Please Note: The Outdoor Research We Can Grant formally retired in 2020. Thank you to all who applied to and supported this program, we are happy to see the contributions live beyond its year. Learn about the grant and its previous winners below.
We at Outdoor Research have been working behind the scenes for years, supporting organizations and programs that fight from the top down for public lands and access. But one of our favorite ways to go a step further is our exciting grant program—the We Can Grant—that also helps make change from the bottom up.
“With our grant, we’re hoping to help organizations bring about change in their community on a much shorter timeline,” says Christian Folk, Director of Marketing. “It’s a bottom-up, versus a top-down, approach. And to be clear, many organizations are working both sides of the problem, but for Outdoor Research, the bottom-up approach seemed a good fit for this grant.”
What is the We Can Grant?
Outdoor Research awards $10,000 annually to individuals or organizations who undertake similar efforts to improve outdoor access on their home turf. “The application is pretty basic, the major stipulation is you have to be affiliated with a non-profit, but we really hope to see applicants from across the country and from a wide variety of sectors,” Folk explains.
Who is it for?
“If you feel your organizations helps provide access, in all its forms, to the outdoors, then this grant was made for you!” Folk says.
For the inaugural award, Outdoor Research chose two local organization that both personify the types of organizations we’re hoping to award the grant to in the future. They were able to take specific action with our funding that they wouldn’t have been able to take otherwise—and turn those actions into some cool results. And here's more info about 2018 grant winner, The WRENCH.
Julie Gardner and Marc Bourguignon, who, through their work with Vertical Generation, used the funds to bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor climbing for multi-cultural youth in the Denver and Seattle areas.
Joe Sambataro, who, through work with the Washington Climbers Coalition Initiative, will use the funds to help complete much-needed infrastructure work at four of Washington’s most-used crags.
“To say that it’s been a shitty year for public lands would be an understatement,” Folk says. “I remember for a while, feeling like every week brought a new bill, rider, executive order or other piece of legislation, taking aim at public lands. Obviously, I’m concerned, as our business depends on these areas for our continued growth, but, more importantly, it saddens me that we’re not willing to protect and steward places that are utterly unique in this world. Further, it sucks that so many folks don’t have access to these places. The goal with the grant is to help small, nascent non-profits with their efforts to combat these issues.”