Investing $125,000 in Equity in the Outdoors
Outdoor Equity Fund
MADE X MTNS has established a $125,000 Outdoor Equity Fund to empower community-led initiatives that address identified barriers to outdoor recreation access and opportunity, and help close these gaps in Western North Carolina.
This Fund will provide micro-grants to non-profits, for-profits, community groups and sole proprietors located in Western North Carolina focused on advancing equity and inclusion in the outdoors. The Fund will provide for professional development and skill-building programming, equipment, and/or infrastructure needed for community members to thrive outside. The Fund Application is developed and reviewed by the Outdoor Equity Working Group to ensure an equitable and trust-based process. The Fund Application opens April 17th, 2023 and is open through May 17th, 2023. A recorded info session will be shared the week of April 24th. Fund Application awards will be announced in June and July, 2023.
A Look at the Outdoors…
Growing Up Outdoors
History indicates that adults who were not exposed to outdoor recreation as children are far less likely to become adult outdoor participants.
Visiting National Forests
A 2018 U.S. Forest Service visitor use survey showed that of the nearly 6 million visitors to the national forests in NC, including Pisgah and Nantahala, 96% were white, 4.7% Hispanic, 1.5% Black/African American, 1.4% Asian and .8% were American Indian/Alaskan.
New outdoor participants are more diverse than the overall outdoor participant base and are driving increasing diversity not only by ethnicity but also across age groups.
Despite representing less participants, Black or Hispanic outdoor recreationists are more likely to call themselves an outdoor fanatic or indicate outdoor activities were among their favorite things to do.
In terms of outdoor participation rate in a sampled population, Asian participants led the way at 59 percent, higher than any other group. Hispanics had the highest participation rate growth, increasing about 6 percent annually overt three years. Blacks had the lowest participation rate growth, increasing just 0.3 percent annually
over three years.
By 2044, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts BIPOC will constitute a majority of the U.S. population.
Photo Credits: Vivianette Ortiz – Latinos Aventureros en los Carolinas; Catalina Norena – FIND Outdoors
Why the Outdoor Equity Fund Was Created
The Outdoor Equity Fund was developed in order to ensure that populations that have not historically had equitable access to and/or invitations to participate in outdoor recreation – including BIPOC, Latine/x, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ populations – are supported and encouraged to benefit from time outdoors in WNC, and have the tools and connectivity to benefit from the outdoor economy.
The three pillars of the MADE X MTNS Partnership – Building Vibrant Outdoor Communities, Growing Outdoor Businesses, and Amplifying Outdoor Culture – are the foundations of a larger body of work: creating a flourishing economy that inherently incentivizes stewardship of our lands and waters as well as the health of our people.