Washington DC – The National Park Service and the Outdoor Foundation announced a partnership to connect more Americans with the outdoors through the National Park Service Challenge Cost Share initiative, a program that leverages public and private funds to support nonprofit projects that focus on the following areas:
- Urban Outreach: Projects to promote active healthy living, restore or conserve community natural and cultural assets, or promote close-to-home access to recreation within an urban setting.
- Youth Engagement: Projects to engage youth participants to play, learn, serve, and work associated with National Park Service sites and programs.
- Connecting People to the Outdoors: Projects to enhance tangible and/or intangible access to the outdoors that provide increased outdoor recreation opportunities.
Through this partnership with the Outdoor Foundation, the National Park Service can strengthen its Challenge Cost Share program and expand the number of projects funded. Even small grants can have powerful, measurable impacts at the community level that connect a new generation with the outdoors through recreation.
“A single outdoor recreational activity experience can be very powerful for a child—it can redefine the way they see themselves, build self-confidence, strengthen family connections and promote healthy, active lifestyles—all while instilling a sense of stewardship for special places,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Every conservationist was first a young outdoor enthusiast and enjoyed recreating in our great outdoors. By expanding our longstanding partnership with the Outdoor Foundation, we’re engaging a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards and inspiring people everywhere to connect with their local, regional, and national parks.”
This program builds on a long-standing relationship between the two organizations. The National Park Service was instrumental in helping to launch Outdoor Nation, the Outdoor Foundation’s initiative to empower a new generation of outdoor champions. Earlier this year, the National Park Service and Outdoor Foundation worked together to award more than $40,000 in grants to local non-profit projects that connect more Americans with their waterways. The Paddle Nation Project leveraged support from the paddle industry with funding from the Outdoor Foundation, demonstrating a very successful public-private partnership that resulted in more people outdoors and active.
“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with the National Park Service and advance our shared vision of inspiring a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “The Foundation looks forward to working with the National Park Service, local partners and other funders to support great on-the-ground efforts that connect more Americans with the outdoors.”
The first round of grants will be announced this fall. Recipients will be selected through a review process by the National Park Service in coordination with the Outdoor Foundation. Visit the Challenge Cost Share Program website for more information.