Grants that enable outdoor exploration and protect the environment.

Explore Fund

Grants that enable outdoor exploration and protect the environment.

Photo credit: Kate Webber
taken of City Kids Wilderness Project

We love exploring the outdoors and our desire to share this passion drives The North Face Canada® Explore Fund™.

One of the major ways the Explore Fund supports outdoor exploration is through an annual open-grants cycle. We’re looking for innovative ideas, both large and small in scale, that are changing the way we think about outdoor participation, accessibility, and protection of the environment. Since 2010, this program has given $2.75 million to more than 500 nonprofits and we’re thrilled to support more in 2018.

Eligibility

We’re excited to receive applications from passionate groups looking to increase participation in the outdoors and work in innovative ways to protect our environment. Before applying, organizations must meet these initial criterial:

Organizations must be designated and registered as a charitable organization, private foundation or public foundation by CRA's Charities Directorate

Be based and operate in Canada. Projects outside of Canada do not qualify.

Explore Fund
Photo Credit: Maxime Messier

Program Categories

The Explore Fund grants are offered in two main categories. We ask that you complete the application that most aligns with your project.

Enabling New Explorers

Introducing under-represented communities to outdoor adventures, in potentially new and interesting ways, is core to this program category. We want to work with nonprofits that are helping change the narrative of outdoor exploration. Ideal programs are working towards that goal in ways that could include teaching independence and self-awareness through outdoor adventures, demonstrating partnership and trust through outdoor activities, and developing outdoor leaders through innovative programing and trips to public lands. If your program seeks to develop new outdoor adventurers, this category is for you.

Click HERE to apply.

For additional information on what we do and do not accept with our grant program, please visit the FAQ.

Explore Fund
Photo Credit: Maxime Messier

Funding

Applicants may apply for up to $5,000 in grant funding and a minimum of $2,000.

For budget questions, please visit the FAQ.

Explore Fund
Photo credit: Maxime Messier

2018 timeline*

The 2018 Explore Fund application is open from May 7 THROUGH June 8 at 11:59pm ET.

Explore Fund Explore Fund

*The timeline is subject to change.


Evaluation

There is no one size fits all approach to increasing outdoor participation and protection of the outdoors which is why we encourage a diversity of projects. When evaluating proposals, our committee looks at the following three guidelines:

Impact

How well does the program:

  • Create new and innovative approaches to participation, access, and/or environmental protection.
  • Work toward inviting new, diverse, and/or underserved communities to participate in the outdoors.
  • Show a positive benefit to participants and/or the environment in tangible, measurable ways.
  • Provide opportunities for future or reoccurring outdoor and/or environmental stewardship opportunities.
  • Demonstrate a history of working with their target audience.

Values

How clearly does the program:

  • Welcome new and diverse groups to the outdoors.
  • Encourage responsible participation the outdoors.
  • Focus on providing the community being served with opportunities for reflection and deeper connection with outdoor activity and/or environmental work.
  • Show authenticity in executing their work.
  • Align with the spirit of exploration and activities supported by The North Face.

Design

How well does the application and proposed project:

  • Clearly define its plan and goals.
  • Differentiate itself from other programs or programs in its geographic region.
  • Have a plan for outreach to their target community.
  • Staff their program appropriately.
  • Provide a detailed and appropriate budget.

Factors such as geographic diversity of applicants are taken into consideration when making funding decisions. See the FAQ for additional details.

Explore Fund
Photo Credit: Maxime Messier

FAQ

Eligibility Questions

  • What types of projects are prohibited from applying for an Explore Fund grant?
      • " Organizations that are not designated and registered as a charitable organization, private foundation or public foundation by CRA's Charities Directorate
      • Programs without a significant outdoor component or activities that are not aligned with the activities and interests of The North Face.
      • General outdoor day camps or summer camps unless outdoor recreation activities or skill building are core and significant to the overall purpose/mission. Outdoor camps serving under-resourced and/or under-represented population may apply.
      • Projects focused on research, white papers, and conferences
      • Endowment or capital fund campaigns
      • Ropes courses, museum and aquarium trips
      • Dancing and art classes
      • Advocacy or political campaigns
      • Sustainability, green building projects, or landscape projects
      • Expeditions
      • Land acquisitions or conservation easements
      • Salaries.
      • Wildlife and ocean conservation focused projects
      • Agricultural and food waste focused projects
      • Most summer camps scholarships
      • Film, video, book or movie projects
      • Marketing or awareness raising projects
      • Festivals
      • Projects outside the Canada
  • My organization is not a 501(c)3. What is a qualified fiscal sponsor?
    • A qualified fiscal sponsor has 501(c)3 status and would be responsible for applying for the grant, managing funding, and reporting.

  • Can schools apply?
    • All organizations must be designated and registered as a charitable organization, private foundation or public foundation by CRA's Charities Directorate.

  • What types of outdoor activities does The North Face prefer to see in an application?
    • Projects with strong outdoor engagement in activities such as skiing, snowboard, snowshoeing, climbing (indoor or outdoor), kayaking, white water rafting, camping, backpacking, and hiking among other outdoor sports that align with The North Face are preferred.

      Summer camp scholarships, ropes courses and projects that are primarily in-class room with outdoor aspects are generally not funded.

  • How does the Explore Fund define underserved and underrepresented populations?
    • Applicants will have the opportunity to define and describe how they are serving an under-represented or under-resourced population. This description may vary from one community to another.

  • Can land trusts apply?
    • Yes, but funding cannot be used to purchase land. Land trust that have applied in the past use the funding for environmental stewardship programs.

  • Do you provide grants for international programs or organizations?
    • At this time, the Explore Fund provides grant to Canadian nonprofits and programs only.

  • Am I required to purchase The North Face equipment for my program?
    • No, you are not required purchase The North Face equipment.

  • When evaluating applications, what other factors does the review committee consider?
    • Applications are evaluated generally against annually updated funding priorities, and specifically as to program impact, values, design, 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 or resubmit an application.

      Explore Fund grants support nonprofits in partnership with The North Face; groups that are nominated by The North Face vendor partners and select internal business units; and through an annual open grant application cycle. Factors such as geographic diversity of applicants are taken into consideration too when making funding decisions.

Budget Questions

Timeline

Application Help and Guidance