The REI Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported by outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI, awarded its first $50,000 Mary Anderson Legacy Grant to NatureBridge, the largest residential environmental education partner of the National Park Service. Established in recognition of REI co-founder Mary Anderson, the grant will assist NatureBridge's efforts to introduce more children to the natural world.
NatureBridge's mission is to connect youth to nature and inspire responsible actions to sustain it. Since 1971, NatureBridge has reached nearly one million students with its life-changing environmental education programs. Their residential programs immerse students across California and Washington State in inquiry-based science and research to help them develop the skills, knowledge and motivation they need to become lifelong environmental stewards.
The Mary Anderson Legacy Grant was announced in 2009 in celebration of the 100th birthday of REI's co-founder. Mary Anderson, who is now 101, helped establish REI as a co-op in 1938 in Seattle with her husband, Lloyd, and 21 mountaineering friends. The grant is awarded annually and supports organizations that reflect her passion to actively engage young people in learning about nature through hands-on engagement and exploration of the outdoors.
"We share Mary Anderson's passion for connecting young people with nature," said Susan Smartt, NatureBridge president and CEO. "We are greatly honored to be the inaugural recipient of the Mary Anderson Legacy Grant."
"The grant honors Mary Anderson and her legacy as an educator, an outdoor industry business woman and outdoor enthusiast," said Michael Collins, REI Foundation president. "NatureBridge is growing in reach and influence, and the REI Foundation is pleased to support the organization in its work to bring more young people to the outdoors and instill in them a stewardship ethic."
Additional information on the Mary Anderson Legacy Grant and NatureBridge is available at the REI Blog.
Founded in 1971 and based in San Francisco, NatureBridge is the largest residential environmental education partner of the National Park Service. Its mission is to inspire personal connections to the natural world and responsible actions to sustain it. NatureBridge currently operates four campuses: Yosemite Institute in Yosemite National Park, Olympic Park Institute in Olympic National Park in Washington State, Headlands Institute in Golden Gate National Parks and Santa Monica Mountains Institute in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Each year, NatureBridge serves more than 40,000 participants through field science, youth leadership and teacher training programs. NatureBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
About the REI Foundation
The REI Foundation was founded and supported by Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) in 1993. The Foundation's mission is to help ensure that tomorrow's outdoor enthusiasts and conservation stewards reflect the diversity of America. Recognizing that most people with a love of the outdoors discover the natural world early in their life, the Foundation's primary efforts are in encouraging active outdoor participation by young people and their families. The REI Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.