To help care for natural spaces where people recreate outdoors, REI dedicates 3 percent of the previous year's operating profit to its annual giving budget. Since 1976, we have given almost $33 million to organizations aligned with our goals to protect our natural heritage and help people enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation. In 2010, we donated $3.7 million to more than 330 like-minded local and national groups. For a list of 2010 local and national grants made to conservation and recreation nonprofits, click here.
The majority of REI's giving is focused on grassroots efforts that engage our members and customers in the communities we serve. Our grants program is predominantly guided by our retail employees’ experience, expertise and insights in identifying and nominating local partner organizations. We believe this approach is the most authentic way to invest in communities as REI's nearly 10,000 employees have the strongest connections to the communities where they work, play and volunteer. Because of our community-based approach, we do not accept unsolicited requests and proposals.
So that our giving efforts lead to positive, enduring change, we work closely with each grantee to leverage our resources and relationships. We consider each proposal in the context of our funding priorities and criteria that involve evaluation of impact, engagement and accountability. Grant proposals are also evaluated according to their impact on our goals to increase outdoor volunteer stewardship. This approach helps ensure that our grants are strategic, and create the greatest positive outcome.
The funds REI invested in nonprofit organizations in 2010 delivered the following outcomes:
23,454 miles of trail were maintained and 27,353 acres of land were restored – taking care of our natural places to provide the setting for great outdoor experiences
315,000 volunteers cared for natural places through the programs and events of nonprofits supported by REI’s funding
2,280,481 volunteer hours were provided to working on trails, in parks and along waterways on conservation projects with REI-funded nonprofits