Outdoor Foundation Announces Four New Thrive Outside Communities

May 24, 2021

Thrive Outside Initiative Empowers Communities to Make the Outdoors Accessible for All

BOULDER, Colo. (May 24, 2021) —Outdoor Foundation, the organization dedicated to reversing the trend of decreased outdoor participation, today announced its second cohort of Thrive Outside Communities in St.Louis, Missouri; the Twin Cities region, Minnesota; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and the state of Maine.

The Outdoor Foundation’s Thrive Outside Initiative awards multi-year, capacity-building grants to diverse communities to build and strengthen networks that provide children and families with repeat and reinforcing experiences in the outdoors. This community-led initiative is built with trusted local and national partners and is supported by three years of funding.

“The Thrive Outside Initiative is working to create a more inclusive and accessible outdoor experience for all,” said Stephanie Maez, Outdoor Foundation executive director. “We are thrilled to expand our grants and programming into four additional communities this year and inspire kids and families to experience the powerful transformative benefits of connecting with nature on a regular basis, particularly among youth in diverse communities.”

The Thrive Outside Communities were chosen by the Outdoor Foundation Board of Directors, based on written applications, virtual site visits, in-person interviews and third-party consultant research. Each Thrive Outside Community grant requires the recipient community to provide a 1-to-1 funding match in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the network. One backbone organization in each community will manage the grant and facilitate the work of the network partners.

“Working with all of our community partners, we are making a significant impact by empowering youth to enjoy spending more time in nature,” said Jen Mull Neuhaus, Outdoor Foundation Board Chair. “The expansion of The Thrive Outside Initiative this year moves us one step closer to our goal of driving positive change in the health, well-being and social fabric of communities across the country.”

Announced in 2019, The Outdoor Foundation’s Thrive Outside Community Initiative made multi-year grants to four communities including Atlanta, Georgia; Grand Rapids, Michigan; San Diego, California; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. To date the Thrive Outside initiative has helped get more than 16,000 youth outdoors while creating stronger networks of equity and inclusion, improving the connections to the outdoors in diverse communities and successfully adapting programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next ten years, the initiative plans to grow the number of regions it invests in to 32.

About Outdoor Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association, is a national 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to getting people outside for their health, the health of communities and the health of the outdoor industry. Through community investment and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works with partners across the country to address equity barriers and help make the outdoors accessible for all. Visit outdoorfoundation.org for more information.


Andriana Rogers
Outdoor Industry Association
Phone: 720.629.3542