At the bi-annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, The North Face today announced the final winners of the 2013 Explore Fund grants of up to $25,000, raking in more than 22,000 total votes. The North Face Explore Fund awarded $2,500 to 30 projects dedicated to getting more youth outside and connected to nature in June as part of its annual $250,000 grant program. In addition to this $75,000 commitment, The North Face chose 10 organizations and invited its community to vote on Facebook for the organization of their choice, giving fans a chance to be directly involved in supporting their favorite cause with the largest grants The North Face has ever awarded.
The top five non-profits with the most fan votes will receive a check for $25,000 to continue their work to get more kids outside and support The North Face mission to start a global movement of Outdoor Exploration, including:
•Peak 7 Adventures of Washington, transforming the lives of youth through challenging rock climbing, whitewater rafting, backpacking and mountaineering adventures
•First Descents of Colorado, offering adventure therapy programs to young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer
•Yellowstone Park Foundation of Montana, fostering strength and resilience in underserved teens by giving them a five-day learning opportunity in Yellowstone
•North Cascades Institute of Washington, building the next generation of conservation leaders by providing fun, challenging backcountry expeditions
•Voyaguer Outward Bound School of Minnesota, providing opportunities for urban youth to connect with their inner strength and leadership qualities through outdoor experiences
The remaining five organizations will receive $10,000 grants, including: Explore Austin of Texas, Gedakina of Vermont, Teens to Trails of Maine, Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe, Calif., and Earthstone Climbing Institute of Colorado.
"The every day career, relationship and financial responsibilities of adulthood are stressful enough,” said Sarah Hubbard, director of marketing for First Descents. “Imagine adding a cancer diagnosis. First Descents week-long programs empower participants to face their fears and reclaim their lives through legitimate outdoor challenges. This grant will allow 25 more young adults to attend a surf, kayak or climbing program and connect with others their age fighting the same disease.”
The North Face Explore Fund recipients were chosen based on their commitment to one of three different focus areas: access to front and back country recreation, education for personal and environmental health, and creating a connection to nature that will empower the future leaders of tomorrow.
“It was really exciting to be able to invite our community to be a part of the selection process, and empower our fans who share our passion for getting more kids outside,” said Conrad Anker, The North Face athlete team captain and a member of the Explore Fund steering committee. “Each of these organizations is doing incredible work inspiring the next generation of outdoor explorers and conservationists who will inherit the places we love to explore.”
As part of its mission to start a global movement of Outdoor Exploration, The North Face introduced the Explore Fund (www.explorefund.org) in 2010 and the program has since provided more than $1 Million in grants in the U.S. to more than 300 non-profit organizations committed to inspiring the next generation of outdoor explorers and conservationists.
For more information about the Explore Fund, please visit www.explorefund.org.