US outdoor leisure retail co-op REI has announced the largest ever investment from its Cooperative Action Fund, distributing US$6.1m to 264 nonprofit organisations working to create a more equitable outdoors.
The fund, launched in 2021 has surpassed 1 million individual donations from REI customers, members, and employees, the co-op adds. As a community-supported nonprofit, the fund takes donations from individuals, foundations and corporate partners including REI Co-op and Capital One.
“The REI Cooperative Action Fund was founded on the principle that we can do more together than we can as individuals,” said Kristen Ragain, managing director of the REI Cooperative Action Fund. “Thanks to the generosity of the co-op community – who have collectively made more than a million contributions to the REI Fund – we’ve been able to scale and localise our impact.”
This latest investment – following a $4m handout in May – brings the REI Fund’s total 2023 giving to $10.1m.
More than 200 of the latest grantees are local organisations championed by REI employees who work in-store, says the co-op. Grantees include:
- Baztec Fishing & Outdoors provides fishing and outdoors experiential education opportunities to underserved communities, with a focus on bilingual and BIPOC youth. (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- Bronx River Alliance is a partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation that engages communities, organisations and government along the Bronx River corridor to restore the river ecosystem and improve and activate public green spaces. (New York City)
- Indigenous Wellness Research Institute supports the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples to achieve full and complete health and wellness by collaborating in decolonizing research while building and sharing knowledge. (Seattle)
- Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project ensures that historically and deliberately excluded communities have access to the outdoors and that people, history, and values are authentically reflected in public land and conservation management decision-making. (Las Cruces, New Mexico)
- Outdoor Inclusion Coalition supports Pennsylvanians through programs dedicated to attracting, engaging, and retaining underrepresented populations in the outdoor industry. (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
- Pacoima Beautiful is a grassroots environmental justice organisation that provides education, impacts local policy, and supports local arts and culture to promote a healthy and sustainable Northeast San Fernando Valley. (Pacoima, California)
- StreetWaves exposes children to the ocean whose socioeconomic backgrounds may have excluded them from the ocean and shoreline. (Delray Beach, Florida)
- Yellow Bird Life Ways nurtures the breath of life by reminding, reconnecting, and reclaiming land, language, culture, and identity. Yellow Bird seeks to address the intergenerational impacts of trauma to heal and strengthen generational hope, resilience, and wisdom. (Lame Deer, Montana)
For a full list of grantees, visit REIFund.org/grantees