Together Outdoors (TO), a coalition of more than 100 outdoor recreation organizations committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the outdoors, announced nine recipients of its pilot round of grants. In total, 84 proposals requesting $775,000 were submitted for this inaugural grant cycle from a broad range of inclusion-focused initiatives designed to build a more accessible and welcoming outdoor ecosystem. Funding for the grant program is made possible by contributions from partner organizations including THOR Industries, Airstream, and Winnebago Industries Foundation. Airstream added another $25,000, more than doubling grant funding to $54,000 during this cycle.
This round’s grantees, all working in unique ways to encourage outdoor participation, include:
- Arizona: Atabey Outdoors is a Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led nonprofit organization in Phoenix that provides organized outdoor adventures to BIPOC youth in the area. The grant will specifically help with capacity building, in addition to the launch of a Junior Outdoor Mentor Program, consisting of three cohorts of 13–17-year-old BIPOC youth who will be trained to become future mentors and leaders.
- Georgia: Center for Recreation Education Arts Technology and Enterprise (CREATE, Inc.) is a nonprofit that provides programs to underserved populations within the Middle-Georgia region. CREATE Outdoor Adventures includes development of a gear library, a demonstration campsite and various outdoors skills/leadership workshops.
- Kentucky: Pathfinders of Perry County is a non-profit citizen action group that promotes community well-being, engagement, outdoor recreation and education. The grant will support development and implementation of an experiential/environmental education pilot program in partnership with two schools in the community designed to take 20-25 youths from underrepresented and/or impoverished backgrounds who lack access to recreation opportunities on trips to local trails, state parks and natural areas.
- New Jersey: Bergen County LGBTQ+ Alliance is a nonprofit with a mission to advocate for equality and resources for the LGBTQ+ community. The grant will support the creation of an outdoor recreation-focused Day Camp launching in summer 2023 for local LGBTQ+ identifying teens.
- New Mexico: Fly Fish NM is a nonprofit based in Albuquerque created to provide Fly Fishing opportunities for youth who would otherwise not be able to participate in outdoor fishing experiences due to economic inability or limited access to the outdoors. Grant funding will support the purchase of fly rod kits for an additional 40-50 future participants and other program costs.
- New York: Hoods to Woods Foundation works to provide free year-round indoor and outdoor snowboarding programs to youth in underserved communities in the New York City tri-state area to tackle the lack of diversity in winter sports.
- New York: N8V Trails & Tales is a start-up initiative being developed by Ionah M. Elaine Scully (Cree Métis, Michel First Nation), a doctoral student in Cultural Foundations of Education at Syracuse University focused on Indigenous land pedagogy and outdoor recreation. The grant will support capacity building, the creation of resources and development of a gear library.
- North Carolina: ParaCliffHangers is a nonprofit that empowers people with all types of disabilities through adaptive rock climbing. Grant funding will support the creation of a new chapter in central North Carolina called “NC Triangle PCH” that will build and foster a local indoor adaptive climbing program, including a dedicated scholarship fund to support entrance and other climbing gym related fees to ensure programming is financially, as well as physically accessible.
- Virginia: Humble Hikes, a program of the Humble Hustle Company is a Roanoke-based initiative that aims to expose black youth to the outdoors. The grant will specifically support capacity building and providing outdoor recreation trips (hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping, fishing and more) for 20-25 youth per trip, along with collaboration in the Roanoke City Schools for afterschool programming.
For more information, visit togetheroutdoors.com.