Buy a cookie, fund a skier

Betsy Richert believes the ultimate goal of building a business is not just to do well, but also to do good.

Over the years, Richert has built and sold several businesses—and much of the profit from those endeavors will fund her legacy: the Mountain Tomboy Fund at Adirondack Foundation.

“It’s something that is going to be around long after I’m gone,” she said. “The ultimate goal is to empower young women through Nordic skiing and outdoor activity.”

The fund will make grants that remove financial barriers to participate in cross-country skiing, especially local ski clubs and schools in Keene, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and beyond. “I want to provide young women with lessons, equipment—so parents won’t have to say, ‘We can’t afford it,’” Richert said.

Richert has deep roots in the Adirondacks. Her family—merchants and settlers—established roots here in the 1870s in the Johnsburg area. Then the family went west.

“I’m the first generation to come back to the Adirondacks,” Richert said. “I love the outdoors—hiking, skiing, biking. Four years ago, I was in a car accident and was laid up. One of the things I could still do was bake. And I’ve always been a baker.”

So Richert started a new business: Mountain Tomboy, a bakery that specializes in vegan and gluten-free food, which already has two retails outlets and a budding partnership with Hamilton College.

“Through the college, we’re bringing in young women to bake, learn the ins and outs of running a small business, and also how to sell the product,” Richert said.

Richert’s business is helping young women grow as entrepreneurs, while building the legacy of the Mountain Tomboy Fund.

“It’s the future,” she said.