Woman standing in trees with her arms spread wide.

#OptOutside: REI Co-op to match donations to the REI Cooperative Action Fund up to $1 million

Donors can double their impact to create a more welcoming and inclusive outdoor culture

Nov 18, 2021

SEATTLE –REI Co-op will match donations from the general public to the REI Cooperative Action Fund up to $1 million from now until the end of the year. The REI Cooperative Action Fund is a new, community-supported public charity designed to harness the collective power of the co-op’s 20 million members and 15,000 employees to build a more just, equitable and inclusive outdoor culture. Donors will have the opportunity to double their impact in supporting a growing nationwide network of nonprofit organizations that are leading this work.

This investment is part of the co-op’s annual #OptOutside tradition. In addition to closing its doors each Black Friday and paying employees to spend the day outside, this year the co-op is inviting the broader community to create a more welcoming and inclusive outdoor culture by supporting and learning more about the Fund’s inaugural grantees.

“Each year, #OptOutside is a demonstration of the power of the co-op community when we come together for the common good,” said Ben Steele, REI chief customer officer. “This year, we’re harnessing our collective impact to build a future where all people can feel a sense of belonging in the outdoors.”

#OptOutside is an annual celebration of the importance of time outside, but the outdoors carries a different meaning and history for everyone. Today, many people and communities do not feel welcome or safe outside.  

“The REI Cooperative Action Fund enables co-op members, employees and the general public to contribute to organizations that are working to ensure that everyone can connect with nature and participate in the outdoors,” said Kristen Ragain, managing director of the REI Cooperative Action Fund. “This holiday season, we are raising funds to further scale our impact and investment in their efforts.”

As a separate entity, the REI Cooperative Action Fund builds on the co-op’s decades of philanthropic commitment. Throughout its history, REI has invested over $120 million in hundreds of nonprofit partners across the country. Anyone can contribute to the Fund’s mission by:

  • Donating: Donations made directly through the Fund’s website or at the register at one of the co-op’s 174 retail locations nationwide will be matched up to $1 million.
  • Recommending a grantee: The Fund is looking to support more organizations aligned with its mission in 2022. REI members, employees and the general public can recommend a potential grantee for funding.
  • Participating in Cooperative Action: The Fund is part of the co-op’s Cooperative Action platform, which aims to scale the co-op’s efforts to fight for a more sustainable and equitable future. In addition to donating to the Fund, anyone can voice their support for legislation that impacts the outdoors through the Cooperative Action Network, and reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing and trading in used gear.

 

About the REI Cooperative Action Fund 
The REI Cooperative Action Fund is a 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 2020 by REI Co-op to grow the movement to promote justice, equity and belonging in the outdoors. The Fund aims to bring together millions of REI members, thousands of REI employees, and hundreds of nonprofit partners and community leaders to support organizations that are improving the well-being of all people through time outside. With ongoing support from REI Co-op, 100% of donations from the general public to the Fund go to the people and organizations leading this work in communities across the country.

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 more than 20 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 174 locations in 41 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI 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.