Evaluation Process

Evaluation Process

Applications are evaluated generally against annually updated funding priorities, and specifically as to program impact, values, design, organizational and funding capacity as well as the alignment to the mission and funding goals of The North Face.

Should questions arise through the review process, applicants may be contacted to provide clarification.  Organizations should demonstrate how their program(s) provide participants with experiences that nurture an enduring appreciation of the outdoors.  Programs that support reoccurring outdoor engagement, or that offer pathways for future participation, and increase diversity and access to the outdoors are favored. The North Face reserves the right to make funding choices based on the following, but not limited to the criteria below:


How well does the proposal encourage outdoor participation and focus primarily on one (or more) of the following three areas:

  • Provide participants experiences that nurture an enduring appreciation of the outdoors; support reoccurring outdoor engagement, or pathways for future participation
  • Use outdoor exploration as the catalyst for positive personal or societal change, such as increasing personal resilience, overcoming health obstacles, improving opportunities for life success and nurturing interest in conservation activities
  • Complete environmental stewardship projects in a way that fosters a lasting desire to care for the environment
  • Encourage participants to try new outdoor activities that are core to The North Face and its passion for outdoor exploration and adventure, including camping, hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, snowboarding, yoga, running and mountain biking


How well does the proposal:

  • Inspire outdoor exploration and align to the spirit of adventure embodied by The North Face and the activities it supports
  • Welcome individuals and families from diverse communities, and participants new to the outdoors or learning new outdoor activities
  • Encourage responsible participation in outdoor activities and encourages minimum environmental impact/Leave No Trace principles


How well does the proposal:

  • Define the audience/community served
  • Accurately project the number of participants served based on funding levels
  • Provide specific goals, objectives as well as anticipated outcomes and success measurements
  • Demonstrate a compelling programmatic approach to engaging people in a meaningful and lasting appreciation of the outdoors 

Organizational and Funding Capacity

How well does the organization show:

  • Stability and ability to execute the project over the grant cycle
  • Strength of reputation and leadership in the outdoor community
  • Sustainable budget and appropriate allocation of expenses for programming; efficient cost per participant; and ability to attract ongoing funding from multiple sources
  • Level of funding needed to enhance and grow the organization and/or program needs. Programs that can show how an Explore Fund grant could enhance or elevate a program beyond current capacity are favored
  • Track record of success or capabilities that provide confidence in quality grant implementation
  • Ability to conduct effective outreach and communicate program value