A collage of photos of people of all shapes, ethnicities, and sizes happily exploring out in nature and connecting as humans.

United to Move the World Forward

June 12, 2020

The world found itself in the midst of a global pandemic and outdoor exploration came to a halt. While this pause affected us all, some of the biggest economic impacts have been felt by communities that serve as the gateways to the parks and trails we love. 

From family and friends who encouraged us to follow our curiosity, to the guides, educators, and volunteers who work tirelessly to fuel an enduring love of exploration, these are the communities we’re working so hard to support. 

 Photos featuring rock climbers, who are problem-solving their way up to different crags and rock faces to find new routes.
Photos provided by American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA)

In March of 2020, we committed $1 million to support outdoor communities across the globe that make exploration possible through our social impact and advocacy platform, the Explore Fund.

Now, we’re excited to share the amazing work already being done in communities as they enable a safe return to outdoors in a world forever changed by the impacts of COVID-19. 

In the U.S., we've partnered with state offices of outdoor recreation to identify and fund the most pressing emergency relief for outdoor communities hit hardest by COVID-19. These donations now benefit food banks, search and rescue organizations, economic relief funds for small businesses, and more. 

We’re also helping to ensure a responsible return to work for outdoor community workers through a new program with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), a non-profit dedicated to education, standards and advocacy for professional guides and climbing instructors. The AMGA is providing a return to work operational checklist, a resource hub which includes regulatory and public health consideration, and strategic mentorship for the individuals who are vital to our first steps outside again, like guides, instructors, nonprofits and other outdoor professionals. 

U.S. STATE PARTNERSHIPS

In recent weeks, we've been working closely with Offices of Outdoor Recreation across the country to support outdoor communities impacted by COVID-19.  Through a collaborative approach, we’re delivering essential needs to help the outdoor community get through these unprecedented times while also helping to bolster the business community and equip infrastructure. 

DELIVERING ESSENTIAL NEEDS

Since the onset of COVID-19, two critical needs quickly rose to the forefront: personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers and basic essentials, such as food and other necessities for outdoor communities suddenly hit with economic insecurity. Through our partnership with Help Make Better 50, and in collaboration with The Renewal Workshop, we were able to provide general protection gowns early to aid those fighting this pandemic. Additionally, we're committed to supporting the following organizations in providing resources, food, hygiene products, and other essential items to the people who call outdoor communities their home.  

  • Colorado Food Banks- The Food Pantry of Chaffee County, Community Food Bank of Grand Junction, Durango Food Bank, Lift Up Routt County: provides meals and services to Mesa, Chaffee, Routt and Grand counties in Colorado
  • GlobalGiving’s Coronavirus Relief Fund: provides resources to communities on the frontlines (this was funded by 100% of the profits from the ‘One World Tee’ developed in collaboration with Supreme®)
  • Lander Community Foundation: supports food security and transportation for local residents impacted by the virus and individuals who have lost their jobs 
  • Utah Dine Bikyah: provides emergency food, water, firewood, hygiene products, and traditional medicine as a part of relief efforts across the Four Corners region; including the Navajo Nation, within the White Mesa community of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and to the Pueblos in New Mexico
  • Help Make Better 50: creates general protection gowns for local workers involved in COVID-19 response efforts in Oregon and Washington, in collaboration with The Renewal Workshop

BOLSTERING BUSINESS COMMUNITIES

Outdoor communities are key to exploration. Shops, restaurants, and outfitters play a crucial role in everything surrounding the outdoor experience. COVID-19 severely impacted recreation economies, threatening businesses, people’s livelihoods, and access to outdoor spaces. By distributing grants to organizations that provide resources and assistance, we can help these communities manage a post-COVID world. 

  • Gateway and Natural Amenity Region Initiative: builds a network of resources for Gateway communities across the West during and after the impacts of COVID-19
  • Michigan Hospitality industry Employee Relief Fund: provides support to displaced employees in Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry 
  • Sierra Business Council Resilience Fund: helps Sierra businesses with short-term and emergency needs through economic support, guidance and resources
  • Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance Recovery Initiative: supports in business recovery assistance through online resource and technical assistance centers, and job searches for out of work and seasonal employees impacted by COVID-19 

EQUIPPING OUTDOOR INFRASTRUCTURE 

As many of us decide to explore locally or head out to more remote areas to disconnect this summer, it’s crucial to ready the employees and volunteers for an even larger influx of recreationalists. New guidelines and safety requirements have increased the need for resources critical to safely reopening outdoor spaces. We’re partnering with the following organizations to support with safety guidelines, training, and PPE for search and rescue, and public park services groups. 

  • Colorado Search and Rescue: sources and distributes proper PPE for search and rescue state and volunteers   
  • King County Search and Rescue: sources and distributes proper PPE for search and rescue state and volunteers    
  • Oregon Recreation and Parks Association: provides microgrants to local parks and recreation facilities to help safely reopen spaces to the public   
  • Oregon State Search and Rescue: provides PPE and training in preparedness for safely reopening outdoor spaces 

The North Face teams around the globe are continuing this work in each of their local communities. We will continue to update the information on this site so that you can learn about all of the amazing partner organizations that work tirelessly to support outdoor exploration on a global scale.

For over 50 years, we've led the world forward through exploration—an action and a mindset capable of uniting us. Exploration has the power to change lives and connect us all. 

We’re immensely grateful to these communities and organizations who make exploration possible, and we can’t wait to get out there together again soon.