A business or corporation must have demonstrated significant, sustained, and exemplary service to trails planning, implementation, and/or recreation.
Since 1976, REI has provided more than $44 million to nonprofit organizations to steward and enhance America’s outdoor spaces.
Between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2014, REI donated $7.2 million to more than 500 local and national groups that take care of America’s parks and trails.
While the company is a major funder of park and trail programs nationwide, the funding process begins with local store teams who endorse nonprofits with whom they have forged meaningful partnerships. While REI’s annual park and trail stewardship grants total millions annually, the average grant is typically in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. This provides critical support to small, local nonprofits that provide “hands on” support to park and trail managers nationwide. REI’s corporate headquarters requires a detailed follow up report each year from all recipients, ensuring accountability and excellent value for their grant dollars.
REI doesn’t just send a check; staff shows up for trail workdays in force to collaborate with grantees and local nonprofits, often bringing volunteer acknowledgements, t-shirts, and raffle items with them to enhance the experience.
Nationally, recent projects supported by REI grants include:
East Bay Regional Park District: In the last five years, REI has provided over $100,000 to support EBRPD’s Ivan Dickson Volunteer Trail Maintenance Program and other stewardship efforts, supporting thousands of volunteer hours and dozens of trail projects. In the San Francisco Bay Area, REI also assists the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, Volunteers for Outdoor California, and Save the Bay as well as EBRPD.
The Atlanta BeltLine: This network of multi-use trails reuses 22 miles of historic railroad corridor connecting 45 neighborhoods surrounding downtown Atlanta. The Eastside Trail is the first completed project in the former rail corridor, connecting people to parks and trails and improving Atlanta’s health and quality of life.
Western North Carolina Alliance: A grant from REI helped support the construction of the French Broad River Paddle Trail. The paddle trail is a new recreational opportunity enjoyed by hundreds of locals and tourists each year.
The Tahoe Rim Trail: The 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail is popular with hikers, cyclists, snowshoers and equestrians. REI funding supported the training of more than 700 volunteers who provided free guided hikes and helped build and maintain this precious resource.
2010: Lyndhurst Foundation