My granddaughter is program director of a camp/school for "at-risk" kids from Little Rock, Ark.
The school has a fairly extensive and very effective camping program that is almost backpacking. The trips are to nearby spots, but the kids carry most of their gear, set up their own camp and do their own cooking.
I don't think I have to explain to this group why or how such an approach is effective in developing a positive self-image among youngsters who have rarely seen success, nor the impact of that positive self-image on their ability to learn.
The camp is primarily supported by the Kiwanis Club (big credit to the Kiwanians), and the camping gear is all donated. Problem: The donated tents are all too heavy for the youngsters to pack. Good tents, but close to ten pounds each.
Obviously, there are tents out there that the kids could carry themselves, and that using them would strengthen an already effective program.
I would like to help replace the tents. The problem is that they need about 16 units, and that's more than I can do out of my own pocket. I did a search for grant sources, without a lot of luck. Then it hit me that there might very well be someone who posts here who is more familiar with funding sources.
Talk to the local backpack shop. I asked my local owner if he could offer me a quantity discount in a similar situation, and he gave me about 40% off the price of half a dozen Hubba tents.
I made it very clear I was not asking him to sell them to me at cost; I expected him to make a profit. He was able to reduce his cost because he didn't have to factor any overhead or carrying costs of his inventory (essentially, I caught him when he was about to order, so all he had to do was get them in the back door and hand them to me at the front door the same day.) He was also willing to reduce his profit margin a bit, partly because it was a large single transaction but mostly because he's also into helping local groups get kids outdoors. So, he passed the savings along to me. We all won: it cost me less to get the tents, the kids got better tents for what they were doing, and he made a reasonable profit and built some goodwill (free advertising.)
Another idea would be to make the tents. You could recruit some seamstresses with their machines, maybe ask for some discounted fabric from a source, and even get the kids to help out make their own tents.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.