New Cohort of Outdoor Grantees Invites Youth Outside

Two boys stand with fishing gear and smile big at the camera
Photo courtesy of The Humble Hustle

Across all of our grant programs, NRF is ultimately working towards a world in which all kids can spend time outside in ways they enjoy and feel prepared to contribute meaningfully to a better future for themselves, their community, and the environment. Our Outdoor Grants program is a core part of that vision. Outdoor Grantees are community-based organizations focused on creating welcoming spaces in the outdoors for young people with marginalized identities. We’ve expanded our Outdoor Grants with support from Tom’s of Maine as part of its Get Into Nature initiative. Our collaboration began in 2021, and since then we’ve allocated $1,842,000 to 60 organizations across 37 states. In 2024 we’re excited to welcome our fifth cohort of grantees comprised of 13 organizations dedicated to getting kids in their communities outside and connected to nature.

A group of young people and adults sit on top of a bus with mountains in the background
Photo courtesy of Bus for Outdoor Access and Teaching

NRF is committed to offering holistic support to grantees in their mission to promote access to nature for young people. We know that financial resources are key, but NRF also offers grantees access to professional development workshops, networking spaces, facilitated peer leadership circles, and custom program evaluation guidance from leading researchers in the field. These additional forms of support can be especially significant for small, community-based organizations that might not otherwise be connected to national networks. 

A group of teens walk towards the camera on an urban greenway
Photo courtesy of Latinos Progresando

It’s also well documented that systemic discrimination plays a role in creating barriers to those networks. A particular focus of our Outdoor Grants program is reaching organizations that are led by people of color and serve youth of color. Across all of our cohorts almost 80% of grantees have programs that are specifically designed for BIPOC youth and 70% of organizations are BIPOC-led. It’s important for kids to see themselves in their role models and know that their experiences and identities are being taken into account by the adults around them. 

Two kids sit in a field writing in notebooks
Photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada Journeys

We’re enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute to this important work and grateful to our grantees for trusting us to be a small part of their stories. We look forward to our engagement with each grantee and are grateful to Tom’s of Maine for the financial support that has allowed us to scale up our Outdoor Grants program.