SEATTLE, Aug. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its commitment to create access to the outdoors for all, REI has invested $1 million in organizations across the country that are creating opportunities to connect women and girls to nature.
In May, REI launched an expansive, consumer-facing effort called Force of Nature to advance gender equity in the outdoors and encourage millions of its members to embrace the outdoors as "the world's largest level playing field." As part of the effort, REI committed $500,000 to three national, women-focused nonprofits with whom it already had a relationship, including Camber Outdoors($400,000), GirlTrek($50,000) and the YMCA's GOLD initiative ($50K). It also launched the $500,000 Force of Nature Fund, which extends the co-op's existing work with women-focused nonprofits into new territory.
Twenty-six nonprofits were selected from over 500 organizations that responded to REI's open call for submissions. Those 26 investments announced today will help address obstacles the co-op found in a national study it commissioned on women and the outdoors.
"We believe a life outdoors is a life well lived for all. That means we support equality from the backcountry to the boardroom," says Jerry Stritzke, REI's president and CEO. "REI works with hundreds of nonprofits annually to help communities connect with the outdoors, and protect the places we love. A core part of our business model links the co-op's health to investments in the outdoor community. As we thrive, we share this success. This year, with Force of Nature, we added a specific focus on groups that are creating new and inspiring ways to advance gender equity and inclusion using the outdoors as a platform. The Force of Nature Fund helped us identify hundreds of organizations doing incredible work, and we're proud to partner with our new grantees to learn and be inspired."
REI selected the following 26 nonprofit organizations to receive grants totaling $500,000. Awards were based on the fund's eligibility criteria. Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000.
American Women Veterans Foundation
American Women Veterans Leaders' Program
Sun Valley, Idaho/National
Arizona Trail Association
Arizona Trail Gear Girls
Big City Mountaineers
Girls' Mentored Wilderness Expeditions
National (based in Golden, Colo.)
Casting for Recovery
National Outdoor Retreat Program for Women with Breast Cancer
National (based in Bozeman, Mont.)
City Kids Wilderness Project
Women Outdoor Leaders
Washington D.C., Jackson, Wyo.
Cycles for Change
Youth Apprenticeship Bicycle Leadership program
St. Paul, Minn.
Environmental Traveling Companions
Boundless Adventures Project for Girls
Greater San Francisco area
Six Year Girl Program
Girls Inc. of Chattanooga
Diversity and Health in the Outdoors
Girls Inc. of Santa Fe
Santa Fe, N.M.
A Month of Gutsy Goals
Girls on outdoor Adventure for Leadership and Science (GALS)
Hike it Baby
Trails For All: Women's & Girl's Initiative
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.
Young Women at the Helm
Ice Age Trail Alliance
Trailtessa – An Ice Age Trail Alliance Tribe
Insight Garden Program
Reconnecting Incarcerated Women to Nature from the Inside-Out
Greater San Francisco area
Inspiring Girls Expedition
Inspiring Girls Expeditions: Girls on Rock and Beyond
Latino Outdoors - Community Initiatives
Estamos Aqui- Latina Force of Nature Ambicultural Leadership
National (based in San Francisco)
National Parks Conservation Foundation
EmpowHER for National Parks
L.A., Calif., San Antonio, Texas
Outdoor Women's Alliance
Connecting Women to Rewrite the Outdoor Narrative
National (based in Salt Lake City, Utah)
Sisterhood of Stewards: Healing Benefits of the Outdoors
Rocking the Boat
Girls Education and Leadership Development on the Bronx River
Changing the Face of the Outdoors: Giving Opportunities to All Girls
Salt Lake City, Utah
Skate Like a Girl
Skate Like a Girl Public Skateboard Clinics
Seattle, Portland, Ore.
West Town Bikes
Leave No Girls Inside!
Young Women Empowered
Y-WE Nature Connections
This investment is part of REI's broader community investment strategy, which contributed more than $9M in 2017 to nonprofits at the heart of the outdoor community. Since 1976, REI has invested more than $80 million to steward our nation's public lands, trails, and waterways, and to promote youth development, health and wellness in the outdoors. REI continues to support these efforts through invitation-only grants. For more information, visit: https://www.rei.com/stewardship/creating-access.
About the REI Co-op REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation's largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 16 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 150 stores in 36 states. If you can't visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI-Garage.com or the free REI shopping app. REI isn't just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs more than 170 custom-designed itineraries worldwide. The REI Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.