First Descents awarded #30 spot on OUTSIDE magazine’s ‘50 Best Places to Work in 2023’ list

November 16, 2023

DENVER, November, 2023/OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – OUTSIDE magazine has confirmed what employees for First Descents already knew: This nonprofit that provides life-changing and healing outdoor adventures for young adults diagnosed with cancer and MS, their caregivers and healthcare workers is one of the top places to work in the country.

“These are the companies that have gone above and beyond to keep their employees happy, while also encouraging them to pursue their outdoor passions,” OUTSIDE said in its announcement.

“At First Descents, we believe that listening to our community informs our ability to help heal, empower and deepen connections with those we serve. This approach extends to our employees, a compassionate and driven team who make our life-giving work possible,” said Ryan O’Donoghue, CEO of First Descents. “The courage, vulnerability and resilience of our participants motivates us to lean in with purpose and passion, and reminds us that ‘Out Living It’ is more than a tagline – it’s a way of life.”

Awarded annually and in conjunction with the Outdoor Industry Association, the 50 Best Places to Work designation recognizes companies that demonstrate excellence in employee engagement and wellness. The winning companies are those that value productivity in combination with an active, eco-conscious lifestyle, for a fulfilling experience inside and outside the office. This is OUTSIDE’s 16th year providing the Best Places to Work.

At First Descents, every member of the tight-knit and dedicated staff has the opportunity to attend a weeklong program annually – such as kayaking in Rogue River, Ore., surfing in Outer Banks, N.C., or rock climbing in Moab – which is paid time off that gives staffers the full experience of the nonprofit’s mission. In addition, employees receive a generous healthcare plan with 100 percent employer-paid coverage, as well as 25 days of PTO, and one floating holiday and one personal day off, allowing for last-minute adventures of their own choosing. A flexible work-remote policy and a laid-back, dog-friendly office contribute to the pervasive work-life balance, which is enhanced by monthly stipends that can be put toward a fitness center membership, home WiFi and cell phone coverage.

One of only three nonprofits to receive the recognition from OUTSIDE, First Descents is also honored to be among the 27 Colorado companies named in the 50 Best Places to Work. This is the seventh year in a row First Descents has been recognized by OUTSIDE as an exceptional workplace – in 2017, 2019 and 2020, FD was named as one of the top 100 companies to work for from across the United States.



First Descents (FD) is a leader in adventure-based healing. Through outdoor adventure, community building and lifestyle development, FD improves long-term survivorship and quality of life for young adults impacted by cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other serious health conditions, as well as for their caregivers. Headquartered in Denver, First Descents has served more than 10,000 participants over the last 23 years. Beginning in 2020, First Descents launched programs for healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVID-19. All services are fully-adaptive and free of charge. A Guidestar Platinum-ranked nonprofit, First Descents has been recognized on CNN Heroes and Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work.


OUTSIDE is America’s leading active lifestyle brand. Since 1977, OUTSIDE has covered travel, sports, adventure, health, and fitness, as well as the personalities, the environment, and the style and culture of the world Outside. The OUTSIDE family includes OUTSIDE magazine, the only magazine to win three consecutive National Magazine Awards for General Excellence, The Outside Buyer’s Guides, Outside Online, the Outside Podcast, Outside Television, Outside Events, Outside for the iPad, Outside tablet edition, Outside Books, and Outside GO, a revolutionary, 21st-century adventure-travel company. Connect with OUTSIDE online: Facebook, X, Instagram and Pinterest.



Meg Herrington

Account Management


970.963.4873 ext. 1240