SEATTLE, Aug. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- This year, REI will build upon a long-standing commitment to maintain the outdoors and help people connect with recreational opportunities by awarding $4.6 million in grants to more than 300 nonprofit organizations.
The majority of the investments will support local organizations that are enhancing more than 650 parks, trails and waterways across the country – places enjoyed by the co-op's members, employees and other adventurers. Additional grants from REI will help fund national and regional nonprofit programs that support outdoor activities like urban cycling, mountain biking, backcountry skiing and climbing. Through The REI Foundation, the retailer will also partner with several nonprofits to engage younger and more diverse populations in outdoor recreation.
"At REI, we want to share our passion for outdoor recreation far and wide. But to have fun outdoors, you have to have great places to go," said Marc Berejka, director of Government & Community Affairs at REI. "In partnership with our employees and more than 5 million members, we're dedicated to supporting nonprofits that sustain popular outdoor spaces and keep them accessible for generations to come."
Over the past decade, REI and The REI Foundation have awarded more than $37 million in grants to nonprofits. The co-op's 2014 contributions will support dedicated organizations such as:
- American Alpine Club – cultivating healthy climbing landscapes and empowering local climbing communities through programs like Cornerstone Conservation Grants;
- Atlanta BeltLine Partnership – providing a cleaner, safer environment for the more than 1 million residents and visitors who bicycle, run and hike on the BeltLine Corridor each year;
- Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance – creating and protecting sustainable mountain biking opportunities in Washington state, including at East Tiger Mountain, Duthie Hill Park, Swan Creek Park and beyond;
- Friends of the Chicago River – partnering with businesses, community groups, schools, government agencies and others to improve the health of the Chicago River for the benefit of people and wildlife;
- Friends of the High Line – maintaining and expanding New York City's High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan's West Side;
- Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy – mobilizing volunteers in Southern California to restore and maintain 1,600 acres of public coastal open space, including over 40 miles of recreational trails;
- The Trustees of Reservations – preserving areas of exceptional scenic, historic and ecological value in the state of Massachusetts, including 320 miles of recreational trails;
- Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado – enabling outdoor lovers to participate in more than 55 highly diverse service opportunities in some of the most popular outdoor locations across the state; and
- Washington Area Bicyclist Association – creating a healthier, more livable Washington, D.C. region by helping to plan and construct a key network of bike trails.
All REI grants are made by invitation and local grantee selection is managed by employees in the co-op's store communities. In addition to making financial contributions, each year REI's store teams help mobilize tens of thousands of local volunteers to build trails, clean up beaches and maintain other outdoor spaces.
For more information on REI's community and environmental efforts, visit rei.com/stewardship. To search for upcoming volunteer service activities, visit REI.com/stores, find the nearest REI location, and select "Stewardship" under "Classes and Events."
REI is a $2 billion national multichannel retail co-op headquartered outside of Seattle. With more than 5 million active members, REI serves the needs of outdoor adventurers through innovative, quality products; inspiring classes and trips; and integrated customer service that allows shoppers to buy great gear and clothing in any way they want. REI has 135 stores in 33 states and REI.com and REI.com/outlet. Anyone may shop with REI, while members pay a one-time $20 fee to receive a share in the co-op's profits through an annual member refund based on patronage. Membership in the co-op also includes special promotions and discounts on REI Adventures trips and REI Outdoor School classes.