SAN LEANDRO, CA – October 19, 2010 – The North Face today announced that the Explore Fund™ (, a grant-giving program supporting nonprofit organizations that get youth outdoors, has awarded $250,000 to more than 100 projects that will affect 85,000 young people.  The grants are part of the inaugural commitment of The North Face Explore Fund, administered by the Outdoor Foundation.

In recent years, The North Face along with industry partners including the Outdoor Foundation, has witnessed a decline in outdoor participation and has made strides to work against the trend. Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) studies have found outdoor participation declines with age. Over the past three years the participation rate of youth ages 6 to 12 fell almost 20 percent for girls and 10 percent for boys. The OIA states this potential trend could negatively impact the future of conservation efforts that rely on individuals with a strong connection to and an understanding of natural systems and recreational landscapes.

“We are committed to educating and inspiring passion for the outdoors through enabling outdoor activity,” said Steve Rendle, President of The North Face and VF Outdoor Americas. “I met many young leaders at the first ever Outdoor Nation held in NYC this past June where we first announced our financial commitment to support community based outdoor non-profit organizations. We’re thrilled to support these incredible groups that work so hard to provide outdoor education and experiences but may lack necessary funding.”

Funds were granted to organizations throughout the U.S. that work to break down barriers to getting youth outdoors within three focus areas:

$66,000 Access to front and back country recreation

$62,000 Education for personal and environmental health

$117,500 Connection to nature that will empower the future leaders of tomorrow

Grantee programs range across season and activity and will begin late October 2010. For more details, grantee highlights and ongoing updates, please visit


About The North Face®

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snow sport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company’s products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snow sport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.