Salt Lake City resident Jim Harris receives $5,616 Empowerment Grant from the Tahoe-based High Fives Foundation

Empowerment Grant will provide Harris personal training at the PEAK Center in Englewood, Colo.

#HighFivesAthlete Jim Harris on his way to Craig Hospital

In November 2014, Jim Harris’ life changed dramatically following a ski accident in Punta Arenas, Chile. The crash found him with a back injury in an unfamiliar hospital in the South American country. Harris took a 19-hour flight to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he underwent a surgery to stabilize the fractures in his back. He remained there for a month before transferring to the world renown spinal center at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo. Harris had fractured four vertebrae and was partially paralyzed from the chest down.

Jim Harris working at PEAK center in Englewood, Colo #HighFivesAthlete

This April Empowerment Grant for Jim Harris will provide him one-on-one personal training utilizing cutting edge technology by the specialized staff at the PEAK Center at Craig Hospital. This highly focused training program will help Jim in his goal to strengthen his legs, core and spine enough to walk again. Jim has already been making major steps towards his recovery. Over the past few week he began walking unassisted and has left his wheelchair behind.

#HighFivesAthlete Jim Harris working out at PEAK center in Englewood, Colo

Jim Harris is an established writer and photographer in the action sports industry. His work has appeared in National Geographic, Powder, Backpacker, Men’s Journal and numerous other publications. Harris’ recent journey to Chile was to prepare for a month-long expedition in the region.

#HighFivesAthlete Jim Harris

Since the High Fives Foundation’s January 2009 inception, the Empowerment program service has assisted 79 athletes from 20 states in nine respective funding categories which include: living expenses, insurance, travel, health, healing network, adaptive equipment, winter equipment, programs and “stoke” (positive energy, outlook and attitude). In 2015, the High Fives Foundation set a budget of disbursing $266,000 via board-approved grants through the Empowerment Fund.

Since January 2015, 18 High Fives Athletes and two organizations have been awarded 22 board-approved grants totaling  $146,793.

In the month of April the High Fives Foundation disbursed $58,361 in board-approved grants — the most in grant funding in a single month in it’s history.

April Empowerment Athletes:
Jim Harris from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Barclay Talbot from Cazenovia, NY.
Jason Abraham from Tahoe City, Calif.
Lindsay Runkel from Westport, Conn.
Bill Winchester from Reno, Nev.
Megan Wemmer from Boulder, Colo.


  1. There’s likely not a family anywhere who doesn’t recognize the expenses when a loved one is ill or injured and in treatment away from home. Thank you High Fives Foundation for your support helping Jim with his rehabilitation needs here at Craig Hospital. His positive attitude and determination to reach the goals he outlined on the High Fives application process are being realized.

  2. The HIGHFIVES Foundation was unknown to me until Jim Harris was terribly injured last winter. What I have learned about your non-profit has opened my eyes about organizations like yours that are so wonderfully supporting for those who have suffered tragic injuries. Without your financial support, many would not achieve the goals they have set for themselves. It also helps to reduce the financial and emotional burden of their families.

    Thank you so VERY much for your work and I hope that it continues for more years than I can count.

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