Outdoor Foundation Announces the Twin Cities as New Thrive Outside Community; Wilderness Inquiry Named Thrive Outside Twin Cities Backbone Partner

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Wilderness Inquiry to serve as community connector in support of equitable outdoor access as part of the national Thrive Outside Initiative, which seeks to make the outdoors accessible for all through local partnerships that facilitate collective impact.

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Wilderness Inquiry is excited to partner with the Outdoor Foundation to support a collective impact approach to youth outdoor engagement in the Twin Cities, breaking down barriers to access to ensure that all youth can learn, grow and thrive in the outdoors.

The Outdoor Foundation, the organization dedicated to reversing the trend of decreased outdoor participation, this week announced its second cohort of Thrive Outside communities. The Twin Cities are one of four communities named along with St. Louis, Missouri, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the state of Maine.

Wilderness Inquiry will work directly with the Outdoor Foundation’s Thrive Outside Initiative, which awards multi-year, capacity-building grants to diverse communities to build and strengthen networks that provide children and families with repeat and reinforcing experiences in the outdoors. This community-led initiative is built with trusted local and national partners and is supported by three years of funding.

“Wilderness Inquiry is excited to partner with the Outdoor Foundation to support a collective impact approach to youth outdoor engagement in the Twin Cities, breaking down barriers to access to ensure that all youth can learn, grow and thrive in the outdoors," said Kim Keprios, Wilderness Inquiry Executive Director. "Thrive Outside Twin Cities provides an incredible opportunity to build meaningful, equitable pathways to outdoor participation for Minnesota youth and families.”

With a goal to break down barriers to access and increase participation in the outdoors for Twin Cities youth – and specifically those underrepresented in outdoor activities, spaces and jobs – Thrive Outside will support community wellbeing goals, a collaborative process to map needs and resources and a community-led network to align and expand outdoor programs for youth that are equitable, inclusive and engaging.

“The Thrive Outside Initiative is working to create a more inclusive and accessible outdoor experience for all,” said Stephanie Maez, Outdoor Foundation Executive Director. “We are thrilled to expand our grants and programming into four additional communities this year and inspire kids and families to experience the powerful transformative benefits of connecting with nature on a regular basis, particularly among youth in diverse communities.”

The Thrive Outside communities were chosen by the Outdoor Foundation Board of Directors, based on written applications, virtual site visits, in-person interviews and third-party consultant research. Each Thrive Outside community grant requires the recipient community to provide a 1-to-1 funding match in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the network. One backbone organization in each community will manage the grant and facilitate the work of the network partners.

About Wilderness Inquiry
For 43 years, Wilderness Inquiry has connected people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to each other and the natural world through shared outdoor adventures. The organization has a long history of working with a network of partners in the Twin Cities and beyond, including the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, public and charter school districts and corporate and foundation partners (including outdoor industry partners Winnebago Industries, Polaris, REI, and others). Today, that collaboration supports Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile and youth programs that provide immersive outdoor experiences for more than 30,000 youth annually. Visit http://www.wildernessinquiry.org to learn more.

About Outdoor Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association, is a national 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to getting people outside for their health, the health of communities and the health of the outdoor industry. Through community investment and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works with many partners across the country to address equity barriers and help make the outdoors accessible for all. Visit http://www.outdoorfoundation.org for more information.

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Christine Lekatz
Neuger Communications Group
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