Adidas and the local community are heroes for Beast Fingers Climbing Gym
, which sits just off Interstate 25 in the Globeville neighborhood.
Aman Anderson started Beast Fingers to support youth in the area, but at the end of 2022, the gym needed help of its own, with financial constraints causing Anderson to have to fundraise in order to pay back rent for November and December and keep the doors open.
“These kids apply this to their normal-day, life-based challenges,” Anderson told Westword in December
. “Because they're constantly problem-solving in this space, they're problem-solving on their tests.”
The gym needed to do some problem-solving of its own, though. It had been sponsored by Adidas in its first years of existence, with the national brand providing funding for operating expenses. But Adidas scaled back its contributions at the end of 2022 as Anderson was in the process of recovering from injuries from a car crash the previous September.
Anderson needed time to get the funds together, but Standard Group, the landlord of the 5280 Broadway property, didn’t want to wait any longer. The company notified Beast Fingers that it must pay its back rent in full, and set a January 18 date in Adams County Court
for an eviction proceeding.
Luckily, things never got that far: When Adidas caught wind of the problem, Anderson says, the company reopened communications about additional support and what it would take to build the gym into a sustainable operation.
“We have an underlying ambition to enable people to live a connected, conscious, and adventurous life – with a focus on access and opportunity where it's typically absent," says Michael Kadous, senior director of the North America division of Adidas. "Rooted in that aim, over the past six years we have partnered with Aman Anderson to support his Beast Fingers mission. In recent years, our support has focused on helping Aman bring to life the Beast Fingers gym to the community of Globeville, and while we cannot comment on the financial specifics of our partnership, our support will continue through 2023, with a focus on the Beast Fingers programs that offer more young people in the Denver area the opportunity to join this community, try climbing and develop their skills in this sport.”
As a result, Beast Fingers, with the help of donations from the public and Adidas, was able to pay up before the court date and will now focus on fundraising for February rent and stabilizing for the rest of 2023.
“The community is really passionate about keeping the gym,” Anderson says. “The fundraiser definitely was stressful, but I think we just tried do our best to make sure that we did everything we could to keep the doors open — and being able to develop more meaningful conversations with Adidas was pretty powerful.
“We’re still not out of the water, but it's getting close,” Anderson adds. “It couldn't have been done without all this support, and all the people that really got behind the gym to make all this happen. And for that, I'm extremely grateful.”
For most of its life, Beast Fingers has served
as an after-school care program for children in the area. Anderson charged between $35 and $70 per month for the service, supervising and coaching young climbers until their parents could pick them up. While he’s tried to save the gym financially, he switched the model to selling $100-per-month memberships targeted at adults to create a membership base.
That base has grown, and that, plus the renewed support from Adidas, makes Anderson hopeful that he can restart the after-school program.
“More than anything, people really want us to bring our youth programs back,” he says.
Officially having a nonprofit arm will also help. Beast Fingers Kids
, the nonprofit arm dedicated to youth programs and supporting the Globeville area, was officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization on December 31, 2022, so any donations made from that point on are tax-deductible.
“Ultimately, the conversation now is who else we can bring in to assist in this work,” Anderson says.
The gym will begin looking for additional sponsors and partners, and it now has the ability to apply for grants to supplement the youth programs close to Anderson’s heart. Until the details of the Adidas partnership are made clearer, which Anderson expects to happen before the end of February, the gym will still need to raise about $3,000 to ensure that February’s rent payment is made on time.
Anderson wants to do everything possible to avoid the potential for more legal action from Standard Group, which did not respond to a request for comment.
“The goal is to stay in Globeville as long as I can and just really build a community,” he says. “This is something that I wish somebody would have put in my ’hood. … There are people who have dreams of doing great work for communities, and I think some people are afraid. My hope is that people will see something like this and realize that if your heart is right and you have a passion to do something for your community, people will get behind you and help make it a reality, because that's what has happened for us.”
Contribute to the fundraiser
or sign up for a membership
on the Beast Fingers website