Recommend WYP for REI’s Cooperative Action Fund

Recommend WYP for REI’s Cooperative Action Fund

At Wilderness Youth Project, we believe that all children need nature. Not just the ones whose families have privilege and easy access to nature. Not only those of a certain race or economic class or culture or gender or sexual identity or language or set of abilities. Every child and every family. 

This is why we are so excited to hear about REI’s new Cooperative Action Fund

REI believes time outside is a human right. 

“The REI Cooperative Action Fund directly supports organizations promoting justice, equity and belonging in the outdoors to strengthen the health and well-being of people and communities. Along with members, employees, business partners and donors, we raise collective funds to support organizations, local leaders, and initiatives focused on making change in the nation’s outdoor culture and landscape.”

Here’s where you come in. You can recommend Wilderness Youth Project (and any other organizations you love) as potential grantees for the REI Cooperative Action Fund.


REI’s Cooperative Action Fund has an initial investment of $1 million dollars and will focus on three specific grantmaking initiatives:  

  • Connecting more people outside: The Fund will support outdoor-focused organizations led by and serving Black communities, Indigenous peoples, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, people with physical disabilities, and women.
  • Creating more space outside: The Fund will support efforts to increase equitable access to the outdoors, with specific emphasis on community-led carbon reduction projects that bring environmental benefits closer to home for marginalized communities.
  • Centering health outside: The Fund will support efforts to strengthen and amplify scientific research, and support Traditional Ecological Knowledge to demonstrate that time outside improves mental, physical and emotional health and well-being.

Please consider recommending WYP for the category “Connecting People Outside.” In your own words, you can share why you believe that WYP’s mission and programming aligns with the Fund's mission. 

Here is a little bit more about who we are at Wilderness Youth Project and why we believe that we are a good fit for the “Connecting People Outside” category. 

All kids need nature. Nature connection makes life better for kids. Time in nature makes kids happier and healthier. Wilderness Youth Project connects kids to nature in small groups guided by expert mentors during the school day, after school and in summer.

Wilderness Youth Project, we acknowledge that the nature connection movement has perpetuated a system of segregation and unequal access to the outdoors that prevents Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color from attaining the same levels of access to the benefits of time in nature. We work to undo that segregation and unequal access and to create inclusive programs.

We aim to promote justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. We do this through building affirmative action practices, cultural competence, diverse multilingual staff and outreach, bilingual (English/ Spanish) communications and scholarships based on financial need. As mentors we work towards truth, justice and peace.

We are committed to learning and growing our ability to live these principles. We are accountable to our board, staff, volunteers, participants, their guardians, the land and the community where we live.

A huge thank you to REI for recognizing and supporting this important work in our communities! 

Join us today!

Did you know that 70% of our WYP kids qualify for full or partial scholarships based on family income?

While it may feel like nature is all around us, many kids lack access to the outdoors. Your support helps WYP connect kids from all backgrounds to Santa Barbara’s natural beauty. Thanks to support from people like you and our WYP community, we are able to provide scholarships to nearly 1,000 youth each year.