Welcome, 2016 KEEN Effect Grantees!

At KEEN, our values lead our business decisions. As a brand, we were born with the ethic that leaving the world a better place than how we found it is the right thing to do. When the southeast Asian tsunami disaster happened in 2004, our one-year old company diverted its entire advertising budget to disaster relief. In that instant we made a choice to do things differently, forever.

We’ve grown over the years, and with that growth, focused our efforts on preserving and protecting access to the places we all play. As an outdoor brand, we feel a responsibility to advocate for special outdoor places. Our nonprofit partners are our heroes working on the ground to make sure the wild places we all hold dear remain the way they are, and are stewarded appropriately, forever.

Today is a good day for the KEEN Effect community. Today we officially welcome 16 new heroes to our family, and are providing them with a total of $100,000 in grant dollars.

  • Cascade Forest Conservancy – Portland, Oregon, USA: Bring youth and adult volunteers from metro areas to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to do on-the-ground conservation and citizen science work.
  • Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Northern Alberta – Alberta, Canada: Map and analyze the Eastern Slopes of Northern Alberta for recreation appropriate activities, concerns and impacts for public lands and wilderness, and create conservation and stewardship plans from the research.
  • Edible Schoolyard – Berkeley, California, USA: Connect over 1,000 urban students to the natural world by supporting a 1 acre garden, which instills in young people an understanding of the interdependence between humans and the nature.
  • Escalando Fronteras – Monterrey, Mexico: Introduce rock climbing to marginalized youth in Mexico in an effort to foster a lifelong, sustainable relationship with the outdoors, and empowering them to be self-aware and courageous.
  • Friends of Nevada Wilderness – Las Vegas, Nevada, USA: Mobilizing volunteers from outdoor and business communities to repair and restore desert landscapes in Nevada’s Piece of the Grand Canyon: Gold Butte, Nevada.
  • Friends of Saguaro National Park Tucson, Arizona, USA: Engage over 6,000 Tucson area youth in experiential learning, recreation, and conservation activities in Saguaro National Park.
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners, Inc. – Kanab, Utah, USA: Preserve the vast landscape of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations, by supporting the Grand Staircase Escalante River Watershed Partnership – the largest Riparian Restoration conservation youth training program in the country.
  • Greening of Detroit – Detroit, Michigan, USA: Enhance the quality of life for Detroiters by re-purposing the land to create beautiful and productive green spaces and introduce Detroit children to nature by connecting them to wildlife, flora and fauna in their own neighborhoods.
  • Idaho Conservation League – Boise, Idaho, USA: Preserve Idaho’s clean water, wilderness, and the quality of life through citizen action, public education, and professional advocacy, and specifically with this grant – the stewardship of Central Idaho’s wild places.
  • NatureBridge Washington D.C., USA: Foster environmental literacy to sustain our planet through hands-on environmental science programs With 500 Washington D.C. 5th grade students in Prince Williams Forest National Park.
  • Outdoor Outreach – California, USA: Support Outdoor Outreach’s Outdoor Voices program – and provide outdoor leadership and advocacy skills to young adults, who will use learned skills to effectively advocate to preserve and protect access to the places where they recreate.
  • Shining Stars Foundation – Winter Park, Colorado, USA: Offer opportunities for families who have a child or children facing cancer or another life-threatening illness to get outside and participate in a family strengthening outdoor adventure.
  • Trails Youth Initiatives, Inc. – Newmarket, Ontario, Canada: Provide equipment and opportunities for Toronto Youth to participate in outdoor activities and learn Leave No Trace principles.
  • Mazamas – Portland, Oregon, USA: Organize the voices of responsible recreation, conservation, and the outdoor industry to adequately represent the values of outdoor recreation in Oregon
  • West Virginia Rivers Coalition – Charleston, West Virginia, USA: Connect the people of West Virginia to Birthplace of Rivers – an icon of hope for future generations of West Virginians, and a sustainable economy.
  • Ascend: Leadership Through Athletics – Norfolk, VA, US with project work in Afghanistan: Empower young girls in Kabul Province of Afghanistan to be change makers, by taking them on day hikes and showing them the freedom, confidence, and joy found in outdoor recreation.

These wonderful grantees were chosen by our KEEN Effect Committee – a group of 12 employees from across our organization who play an integral part in forming the direction of our grant dollars. For more than a month this team of twelve dove into over 500 passionate applications from ngos spanning nearly all U.S. states and representing nine countries. We are so excited to see these folks in action, if these photos are any indication of what’s to come, we’re in for a treat!

“KEEN’s commitment to conservation is all encompassing. Many companies have a single-pronged approach to their conservation efforts. These efforts may focus on getting more people outside through recreation, fostering stewardship with boots on the ground, promoting responsible use with Leave No Trace education or creating awareness for an area that needs a higher level of protection. KEEN has a hand in all of these efforts, which is truly the way real conservation gets done.”  – Jose Witt, Southern Nevada Director, Friends of Nevada Wilderness

Friends of Nevada Wilderness Volunteers stewarding Gold Butte, Nevada.

Friends of Nevada Wilderness Volunteers stewarding Gold Butte, Nevada.

“Conservation requires engaged and passionate people. Outdoor Outreach is honored to partner with Keen to inspire diverse urban youth to value our public lands and take action to help protect them.” – Ben McCue, Executive Director, Outdoor Outreach

The next generation of public lands stewardship looks out into the Birthplace of Rivers in West Virginia.

The next generation of public lands stewardship looks out into the Birthplace of Rivers in West Virginia.

Escalando Fronteras, or Climbing Borders getting psyched for a day at the crag!

Escalando Fronteras, or Climbing Borders getting psyched for a day at the crag!

Shining Stars Foundation explorers pose during a Grand County adventure.

Shining Stars Foundation explorers pose during a Grand County adventure.

Volunteers take a break from Wilderness stewardship work to take in the view of Idaho's backcountry.

Volunteers take a break from Wilderness stewardship work to take in the view of Idaho’s back country.