GOLDEN, Colo. (Aug. 28, 2017) – Big City Mountaineers, the organization that transforms the lives of under-served youth through wilderness outdoor expeditions, received a $25,000 grant from REI Co-op to further the organization’s mission to introduce a diverse group of youth to the outdoors.
“REI has been a vocal proponent for diversity and gender equality in the outdoors, and through its Force of Nature Fund it is creating real change by investing in nonprofits like BCM,” said Bryan Martin, executive director of Big City Mountaineers. “This gift will help us to give more kids the life-changing opportunity to experience wilderness and foster environmental stewardship for future generations.”
In May, REI launched its Force of Nature campaign and the corresponding Force of Nature Fund, which hopes to advance gender equality in the outdoors and encourages its millions of members to embrace the outdoors as “the world’s largest level playing field.” Big City Mountaineers is among 26 other nonprofits to receive an investment from the $500,000 fund.
"We believe a life outdoors is a life well lived for all. That means we support equality from the backcountry to the boardroom," said Jerry Stritzke, REI's president and CEO. "REI works with hundreds of nonprofits annually to help communities connect with the outdoors and to protect the places we love. A core part of our business model links the co-op's health to investments in the outdoor community. As we thrive, we share this success. This year, with Force of Nature, we added a specific focus on groups that are creating new and inspiring ways to advance gender equity and inclusion using the outdoors as a platform. The Force of Nature Fund helped us identify hundreds of organizations doing incredible work, and we're proud to partner with our new grantees to learn and be inspired."
About Big City Mountaineers
Big City Mountaineers (BCM) instills critical life-skills in over 2,000 under-served young people each year by getting them outdoors with volunteer mentors for life-changing wilderness experiences. BCM’s unique model of 1 to 1 mentoring is proven to develop integrity, responsibility, improve communication skills and decision making abilities in youth from risk-filled environments through a nationally recognized developmental analysis tool. Given the opportunity to develop these skills alongside caring volunteer mentors creates positive lasting change in these youth who become more likely to stay in school and avoid drugs, gangs and violence. To learn more, please visit www.bigcitymountaineers.org.
About the REI Co-op
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation's largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 16 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 150 stores in 36 states. If you can't visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI-Garage.com or the free REI shopping app. REI isn't just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs more than 170 custom-designed itineraries worldwide. The REI Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.