Today, the Outdoor Foundation launched the Outsiders Ball Project Fund, supporting outdoor projects in retailers’ local communities. The aim of the program is to increase outdoor recreation among youth and young adults across America while also investing in future outdoor customers. The Outdoor Foundation will work in partnership with outdoor retailers to identify and select the funded projects – ensuring local support and project sustainability.
"Retailers often support local programs with product donations and volunteer time which are two critical elements to any program getting off the ground,” said Jennifer Mull, Backwoods Equipment, CEO and Chair of Outdoor Industry Association. “That said, retailers cannot always fund local programs which makes this funding through the Foundation so critical. It can make all the difference and facilitates a more meaningful and robust connection between the retailers and program staff and participants."
The Outdoor Foundation, through the Outsiders Ball at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, brings together companies of all shapes and sizes to support great projects that inspire a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts. Thanks to industry support, last summer’s inaugural event funded more than 100 projects including Ijams Campouts, which was a program recommended by River Sports Outfitters. The local effort ensures that disadvantaged families are able to enjoy regular camping experiences and related nature-based activities throughout the year. Thanks to support from Outsiders Ball, more than 125 people participated, including 80 youth.
“We are pleased to be involved with the Outsiders Ball Project Fund again this year” states Roanne Miller, President of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (Grassroots). “All of the retail members of Grassroots are dedicated to making a difference in their local communities to not only get youth and young adults into the outdoors, but to give back and support the communities around them. The Outsiders Ball Project Fund is the perfect venue to help them make a difference.”
The Outsiders Ball Project Fund will ensure retailer-recommended projects like this one are supported now and into the future. To participate, retailers should encourage local nonprofit organizations to submit their project proposals along with the name of the local retail partner. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and proceeds from the upcoming 2014 Outsiders Ball will provide the initial investment.
“Outdoor retailers are the anchors of our industry and the Outdoor Foundation is thrilled to support and strengthen community and consumer connections,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “By funding local programs that are retailer-recommended, we hope to enable the industry to invest in great projects that drive participation and business.”
The Outdoor Foundation believes that sometimes the smallest award can make the greatest difference. Grants up to $1,000 will be awarded to projects that directly result in young people engaging in outdoor recreation.
About the Outdoor Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, action oriented outreach, and education programs, the Foundation works with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In 2010, the Foundation launched Outdoor Nation, a pioneering initiative that aims to empower young leaders to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities across the United States. For more information visit: OutdoorFoundation.org and OutdoorNation.org.