Today’s youth just got a helping hand in getting outside. The North Face recently awarded its second round of 2011 Explore Fund grants, donating more than $125,000 to 51 projects affecting more than 30,000 children across the nation.
The North Face introduced the Explore Fund (www.explorefund.org) in 2010 and the program has since provided more than half a million dollars in grants to organizations committed to breaking down barriers to getting youth outdoors .
The recent decline of outdoor activity has especially impacted low-income and urban youth. The North Face and the Explore Fund place a great deal of importance on programs that focus on getting a broader audience to push their limits outdoors. This cycle, 60 percent of grants, a total of $77,000, was awarded to outdoor organizations with a focus on increasing diversity.
“Through Girls on Ice, teenage girls gain confidence in their own intellectual and critical thinking skills, technical mountaineering and wilderness skills, and leadership skills. Our free science and mountaineering expeditions allow girls from diverse backgrounds to spend 11 days exploring glaciers and alpine landscapes,” says Marijke Habermann, director of Girls on Ice and ExploreFund recipient. “The North Face funding will help Girls on Ice create not only life-long friendships, but also life-long advocates for the value of science in understanding Alaskan landscapes.”
Fall/Winter funds were granted to organizations across the country that ignite a stronger connection with the outdoors with a focus on:
$70,000 Access to front and back country recreation
$37,000 Connection to nature that will empower the future leaders of tomorrow
$18,000 Education for personal and environmental health
For more details, grantee profiles, highlights and ongoing updates, please visit www.planetexplore.com/explorefund. There you’ll be able to keep up to date with the inspiring works Explore Fund Grantees such as Paradox Sports, The Women’s Wilderness Institute and SkiDUCK are doing.
“We believe in the importance of bringing youth together from diverse backgrounds and providing them with opportunities to get outdoors,” says Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “We support organizations that work to create these opportunities for youth because we’ve seen firsthand how these programs can ignite a passion for the outdoors and teach them the importance of protecting the places we play for generations to come.”