REI Foundation Establishes the Mary Anderson Legacy Grant to Celebrate Co-Founder’s 100th Birthday
Dec 9, 2009
The REI Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported by outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI, has established the Mary Anderson Legacy Grant in celebration of the company co-founder’s 100th birthday. The annual grant will recognize the contributions that Anderson made in the lives of young people during her years as a teacher, over her years of working at REI and through her life-long love of the outdoors.
The Foundation will award the first $50,000 Mary Anderson Legacy Grant in 2010 in support of efforts that actively engage young people in learning about nature through hands-on engagement and exploration of the outdoors. The Mary Anderson Legacy Grant will be presented annually by the REI Foundation.
“We are forever grateful to Mary for her passion to introduce people to the wonders of nature. At 100 years young, Mary is an inspiration to me, REI employees and outdoor enthusiasts everywhere,” said Sally Jewell, REI president and CEO. “From her career as an educator to helping operate the co-op from the attic of her Seattle home, Mary’s selfless energy and involvement will be recognized for years to come through the REI Foundation."
On Dec. 7, 1909, Mary (Gaiser) Anderson was born in Washington’s Yakima Valley, where her family enjoyed regular walks and hikes together. As a teacher in Seattle during the 1930s, Mary used nature as an extension of her classroom to enrich the lives and learning of her students. For more than 30 years, she continued to connect people to nature through her work at REI.
REI was founded as a co-op in 1938 by Mary and her husband, Lloyd Anderson, and 21 mountaineering friends in Seattle. Today, the co-op is an active community partner with 110 stores, nearly 10,000 employees and more than 3.7 million active members.
In honor of Mary’s centennial birthday, Governor Christine Gregoire and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels each proclaimed, Dec. 7, as “Mary Anderson Day” across the State of Washington and City of Seattle.
REI celebrated Mary and her legacy at its headquarters on Dec. 8 at an event that included past company presidents and retired employees who worked with Mary in REI’s early years. The celebration also featured the co-op’s annual Anderson Awards. Since its inception in 2002, the Anderson Awards are presented annually to employees who exemplify the values of Lloyd and Mary and the co-op’s purpose and core values.
The co-op continues the Andersons’ legacy by helping millions of enthusiasts enjoy the outdoors, engaging more people in discovering beautiful, natural places and promoting the benefits of a healthy, active outdoor lifestyle. Across the country, REI partners with local non-profit outdoor and conservation organizations through education, volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.
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 has provided grants to organizations stemming from recommendations and collaboration with the National Forum on Children and Nature, including EarthTeam Environmental Network in San Francisco, National Audubon Society in New York and New York Green Stops Partnership, a coalition of nonprofits including New York Restoration Project, Solar One, Sustainable South Bronx, and Mount Sinai Center for Children’s Environmental Health in New York.
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Editor’s note: Photography of Mary Anderson is available by contacting REI Public Affairs at 253-437-7736 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The State of Washington Proclamation
WHEREAS, on December 7, 1909, Mary Anderson was born Mary Gaiser in Washington’s Yakima Valley, beginning a life-long commitment to introducing people to the wonder and power of nature and the great outdoors; and
WHEREAS, as a young teacher in the 1930s, Mary brought joy and learning to children in the Seattle Public Schools, using nature as a classroom to enrich her students; and
WHEREAS, Mary and her husband, Lloyd, were active members of the Seattle Mountaineers, organizing hikes and climbs in the Cascade Mountains, and helping others safely enjoy the great beauty and physical challenge of our rich natural world; and
WHEREAS, in 1938, Mary and Lloyd partnered with 21 mountaineering friends to found a consumer cooperative known as Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), enabling the climbing community to acquire high quality gear for their outdoor adventures; and
WHEREAS, during REI’s early years, the Andersons selflessly operated the co-op from the attic of their Seattle home, enlisting their family and friends in support of the business and providing vital financial assistance as the co-op grew; and
WHEREAS, REI today is a highly regarded outdoor gear and apparel retailer, with 110 stores, nearly 10,000 energetic employees, and more than 3.7 million active co-op members who share the founders’ passion for nature; and
WHEREAS , in honor of Mary’s contributions to the outdoor community and her centennial birthday, The REI Foundation has created The Mary Anderson Legacy Grant to support organizations that engage young people in hands-on exploration and learning in the great outdoors.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Christine O. Gregoire, Governor of the state of Washington, do hereby proclaim December 7, 2009, as
MARY ANDERSON DAY
in Washington State, and I urge all citizens join me in this special observance.
Signed this 24th day of November, 2009
Governor Christine O. Gregoire
City of Seattle – Office of the Mayor
WHEREAS, the City of Seattle is fortunate to be the home of many talented individuals who enrich our community; and
WHEREAS, on December 7, 1909, Mary Anderson – born Mary Gaiser in Washington’s Yakima Valley – began a life-long commitment to introducing people to the wonder and power of nature; and
WHEREAS, as a Seattle Public Schools teacher in the 1930s, Mary was committed to introducing young people to nature, which included field trips to the Rainier Valley to dig for fossils with her students; and
WHEREAS, a long-time West Seattle resident and active member of the Seattle Mountaineers, Mary and husband Lloyd organized hikes and climbs in the Cascade Mountains and helped others safely enjoy the great beauty and physical challenge of our rich natural world; and
WHEREAS, Mary, who shared her rock climbing knowledge on tying knots, belaying and rappelling, has been credited with helping her husband Lloyd produce one of the first climbing instructional manuals in the United States; and
WHEREAS, in 1938, Mary and Lloyd partnered with 21 mountaineering friends to found a consumer cooperative known as Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), enabling the climbing community to acquire high-quality gear for their outdoor adventures; and
WHEREAS, REI today consists of 110 stores and more than 3.7 million active co-op members who share the founders’ passion for nature; and
WHEREAS, in honor of Mary’s 100th birthday and her numerous contributions to the outdoor community, the REI Foundation has created The Mary Anderson Legacy Grant to support organizations that engage young people in outdoor hands-on exploration and learning;
NOW, THEREFORE, I , GREGORY J. NICKELS , Mayor of the City of Seattle, proclaim December 7, 2009, to be
MARY ANDERSON DAY
in Seattle, and I hereby urge citizens to join me in congratulating this fine individual and thanking Mary for her important contributions.