The North Face Announces Explore Fund™ Grant Program to Reconnect Children with Nature

Partners announce more than $100,000 funding available to Outdoor Nation Youth Summit Delegates and other groups helping to reconnect children with nature.
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OUTDOOR NATION, NEW YORK, NY—June 20, 2010—The North Face today announced Explore Fund™ (www.explorefund.org), a grant-giving program committed to supporting nonprofit, community organizations that break down the barriers to getting youth outdoors. The North Face announced details of the program at the first ever Outdoor Nation Youth Summit in New York City.

“Today's young skiers, campers, runners and climbers are tomorrow’s outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists,” said Steve Rendle, President of The North Face and VF Outdoor Americas. “We are providing education, access and connection through ongoing events, funding and PlanetExplore—an online community that helps individuals and families discover local outdoor recreational activities. Our goal is to get more people outside, having fun and exploring their world in ways that are meaningful to them.”

Longtime partner The Conservation Fund also announced a $50,000 matching grant to the Outdoor Foundation to be used with the Explore Fund to support concepts generated by the Outdoor Nation delegates.

For the first time, the Outdoor Nation event brings together a delegation of 500 young people from each of the 50 states to champion the outdoors. The delegates were selected based on outdoor interest and a commitment to lead local, regional and national efforts that will reconnect youth and the outdoors.

“Reconnecting young people with the outdoors is critical for the health of our population, our economy and our environment. It’s time for a new Outdoor Revolution and we need young people to step up and lead. Thanks to the Outdoor Foundation, The North Face and our many other partners, the delegates at the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit will for the first time be able to do just that,” said Larry Selzer, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund.”

“Recent high profile government initiatives like the America’s Great Outdoors program and the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign are part of a national trend to encourage Americans – especially youth – to lead healthier lifestyles and reconnect with nature. Across the country programs are trying to get kids outside and moving; however, few programs are focused on young people as leaders,” said Chris Fanning, Executive Director, The Outdoor Foundation. “Outdoor Nation and the Explore Fund initiatives are two of the first efforts that aim to empower youth to champion outdoor change in their communities and on their campuses.”

Outdoor Nation Youth Festival and Summit, presented by The North Face, is a two-day event in Central Park where youth leaders from across the country are participating in activities and learning how to engage in community organizing around outdoor activation. The event combines outdoor activities and outdoor advocacy to raise awareness about the important role that the outdoors and recreational activities play in healthy active lifestyles.

Explore Fund (www.explorefund.org) applications will be accepted online and vetted by a youth advisory council and issue experts that will determine the most promising projects. The grants will be up to $2,500 and awarded in the fall.

The North Face®

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company's products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.

About The Conservation Fund

The Conservation Fund is dedicated to advancing America's land and water legacy. With our partners, we conserve land, train leaders and invest in conservation at home. Since 1985, it has helped protect more than 6 million acres, sustaining wild havens, working lands and vibrant communities. http://www.conservationfund.org

Outdoor Nation

As part of a broader national initiative, Outdoor Nation and its community of ‘Outsiders’ are committed to increasing and expanding youth participation through entertainment, education, engagement and action – especially among urban communities and communities of color – resulting in a healthier, more active generation.

About The Outdoor Foundation

The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through ground-breaking research, action-oriented convening and outreach and education programs, the Foundation is working with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In 2010, the Foundation launched Outdoor Nation -- a ground-breaking initiative that aims to empower youth to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities. For more information visit www.outdoorfoundation.org.

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