?
The most important issues to me are climate change and animal rescue and rehabilitation. In regards to climate change, I have been working with Protect Our Winters for the past five years in hopes of encouraging people to live more sustainable lifestyles. Additionally, I have been working with Animal Rescue of the Rockies for the past five years as well, having fostered and re-homed 14 rescue dogs during my time volunteering. These dogs were all saved from high-kill shelters across the western U.S., then brought to Colorado where I cared for them until they found loving adoptive homes.
3. Can you tell us more about Protect Our Winters and how people can get involved?
Protect Our Winters is a nonprofit organization that was founded by fellow professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones. The organization aims to educate and advocate for more sustainable living, as well as encourage individuals to use their votes and their voices to create positive environmental changes in their own communities. You can learn more about getting involved by visiting the Protect Our Winters website.
4. How did growing up in Colorado inspire your decision to become an activist for Protect Our Winters?
My natural inspiration comes from having grown up in such a beautiful place, with parents and friends who fostered an unparalleled love for being outside. With that being said, I was also inspired by the countless other professional snowboarders and skiers who have been working alongside Protect Our Winters throughout their careers.
In my own travels, I have witnessed first-hand the impacts that climate change can have on communities and on the environments that surround them. Protect Our Winters provides an incredible platform for me to channel my passion for sustainable living into something that creates important, observable changes in the communities that I am a part of.
5. What philanthropic accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of having rescued 14 incredible dogs from almost certain death. Animal Rescue of the Rockies bridges the gap between potential foster homes and the high-kill shelters that need them, allowing people with a love of animals (like myself) to rescue dogs that otherwise would have likely been euthanized to create more space for the incomprehensible quantities of incoming animals.
6. What are your longer term goals for philanthropy?
I hope to eventually provide discounted veterinary services to underprivileged veterinary communities throughout the world, as well as use my knowledge to found my own rescue and rehabilitation center for abused animals, including (but not limited to) dogs and horses.
7. What steps are you taking to achieve your goals?
I am currently pursuing my bachelor's of science degree in psychology at the University of Colorado Boulder, and am hoping to eventually go to veterinary school at Colorado State University.
8. Who else in the sports world do you see as inspirational in their philanthropic work?
I am incredibly inspired by Kelly Clark. Kelly is a decorated professional snowboarder, having won her first Olympic medal (gold) when she was 18 years old. Kelly and I traveled and competed together for several years before she announced her retirement at the beginning of the 2019 season.
9. What makes Kelly’s work so inspiring?
During her career, Kelly created the Kelly Clark Foundation, which provides funding to aspiring young snowboarders who would otherwise not have the financial means to pursue their dreams. Her work through her foundation has been absolutely monumental in inspiring the next generation of young snowboarders, and in forging a path that proves that a career in our sport is possible.
10. What advice would you give other athletes and influential sports figures seeking to use their platforms to create positive social impact and better the world?
I would say that the most important thing is to find a cause that you are passionate about, and do your research. There are so many foundations out there who are in need of influencers with established platforms to advocate from; it won't be difficult to find one that is right for you.