Adventurer Raises $60,000 via Everesting Challenge

PARK CITY, Utah – Miami’s Steven Tonkinson hiked the elevation of Mount Everest last weekend to raise awareness and funding for the global disaster relief organization ShelterBox.  

Tonkinson, who lives in Coconut Grove, ascended 29,029 feet in just 30 hours, all while wearing a 25-pound ShelterBox on his back. And he has raised $60,000 for the effort so far, smashing his goal of $29,029 – or one dollar for every foot of altitude he climbed.  

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and essential items following disasters or in prolonged conflicts. Tonkinson is a member of the ShelterBox Response Team, a highly trained group that deploys around the world. He has deployed 15 times, including to Sri Lanka, Fiji, and Haiti.  

“I know firsthand the value and importance of what we do,” Tonkinson said. “There’s over 130 million people displaced from their homes right now. That number is growing with every disaster, war, conflict, or drought that’s impacting our world. It’s important we know that organizations like ShelterBox are helping those who have lost their home.” 

ShelterBox USA President Kerri Murray cheered Tonkinson’s efforts and said he embodies what makes ShelterBox’s volunteers so special.  

“We are blown away by Steven,” Murray said. “This is just the latest example of his dedication to our mission — a world where no family is without shelter after disaster. Steven has helped countless families around the world who have lost everything in an instant following a disaster. Everything Steven does for ShelterBox goes above and beyond, and this is no exception.” 

ShelterBox was launched in 2000 by a Rotary Club in Cornwall, England. Since then, it has helped more than 2 million people, responding to more than 300 disasters or conflicts in nearly 100 countries, often by sending its iconic green ShelterBox filled with a tent and other aid items to the world’s most hard to reach places. Recently, ShelterBox has provided thousands with mattresses, tools, and other essentials in Ukraine, as well as those forced from their homes by the drought and famine in Eastern Africa. 

Tonkinson is no stranger to endurance sports, or doing them with a large green ShelterBox strapped to his back. He has run the Miami Marathon or Half Marathon every year for the last 20 years, including completing the full marathon while hauling a ShelterBox. 

He is also a ShelterBox USA ambassador, inductee of its fundraising Hall of Fame and, and serves on its Board of Directors. This quest made him ShelterBox’s first official “Adventurer,” a new program for volunteers to take on feats and raise awareness for the global charity.  

Tonkinson, a Miami native, was initially drawn to ShelterBox after his family lost its home in 1992’s Hurricane Andrew.  

“It was amazing to see the impact a disaster like that can have on a community. The level of devastation, and how a community can come together in these times of crisis and really help each other out,” he said. “I was so amazed by that.” 

He has been volunteering for ShelterBox since 2008. He hopes everyone who sees him with the green box on his back while training or during the event, will develop a connection with the organization.  

“We need to think more globally and be a global community,” he said. “ShelterBox does that, and in a special and specific way. I hope people learn about that and want to be involved.” 

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Holly Rickett, an emergency response legal expert and county attorney, has joined ShelterBox’s Board of Directors.


Dr. Richard Columbia, an international development expert with over 40 years of experience, has joined the Board of Directors at ShelterBox USA.


Noaman Sharief has joined the Board of Directors at ShelterBox USA in the role of Treasurer.