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Explore Fund Grant

Grants to USA Nonprofits for Environmental
and Outdoor Recreation Projects

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The North Face

Deadline Date:

04/08/20 11:59 PM MT


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Grants of up to $25,000 to USA nonprofit organizations for creative community impact projects that focus on the environment and outdoor recreation. Focus areas include empowering women outdoor professionals, developing the relationship between underserved populations and the outdoors, engaging communities in environmental work, and creating connections between people and the land.

The Explore Fund grants are offered in three main categories:

Creating a Community of New Explorers Supporting underrepresented communities in outdoor adventures, through potentially new and interesting ways, is core to this program category. The Company wants to work with nonprofits that are helping change the narrative of outdoor exploration and are addressing issues of representation and access. Ideal programs engage or support communities in ways that might include developing inclusivity and self-awareness, healing and trust through outdoor activities, or developing outdoor leaders through innovative programming and trips to public lands. If your program seeks to develop new outdoor adventurers, this category is for you.

Protecting Wild Places Projects large and small in scale are vital for protecting natural ecosystems and the ability to continue to enjoy them. Ideal programs think creatively about engaging communities in environmental work and creating connections between people and the land. Potential projects might address needs for new trails or forests, elevating indigenous knowledge of land management or other topics such as climate change on public lands or in cities. Organizations that work with new technologies and programmatic approaches to protecting our environment are encouraged to apply. If your program focuses on environmental education, please complete the application under this category.

Move Mountains Grant The Move Mountains Grant was created in memory of Ann Krcik, a long-time leader at The North Face, to elevate women leaders. The grants are allocated through a closed grant process separate from the annual open cycle. The Move Mountains grant program will allow the Explore Fund to bring more female outdoor explorers into positions of power by providing funding and a storytelling platform to advance their work and inspire others.

Projects with strong outdoor engagement in activities such as skiing, snowboard, snowshoeing, climbing (indoor or outdoor), kayaking, white water rafting, camping, backpacking, and hiking among other outdoor sports that align with The North Face are preferred.

The Company is looking for projects both large and small in scale. Projects with innovative approaches to inspiring community engagement and tangible outcomes in protecting the environment are encouraged. Land-based projects are preferred. These projects include but are not limited to trail building and restoration, forestry, shoreline clean-up, invasive species, and trash removal. Additionally, projects may address larger goals such as technologies that impact climate change and ecological diversity.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180610

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Between 40-45 grants are typically awarded each year.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Applicants may apply for up to $25,000 in grant funding and a minimum of $5,000. In rare cases, The North Face may award more than $25,000 to specific projects.

Term of Contract:

Grantees will have one year from the time they receive their grant funding to complete their projects.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Before applying, organizations must meet these initial criteria:
- Have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status or be in a formal relationship with a qualified fiscal sponsor.
- Be based and operate in the U.S. Projects outside the U.S. do not qualify.

What Types of Projects Are Prohibited From Applying for an Explore Fund Grant?
- Organizations without 501(c)(3) status or without a qualified 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.
- Programs without a significant outdoor component or activities that are not aligned with the activities and interests of The North Face.
- General outdoor day camps or summer camps unless outdoor recreation activities or skill-building are core and significant to the overall purpose/mission. Outdoor camps serving under-resourced and/or under-represented populations may apply.
- Projects focused on research, white papers, and conferences.
- Endowment or capital fund campaigns
- Ropes courses, museum and aquarium trips
- Dancing and art classes
- Advocacy or political campaigns
- Sustainability, green building projects, or landscape projects
- Expeditions & Races
- Land acquisitions or conservation easements
- Most salaries. See overhead restrictions
- Wildlife and ocean conservation-focused projects
- Agricultural and food waste focused projects
- Film, video, book or movie projects
- Marketing or awareness raising projects
- Festivals
- Projects outside the U.S.

Summer camp scholarships and projects that are primarily in-classroom with outdoor aspects are generally not funded. Ph.D. projects, community gardens, corporate volunteer opportunities, school service projects, and field trips are generally not funded. Funding cannot be used to purchase land.

Pre-Application Information:

2020 Timeline
March 4: Applications open
April 8, 11:59 p.m. MT: Applications close
April 9 - May 22: Committee review
June 12: Grantees notified
July 15-31: Checks sent to grantees

Acceptance and decline letters are emailed to grantees but these notifications sometimes are filtered into spam or junk folders. Please email the North Place Explore Fund if you have not heard back.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

For help or questions, email The North Face Explore Fund:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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