Announcing the 2016 Explore Fund Grantees
Spending time in the outdoors is transformative. For the past 50
years, this has been one of The North Face brand’s core beliefs. Yet,
despite the outdoors’ known benefits, many people today spend much of
their time inside. The 2016 Explore Fund grantees are bucking this
trend and inspiring people to harness the power of the outdoors to
improve the lives of individuals, communities, and the environment.
This year’s Explore Fund grantees are an exceptional group of 45
nonprofits across the U.S. In celebration of the National Park Service
Centennial, organizations showed strong engagement with national and
federally managed lands, which is why nearly 90 percent of 2016’s
award amount went to organizations that operate in these spaces.
Additionally, 16 organizations will support the Every Kid in a
Park initiative by providing meaningful experiences for
4th graders and their families on federal public lands
across the U.S.
The North Face Explore Fund grantees addressed a number of issues
important to increasing everyone’s access to and participation in the
outdoors. Below are profiles of some of the grantees and several
examples of topics addressed.
youth to nature and builds environmental literacy through
experiential science education in national parks. Their Yosemite
National Park program takes K-12 students on first-time experiences
like seeing Half Dome, hiking to a waterfall, or cross-country
skiing to Glacier Point, while teaching environmental
Rocky Mountain Youth
Corps's Let’s Move Outside Initiative engages youth with
meaningful outdoor experiences that build a life-long conservation
ethic. In support of Every Kid in a Park, fourth graders in urban
communities will explore Petroglyph National Monument, learn about
ecology and habitat care, and participate in fun outdoor activities
such as hiking, nature walks, community gardening, and plant
Outdoor Experiences for Under-Resourced Youth
City Kids Wilderness Project is
addressing the lack of participation in, and access and connection
to, the outdoors of under-resourced youth in Washington, D.C. by
tackling this issue at its root. They work directly with these
communities by connecting youth and their families with long-term
active outdoor engagement opportunities, and work to build students'
resilience, broaden their horizons, and ensure students have the
skills for success. The program provides after-school, weekend and
summer outdoor adventure programming like backpacking, canoeing, and
backcountry hiking, as well as job training and college preparation
Sacred Rok leads day and
overnight trips in Yosemite for low income, incarcerated, and foster
youth ages 7 – 21. Participants spend time nature camping, hiking,
rock climbing, learning trail building basics, and environmental
stewardship principals. These trips help youth feel comfortable in
nature in addition to building self-confidence and inspiring respect
for the environment.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
California Conservation Corp Foundation is taking a group of 8
to 10 young women of color between the ages of 18-24 on an
introductory and immersive trip into the backcountry as part of
their Wilderness Diversity Program. The long-term goal is to
increase the number of underrepresented groups working in natural
resource management by providing young women with a meaningful
The Mountaineers is
providing Mountain Workshops in North Cascades National Park and
other outdoor locations for members of the Young Women Empowered
(Y-WE) organization. Y-WE provides mentorship and empowerment
programs for teen women, ages 13-18, in the greater Seattle area.
More than 70 percent of participating Y-WE youth are immigrants to
the United States and 80 percent are women of color. The goal of the
Mountain Workshops is to increase access to the outdoors for
underserved groups that typically do not have access to the
outdoors, including national parks.
Opportunities for People with Adaptive Needs
Sports works to identify, foster, and grow communities of
adaptive climbing and mountaineering athletes across the country.
The grant from The North Face will specifically support the
organization’s Yosemite National Park Experience, which brings
veterans, as well as non-veterans with disabilities together for a
week of climbing in the national park. Funding will also support
the Joshua Tree National Park Experience, which is a first of its
kind program that teaches adaptive climbers the technical skills
they need to increase their climbing independence.
Breckenridge Outdoor Education
Center's (BOEC) mission is to increase opportunities for
people with physical and cognitive disabilities, serious illnesses
and other special needs through meaningful, educational and
inspiring outdoor experiences. Their program will provide youth with
special needs and chronic illnesses the opportunity to experience
skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, rafting, canoeing, and many
other outdoor activities.
The North Face Explore Fund is proud to support the work of these
nonprofits working in meaningful ways to get people outdoors and active.
To read the 2016 Explore Fund press release, click here.