The North Face Explore Fund encourages community to vote to award $25,000 to FIRST DESCENTS

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Denver, CO— July 9, 2013 The North Face, has named FIRST DESCENTS a 2013 Top 10 Explore Fund grantee recipient for the largest Explore Fun grant to-date and have selected the organization to receive up to $25,000. Beginning today, The North Face encourages the community to vote on Facebook for the organization of their choice, giving fans a chance to be directly involved in supporting valuable causes.

The Explore Fund’s mission is to inspire and enable the next generation of explorers by funding non-profit organizations that are working to connect children with nature. By encouraging an active, healthy lifestyle and protection of our natural landscapes, a stronger connection between youth and the outdoors can be nurtured.

FIRST DESCENTS empowers young adult cancer fighters and survivors to push their limits and challenge themselves through outdoors experiences in order to regain confidence and self-efficiency lost to cancer. To do this, the organization will again host more than 40 multi-day programs both domestically and internationally that challenge participants through outdoor activities like kayaking, climbing or surfing. Because of the mission, FIRST DESCENTS was selected from more than 500 applications submitted in 2013. View FIRST DESCENTS’ video anthem and vote for FIRST DESCENTS on The North Face Facebook page.

“We are thrilled, and thankful to be selected as a finalist among so many incredible organizations,” says FIRST DESCENTS founder and CEO, Brad Ludden. “I have seen our programs change the lives of young people with cancer. And, we will expand our reach and create even more meaningful and empowering programs in the future with the help of a grant like this.”

FIRST DESCENTS was established in 2001 to give young adults fighting and surviving cancer empowerment to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same. FIRST DESCENTS has hosted 46 multi-day outdoor adventure programs in 2012 that reached around 500 young adults in the U.S. In 2013, more than 40 programs will be completed all over the world, with a limit of 15 participants per program in order to provide an intimate experience that allows individuals to grow, discover and redefine themselves in a supportive environment.

All of 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. The Top 10 organizations put together a video “anthem” about themselves and how they connect youth to the outdoors. After votes are tallied, the Top Five organizations will be awarded $25,000 and the remaining non-profits will receive $10,000 grants.

View FIRST DESCENTS’ grantee video and vote for a favorite cause at The North Face Facebook page to support The North Face mission to start a global movement of Outdoor Exploration. Winners will be announced on Aug. 1 at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Since The Explore Fund was initiated in 2010, The North Face has provided more than $1 Million in grants to non-profits all over the world working to connect youth to the outdoors with more than three quarters of that going to programs in the United States.

For more information on this cycle's grantees, please visit www.explorefund.org. Vote for 2013 Top 10 Explore Fund Grantees on The North Face facebook page: http://www.bit.ly/TNFExploreFund

To learn more about FIRST DESCENTS and its programs, visit the website.

About FIRST DESCENTS*

FIRST DESCENTS offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same.

About The North Face®

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in Alameda, 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.

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