Chicago's Palmisano Park
Photo of Sidney Woodruff by Kyle Strand

Creating Paths for Women of Color in Environmentalism

The North Face and The Greening Youth Foundation partner to accelerate women of color into environmental careers with Move Mountains grant.

There aren’t enough women of color in environmental careers. People of color are 36% of the U.S. population, yet are no more than 16% of the staff in environmental NGOs, foundations, and government, according to a Green 2.0 report. Together, The North Face and The Greening Youth Foundation are working to build opportunities for people, particularly among women of color, to get into environmental and conservation careers. The newly formed Women of Color Environmental Leaders grant, will support career development and provide opportunities for women interested in pursuing green careers.

The Greening Youth Foundation (GYF), a woman and minority-founded and led nonprofit, works with youth and young adults to provide environmental and wellness education and pathways to green careers. The new grant program, developed with The North Face, will select college and recent graduate women of color to complete environmental service projects, and provide mentorship and career support opportunities for those women, creating the first step in lifelong careers in environmental and conservation fields. GYF anticipates that projects could include activities such as creating community gardens, improving local parks, or mobilizing community members to respond to an environmental health hazard. These women will have the opportunity to receive funding to both improve their communities, but also immerse themselves in work in environmental fields. “This innovative program is creating significant support and opportunity for women of color in green careers. GYF’s goal is to create a space for women of color to thrive in environmental and conservation careers, and professions on public lands - for the health of people and our lands. I am confident that these public-private partnerships are how we will achieve this goal,” says Angelou Ezeilo, Founder of the Greening Youth Foundation.

“By accelerating young leaders towards careers in conservation, The Greening Youth Foundation is vital to our industry. For nearly a decade, The Explore Fund has been funding smart and innovative nonprofits to bring more equity to the outdoors; this is a compelling continuation of that work,” says Eric Raymond, Director of Social Impact and Advocacy at The North Face. The grant is a part of The North Face Move Mountains Grant Program, an annual grant within The Explore Fund, dedicated to bringing more women outdoor explorers into positions of power by providing funding and a storytelling platform to advance their work and inspire others. This grant award is one of five that will be announced throughout 2019 to advance causes of women leadership within the outdoor industry.

To learn more about the program or to apply, head to Greening Youth Foundation’s Women of Color Environmental Leaders application.