GirlTrek Receives $50,000 Mary Anderson Legacy Grant from The REI Foundation

Funding to Empower African-American Women and Girls to Lead Healthy Lives and Change in Their Communities through Walking

Dec 30, 2013

SEATTLE – The REI Foundation awarded its annual $50,000 Mary Anderson Legacy Grant to GirlTrek, a national nonprofit and health organization inspiring and supporting African-American women and girls to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives – through walking.

The Mary Anderson Legacy Grant was introduced in 2009 in celebration of the 100th birthday of REI’s co-founder. Mary Anderson, now 104, helped establish REI as a co-op in 1938 in Seattle with her husband, Lloyd, and 21 fellow mountaineering colleagues. The annual grant supports organizations that reflect her passion as an educator and as a trailblazer in participating in outdoor activities and sharing those experiences with others.

GirlTrek, based in Washington, D.C., was founded two years ago by friends Vanessa Garrison and T. Morgan Dixon. Today, the nonprofit is an active trekking community of more than 19,000 women and girls, 300 volunteers and a growing network of 155,000 supporters. Grounded in civil rights history and principles, GirlTrek's health movement relies on inspirational stories, neighborhood organizers, active role models, partnerships and advocacy. Their mission is to inspire one million individuals to join them by 2018 in a walking revolution for better health in high-need communities across America.

“Walking establishes a sense of community and helps women and girls reconnect with the outdoors. For so many of us, it is a way to jumpstart active, more fulfilled lives,” said Morgan Dixon, GirlTrek co-founder and director of programs. “This year, with support from the Mary Anderson Legacy Grant, GirlTrek will provide training and support to volunteers across the country and prepare many of them to lead treks through our country's most beautiful parks.”

“GirlTrek is doing an amazing job of actively engaging multiple generations of African American women and girls in an active lifestyle,” said Michael Collins, president of The REI Foundation. “In two short years, this remarkable organization has created an active community of tens of thousands of women and girls and an even larger social community. We are very impressed with what they’ve done and the potential to bring even more people to participate in walking and other outdoor activities.”

The REI Foundation also announced its continued support of The Mountaineers, the Seattle-based outdoor education, recreation and conservation nonprofit founded in 1906, through a $30,000 grant. The funding will assist in the expansion of its Youth and Family Initiative, specifically increasing repeat nature experiences among young people, lowering barriers and building pathways for participants to transition into more intensive programs. The Mountaineers received a Mary Anderson Legacy Grant from The REI Foundation in 2011 and 2012.

“The REI Foundation’s early investment in our youth programs allowed us to grow programs in Seattle and launch programs in Tacoma and Kitsap. The grant also provided funding for expanded outreach to underserved youth,” said Martinique Grigg, The Mountaineers executive director. “Research has shown that positive outdoor experiences during childhood create a lifelong appreciation for the outdoors. The Mountaineers is committed to instilling that appreciation in today’s youth, particularly young people from diverse communities.”

About the REI Foundation

The REI Foundation was founded and supported by REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) in 1993. The Foundation's mission is to help ensure that tomorrow's outdoor enthusiasts and conservation stewards reflect the diversity of America. The REI Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 23 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 184 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.comREI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.