REI Cooperative Action Fund’s inaugural 2021 investment

Oct 4, 2021

REI Cooperative Action Fund logo

The REI Cooperative Action Fund is a new, community-supported public charity founded by REI Co-op. This year, the Fund is investing $1 million to 19 organizations promoting justice, equity and belonging in the outdoors. In addition to this initial investment, the Fund will scale its efforts as more people participate and contribute. This inaugural investment is made possible by REI Co-op. In 2021, the Fund will support the following 19 organizations:  

  • Adaptive Adventures: Adaptive Adventures works to ensure that all individuals with physical disabilities have access to participation in outdoor sports regardless of their location, equipment needs or economic status. 
  • Black Girls Do Bike: Black Girls Do Bike introduces the joy of cycling to all women, especially women and girls of color. The organization has created a comfortable place where lady cyclists can offer support, organize rides, and promote skill-sharing in a network of over 100 riding groups around the world. 
  • Black Girls RUN! Foundation: Black Girls RUN! increases equity, justice, and belonging for people outside by creating a safe space for African American women to participate in the sport of running no matter where they are on their fitness journey. 
  • Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute: The Center for Native American Youth recognizes that youth leadership is critical in building Indigenous power. The organization supports young leaders through training, intergenerational learning, culturally immersive curriculum and promotes youth-driven narrative and policy change at the tribal, local, state and national levels. 
  • Children & Nature Network: Children & Nature Network supports and mobilizes leaders, educators, activists, practitioners and parents working to turn the trend of an indoor childhood back out to the benefits of nature—and to increase safe and equitable access to the natural world for all. 
  • East Coast Greenway Alliance: The East Coast Greenway brings the joy of outdoor trails to people’s doorsteps throughout a 3,000-mile corridor, stretching from Maine to Florida. As the organization develops welcoming, mostly ADA-accessible linear parks, they connect people of all sizes, ethnicities, ages, and abilities to the outdoors and to each other. 
  • Fresh Tracks at the Aspen Institute: Fresh Tracks is a cross-cultural youth-led revolution rooted in the healing power of culture and the outdoors. The organization seeks to advance social and environmental justice, and address hate and racism, by providing diverse young Indigenous, rural and urban leaders with cross-cultural leadership development and civic action training in the outdoors, followed by ongoing financial support and technical assistance to support their community actions. 
  • Friends of Big Marsh: Friends of Big Marsh focuses on the 297-acres of Big Marsh and the surrounding Southeast Chicago communities, with the goal of making the area a destination for people to connect to nature and the outdoors. 
  • Friends of the Los Angeles River: Friends of the Los Angeles River is working to create an equitably accessible and ecologically sustainable Los Angeles River that is a resource, a refuge and a source of climate resilience for the surrounding communities. 
  • GirlTrek: GirlTrek takes a community-building approach to increase equity and belonging for Black women outside. The organization trains community leaders and activates local action to get Black women walking in groups for 30 minutes a day, in an effort to take advantage of the healing properties of the outdoors. 
  • Great River Passage Conservancy in support of the East Side River District project: The Great River Passage Conservancy leads advocacy and private fundraising efforts for capital projects along 17 miles of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The East Side River District project aims to protect sacred and significant Dakota sites, reveal and recover the complex systems and stories of the East Side, and heal and rewild an environmentally compromised landscape. 
  • Latino Outdoors: Latino Outdoors inspires, connects and engages Latino communities in the outdoors. The organization embraces cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring Latino history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented. 
  • Outdoor Afro:  Outdoor Afro celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature. Outdoor Afro leaders work to connect thousands of people across the country to nature experiences and work together to change the face of conservation. 
  • San Francisco Park Alliance in support of the Blue Greenway project: The Blue Greenway project is transforming San Francisco’s southeastern waterfront into 13 miles of waterfront parks and trails. The project will increase access to the Bay and open numerous outdoor recreational opportunities for the city’s southeastern neighborhoods. 
  • The Venture Out Project: The Venture Out Project promotes equity, justice, and belonging through facilitated backpacking and wilderness trips for the queer and transgender community in a safe and inclusive environment. 
  • University of California, San Francisco Center for Nature and Health: The Center for Nature and Health helps children and families tap into unstructured play and reinvigorate their cultural connection to the outdoors; supports healthcare providers in using nature as a tool for physical and mental health; advances a rigorous scientific case for nature interventions; and advocates for policy changes to support equitable access to nature. 
  • University of Washington, Nature and Health: Nature and Health at University of Washington is a collection of scientists, practitioners, and community members seeking to understand the connections between nature and human health and well-being. 
  • Washington Area Bicyclist Association in support of Capital Trails Coalition: The Capital Trails Coalition is creating a world-class network of multi-use trails throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. When complete, 881 miles of connected and equitably distributed, multi-use trails will be available for everyone in the region to use, connecting nearly 4 million residents across Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. 
  • Wild Diversity: Wild Diversity supports the development of a personal connection to the outdoors for Black, Indigenous, People of Color and the LGBTQ+ communities through outdoor adventures and education. 

The REI Cooperative Action Fund is part of a broader effort to advance racial equity, diversity and inclusion within REI and broader society. With 20 million members and more than 15,000 employees, REI is uniquely positioned to drive meaningful change against some of the most challenging issues facing society. REI’s Cooperative Action platform harnesses the collective strength and size of the co-op community to fight for a more sustainable and equitable future for the outdoors. REI members, employees and the public can participate in Cooperative Action by donating to the Fund, voicing their support for legislation that impacts the outdoors through the REI Cooperative Action Network, and reducing 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 build a 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.