Atlanta to Receive Multi-Year Grant from the Outdoor Foundation to Get More Kids and Families Outside

The Thrive Outside Initiative brings together local Atlanta organizations to make getting outside part of the fabric of peoples’ lives by providing repeat experiences of fun, joy and learning in the outdoors for kids and families of all backgrounds

April 15, 2019
BOULDER, Colo. & Atlanta, Ga

Atlanta has been chosen as one of four communities in the Outdoor Foundation's nationwide Thrive Outside Community Initiative. In Atlanta, the initiative will provide a multi-year capacity-building grant to strengthen partnerships between existing local organizations such as schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs and nonprofit conservation and outdoor organizations that create repeat and reinforcing positive outdoor experiences for kids and families. Fewer than 18 percent of Americans recreate outside once per week, and fewer than 50 percent report getting outside even once per year, according to the Outdoor Foundation’s Outdoor Participation Report. Research also shows that outdoor activity participation does not mirror the overall demographics of our country. The core goal of the Thrive Outside Community investments is to create healthy individuals, communities, economies and environments by making the outdoors a habit for kids and families of all backgrounds.

"The Trust for Public Land and our Thrive Outside Coalition are thrilled at the opportunity to provide outdoor recreational experiences to Atlanta children and families," said George Dusenbury, Georgia state director for The Trust for Public Land. "With the support of the Outdoor Foundation, this program will build upon the great programs of our partner organizations and the more than 45 years of The Trust for Public Land creating parks and preserving land for people."

The Thrive Outside Atlanta Community will be led by The Trust for Public Land and include a diverse network of partners, including the Andrew & Walter Young YMCA, Arthur M. Blank Family YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, the Greening Youth Foundation, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Chattahoochee Nature Center and Chattahoochee River Keeper, with more to come.

"We didn’t become an indoor species overnight, and the decline of outdoor activity in the United States is a problem that requires collaboration, funding and scale," said Lise Aangeenbrug, Outdoor Foundation executive director. "For a variety of reasons, the days when children were outside playing more than they were inside have passed – this has to change for the health of our children, families and communities. With this grant, we are helping to fuel an outdoor movement in and around Atlanta to bring back that connection by supporting local community partners to create a network focused on getting as many children and families as possible experiencing the outdoors in a positive way, so we don’t have anything to lose. Over the next decade, the Outdoor Foundation will connect and engage a diverse constituency of participants, advocates and volunteers in at least 32 cities, with the goal of getting 3 million people outside."

The grant will allow the network to deepen partnerships with youth education providers, design a scaled program and ultimately reach a much-wider audience of children and other under-resourced Atlantans in experiential outdoor education both on the Chattahoochee River and at close-to-home Atlanta parks and trails. Thrive Outside Atlanta Community partners will encourage youth and adults to participate in both urban outdoor experiences and more distant natural outdoor experiences. The Atlanta network will leverage this grant funding to ensure the long-term sustainability of the network by engaging foundations and individual donors.

The inaugural Thrive Outside Communities – Atlanta, Georgia; Grand Rapids, Michigan; San Diego, California; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – were chosen by the Outdoor Foundation Board of Directors, based on written applications, location 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.

The Outdoor Foundation’s Thrive Outside Communities would not be possible without the extremely generous support of The VF Foundation, REI, Patagonia, Thule and Wolverine World Wide, Inc.
In order to grow the number of cities and regions that the Thrive Outside Communities Initiative is able to reach, the Outdoor Foundation will be looking for additional funding partners in 2019. Please reach out to Michaela Gold (mgold@outdoorfoundation.org) for more information.

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 to get more people outside more often. Visit outdoorfoundation.org for more information.