The Neighborhood Hotel NOLS Scholarship

The Neighborhood Hotel Founder, Jonathan Gordon, on a NOLS trip 20+ years ago.

The Neighborhood Hotel team is comprised of outdoor enthusiasts. We love adventure and want to do whatever we can to support others who crave exploration. The National Outdoor Leadership School [NOLS] is one of our favorite organizations [you can find a few NOLS books in our Grand Beach suites] as they teach kids leadership, teamwork, and wilderness skills through expeditions into our nation’s most inspiring places. During college, The Neighborhood Hotel Founder, Jonathan Gordon, was fortunate to complete a NOLS Wyoming Wind River Wilderness course, which led to his lifelong love of the outdoors. “NOLS firmly communicated crucial values like: always be prepared, how personal and group goals can be achieved together, and how those lessons taught in the wilderness translate into the front country,” Gordon says.

A few years ago, The Neighborhood Hotel Grand Beach hosted a Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast with Zingerman’s Cornman Farms. This breakfast raised enough money to create The Neighborhood Hotel Scholarship for NOLS which was awarded to Addison, 19, from Rockford, Michigan. Addison completed the Rockies to Baja Year Course where they actively engaged in wilderness education, environmental stewardship and leadership development. The experiences gained during this course are invaluable and will undoubtedly be carried forward into their future endeavors and life experiences. This unique NOLS course includes Backpacking in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, Wilderness First Aid, Rock Climbing in Colorado, Exploring the Canyons of Utah plus Sailing and Sea Kayaking in Baja, Mexico. 

The Neighborhood Hotel Grand Beach is offering the Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast again this year on Sunday, May 10th from 9:30am – 11:30am EST. Add a $50 donation to NOLS when you book a room for Mother’s Day weekend (May 8th-10th) at The Neighborhood Hotel New Buffalo or Grand Beach. The Neighborhood Hotel team is excited to raise money for a second NOLS scholarship and looks forward to one day designing our own NOLS Company Trip!

The next generation of NOLS grads doing some bedtime reading @ TNBHD Grand Beach!

NOLS scholarships exist to provide financial support to deserving students in their pursuit of growing their wilderness and leadership skills. By offering these generous need-based scholarships, NOLS continues to demonstrate their commitment to leadership, safety, community and excellence. Each of the students who completes a NOLS course has incredible potential to use the skills they learn in deeply impactful ways. The journey from learning wilderness medicine to fostering risk management, and from developing an environmental ethic to igniting a passion for exploration, represents the diverse skill set acquired through NOLS courses. Throughout the 2023 fiscal year, NOLS awarded over $1.1 Million in scholarships to 694 individuals throughout 42 states and 12 countries. 

Scholarship recipients participated in the following programs: 

-Access Partners: By partnering with youth mentoring organizations nationwide, this program empowers students from communities that are under-represented and under-resourced in the outdoors.


-Expeditions: Introduce novice explorers to the outdoors and provide veteran explorers opportunities to hone their skills.


-Instructor Courses: Ensure that passionate outdoor educators are equipped to pursue a fulfilling career with NOLS teaching and leading on Expeditions.

-Wilderness Medicine: Students learn potentially life saving skills, from initial training for outdoor enthusiasts to highly skilled certificates for outdoor professionals. 

I came to NOLS through a scholarship opportunity. My NOLS Course to this day is one of the most transformative things I have ever done – it inspired me to return and build a career with NOLS. It has helped me witness the joys of life and bear the burdens of death. It has taught me to stay calm in the face of hardship and that practice and perseverance is a valuable discipline. It has taught me to be kind and curious, to be compassionate to myself and to love others. Now here I am, with an abundance of gratitude for the person who supported me – from the bottom of my heart I say thank you.

-Amy Tillotson, 2023 NOLS Instructor 

I was mentally and physically challenged, but left with an immense feeling of self confidence. I find myself appreciating the small things much more and I am now able to live with much less.” 

Sasha, NOLS Participant 

Not only did I gain practical and physical skills that will help me be a more effective leader and educator, but I developed a deep sense of personal trust and confidence, and that is invaluable. 

-Allison, NOLS Participant 

About The Neighborhood Hotel

The Neighborhood Hotel was founded by travel enthusiasts who enjoy spaces that inspire, comfort and fuel. Each suite is well equipped for short and longterm stays (i.e. kitchenettes, laundry, etc.). The Neighborhood Hotel aims to transform old buildings with cool history into well outfitted apartment style hotels that honor the old while representing the now. The vibe is fresh + fun with rooms that are stocked to support everyone from the homebody to the adventurer. The Neighborhood Hotel serves as a basecamp for the explorer and a sanctuary for the traveler who needs to recharge, reset or just chill.The suites are simple + clean punctuated by accents that bring the right amount of pop. The Neighborhood Hotel has locations in: Lincoln Park, Little Italy, West Loop (2025 opening), New Buffalo, MI and Grand Beach, MI.

Read about us in Architectural Digest, Midwest Living, and CN Traveler at the link here: Media


We've got news. Great news.
Coming Soon:
The Neighborhood Little Italy
Where welcome drinks come in the form of bold espresso + crisp prosecco. We can't wait
Chi? [Who]
The Neighborhood Hotel
Cosa? [What]
Warmth, bellezza, history. The cornerstones of Italian culture that The Neighborhood Little Italy captures in its third + largest location with 35 suites (Studio - 2 bedrooms).
Quando? [When]
Spring/Summer 2023
Dove? [Where]
In the heart of Little Italy! Here, you're nestled in a neighborhood with an old world feel that seamlessly welcomes the new and modern. Plus, the most bustling parts of the city are just a stone's throw away and easily accessible on foot/public transit! Places like: The Illinois Medical District + Fulton Market + West Loop + UIC + The United Center + the Loop.
Perché? [Why]
To experience fun, adventure, and comfort!
Come? [How]
Our buildings have stories ingrained in the walls (in a non-creepy way) - stories that are meant to be told and shared. The Neighborhood Little Italy was formerly the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame which honored the greatest Italian-American athletes, broadcasters, and sports workers to benefit athletics in the United States. Once again, we've fallen for a space outfitted with cool history + architecture. Grateful to all of the hard workers and supporters who are turning another NEIGHBORHOOD HOTEL vision/dream into reality!
The Neighborhood Little Italy building design
Rebel House is nailing the design. Soaring ceilings give way to chic urban lofts with sophisticated Italian villa vibes. the top floor's outdoor terraces feature captivating views of the city and the piazza across the street. La vita é bella.
Stay Connected
Keep up to date with all of our latest news!