The Youth Outdoor Legacy Fund announces 2009 grants to 12 outdoor prog

Non profits face a challenging year and need grant support now more than ever; creative cause-marketing and funding ideas make a big difference

Salt Lake City, Utah and Seattle, Wash. — Four years ago, the mission of the Youth Outdoors Legacy Fund was founded with two fundamental beliefs: children need to be in the outdoors more and non-profit organizations and volunteers who work with kids in the outdoors need our help. Since its inception in 2005, YOLF has made grants exceeding $585,000 to support that mission.

“We cast the net wide in our search for children's outdoor programs to fund and were pleasantly surprised by the number of quality programs being conducted in almost every corner of the U.S.,” said Dennis Madsen, founder of the Youth Outdoor Legacy Fund. “ While each program tends to be as different as night and day, the one common characteristic is the engaging outdoor activity that stimulates kid's curiosity, enthusiasm, and love of the world around them. In New York, the Rocking the Boat outdoor program gives kids and opportunity to build boats and explore the Hudson River while in Washington state, the YBOYS program uses the local Cascade Mountains as a place to challenge and excite participants. The best programs have designed their offerings based upon the unique special places close by,” he said.

“Tough economic times are challenging businesses and non profits in the outdoor community. A variety of creative approaches which mutually benefit donors (such as cause marketing or a philanthropic savings account) continue to enable support of important non-profit programs. In spite of the volatile financial markets and challenges to its own resources, the YOLF Board has agreed to continue our grants program in 2009,” Madsen added. “We are especially grateful to Merrell for their 2008 donation of $15,000 and an opt-in program of $5.00 per order from their prodeal website. They are the first to implement this type of pro-deal level cause-marketing program resulting in an additional $4,317 raised for YOLF.”

Twelve organizations are receiving grants in 2009:

• Appalachian Mountain Club (Boston, Mass.) - $15,000 for its Youth Opportunities Program (YOP)
• Bay Area Wilderness Training (Oakland, Calif.) - $15,000 to support its Wilderness Leadership Training Program
• Chicago Inner City Outings (Chicago, Ill.) - $6,000 grant to provide outings to inner-city youth
• Colorado Mountain Club (Denver, Colo.) $10,000 to support its Youth Education Program
• Ebony Rose Ski Club (Portland, Ore.) - $14,000 grant to introduce African American high school students to skiing and snowboarding as part of the youth outreach activities conducted by ERSC (Grant to be made in the fall pending results from 2008/9 program)
• Kids in Training (Cary, N.C.) - $15,000 grant to provide access to fitness and health programs
• Metrocenter YMCA/YBOYS (Seattle, Wash.) - $12,500 grant for its YBOYS Outdoor Adventure Program
• Outdoor Outreach (San Diego, Calif.) - $15,000 grant to continue its core programming work. Programs currently offered include: rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking/backpacking, river rafting, camping, surfing and marine science education.
• Passages Northwest (Seattle, Wash.) - $15,000 to support two core programs: Girls Wilderness and Girls Rock
• Rocking the Boat (New York, N.Y.) - $15,000 to support its traditional wooden boatbuilding and on-water education program
• Trips for Kids (Washington, D.C.) - $8,500 to continue its core youth nature and biking programs
• Youth Conservation Corps (Waukegan, Ill.) - $12,500 to enable youth outreach to youth living in the low-income communities of Round Lake Heights, Round Lake Beach and Mundelein, Ill., in north suburban Chicago (Lake County).

About YOLF

The Youth Outdoor Legacy Fund begins its fourth year of effective outreach to programs around the United States and is supported by generous private donors as well as these outdoor industry leaders: Patagonia, Merrell, REI, Columbia Sportswear, prAna, WL Gore, YoungOne Corporation, Black Diamond, KEEN Footwear, and the VF Corporation. The fund is being administered through the Seattle Foundation (, a highly respected and professionally managed community foundation. Grant making is overseen by the Youth Outdoors Legacy Fund advisory board. YOLF was created in 2005 with the vision to engage young people in outdoor recreation while at the same time preparing them to be our future outdoor advocates. To learn more about the foundation and the programs it supports, visit the website at To add your support to YOLF, contact Dennis Madsen by e-mail at or call 206.713.1821.