Learn More About How To Apply for Funding

We are pleased to announce that Youth Outside is now accepting applications for funding through the Liberated Paths Grantmaking Program. We invite you to learn more about this funding opportunity, and if you think your program or initiative might be a fit, to submit your application by October 5, 2020. For reference, an asterisk (*) indicates a word found in the glossary of terms at the end of these guidelines. 

Overview 

Youth Outside advances racial justice and equity in the outdoor and environmental movement. We shift resources to, build power with, and center the voices and leadership of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color because the health of current and future generations demands it.  We envision a just world where Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color experience safety, health, and abundant joy through meaningful relationships with one another and the outdoors. We are thrilled to share with you our new grantmaking program to help us achieve this mission and vision: the Liberated Paths Fund. 

Our approach aims to help build a more equitable outdoor and environmental movement by centering the strength, joy, and leadership of communities of color. We know that the communities who have persevered through systemic racism bring resilience, creativity, and lived experience that can help transform the movement. By offering flexible funds and capacity building*, the Liberated Paths Grantmaking Program seeks to embody a new model of grantmaking that is built on trust, relationships, and support. 

Funding Guidelines 

We aim to fund work that lies at the intersection of racial justice and the environment. This could include a number of organizations and programs, including recreation and experiential programs, conservation, climate, environmental advocacy work, cultural and ancestral practices and education, and much more.

Your work is eligible for funding if: 

  • You are working in one of these geographies: Arizona, New Mexico, and/or the Pacific coast of Oregon and/or Washington
  • For work in Arizona and New Mexico: Your work is focused on the intersection of communities of color and the environment
  • For work on the Pacific Coast of Oregon and/or Washington: Your work is focused on the intersection of communities of color and the environment, with specific attention to the ocean, marine conservation, and/or the coast
  • Note: You do not need to have a 501(c)(3)status or be fiscally sponsored to apply for a grant 

The Liberated Paths Grantmaking Program will prioritize:

  • Organizations or projects led by and serving Black, Indigenous, and/or Communities of Color
  • People and projects rooted within their communities, with the lived experiences they need to understand what approaches will work the best for their communities 
  • Organizations or projects with an annual budget of less than $1 million
  • People or projects that have limited relationships with and/or funding streams from the larger philanthropic community

Application Process

This is an open invitation and we welcome applications from all organizations, groups, and individuals whose work is eligible and in alignment with our vision for this fund.  

We ask that you carefully review the information in this announcement. Completed applications are due by 11:59PM PST on Monday, October 5, 2020. Youth Outside will host an application webinar on Tuesday, September 22 at 1:00PM PST,  and we invite you to ask questions regarding our application process. Please see below for details on how to submit an application. If you are unable to attend the webinar, you can find a recording here after September 22.

Part of our commitment to this work is meeting communities and people where they are. To this end, we encourage you to contact Youth Outside staff at liberatedpaths@youthoutside.org or (510) 839-0731 if you have any questions or would like any support along the way.  We are here to support you with what you need, whether that is help with the application itself, or a different mode of submission. We want to hear what you need to successfully submit an application.

The Grant and Cohort

The Liberated Paths Grantmaking Program is being launched this year with seed funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the North Face. We are actively working on growing this fund, and we intend to offer multi-year grants as those funds become available. All funds will be awarded as general operating support*. The total grant amount requested for a period of one year should be $20,000 or less.

Grantees will be offered the option to participate in a cohort series with other grantees. During the grantee cohort series, grantees will have the opportunity to engage in capacity building, networking opportunities, and technical support to ensure the longevity of their work. The cohort will meet five times a year beginning in April 2021. 

Application Submission & Review Process

Deadline: 

Completed applications are due by 11:59PM PST on Monday, October 5, 2020.

Application Options:

Our application is designed to be flexible and accessible. We are here to support you and work with you, especially if you have not submitted a grant application before. There will be no penalties for lack of traditional writing conventions, such as grammar, punctuation, and formatting in the application process. To make the process as flexible as possible, we are currently offering three ways to submit your application materials:

  1. Written letter of intent
  2. Video or phone interview with Youth Outside staff member
  3. Audio recording

No mode of submission will be given preference over another. We ask that applicants choose only one submission method. If none of these methods work for your needs but you are still interested in applying, we would like to hear from you! Reach out to liberatedpaths@youthoutside.org.

Application Instructions:

STEP 1: PROVIDE BASIC APPLICANT INFORMATION

We ask all applicants to submit basic applicant information. This can be submitted via the online form or via email. If you need to provide the basic application via U.S. postal service or another method please contact us at liberatedpaths@youthoutside.org or call us at (510) 839-0731.

Basic applicant information requested is:

1. Organization or project name

2. Primary contact name and title; email address; phone number; mailing address; and organization EIN or fiscal sponsor (if applicable)

3. Organization or project leader(s) identify as Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color

4. Geographic and programmatic boundaries:

    • American Southwest
        • Work takes place in Arizona or New Mexico
        • Focused on the intersection of communities of color and the environment
    • Pacific Northwest Coastal Region
        • Work takes place on the coast/in the Pacific Ocean in Washington and/or Oregon
        • Focused on the intersection of communities of color and the environment, with specific attention to the ocean, marine conservation, and/or the coast

5. List of top five community partners (for example: community based organizations, funders, schools)

6. Amount requested for year one (not to exceed $20,000) and amount requested for year two, if any, should funds be available (not to exceed $20,000)

7. An attached one-page current year operating budget (there will be no penalty if you or your organization do not have this).

STEP 2: CHOOSE APPLICATION SUBMISSION METHOD

We ask that you indicate on the online form if you plan to submit your application materials via written letter of intent, video or phone interview with Youth Outside staff member, or audio recording. If you cannot access the online form, please contact us at liberatedpaths@youthoutside.org or call us at (510) 839-0731.

STEP 3: COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION THROUGH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING METHODS BY OCTOBER 5, 2020

FOR LETTER OF INTENT

After completing the basic applicant information, if you have chosen to submit your application via a letter of intent, submit a written letter no more than two pages in length to liberatedpaths@youthoutside.org by October 5th. The letter should answer the following questions:

    1. Who is the community you are engaging, and what are their needs or desires, related to the outdoors and / or the environment? 
    2. How are you and the people doing this work rooted in the community you are engaging? 
    3. What is the positive change your work has / will have on the environment and / or the outdoors?

FOR VIDEO OR PHONE INTERVIEW

After completing the basic application information, if you have chosen to submit your application via video or phone interview, use the online link within the application form to schedule this conversation. At the selected time you will then join a Zoom video chat or phone call with a Youth Outside staff member.

Your interview will be no more than 30 minutes in length. Use the online form to select an interview time, and review the following questions in advance of your call. Your interview time must be scheduled at least 2 days in advance. All time slots fall within September 21 and October 5, 2020, so please work to reserve a time as soon as possible. Your conversation will be recorded, and you can assume your submission is complete at the end of the conversation. 

    1. Who is the community you are engaging, and what are their needs or desires, related to the outdoors and / or the environment? 
    2. How are you and the people doing this work rooted in the community you are engaging? 
    3. What is the positive change your work has / will have on the environment and / or the outdoors?

FOR AUDIO RECORDING

After completing the basic application information, if you have chosen to submit your application via audio recording, please contact Youth Outside via email (liberatedpaths@youthoutside.org), or call us at (510) 839-0731, to make arrangements with our staff. 

Once arranged, you will be asked to answer the following questions: 

    1. Who is the community you are engaging, and what are their needs or desires, related to the outdoors and / or the environment? 
    2. How are you and the people doing this work rooted in the community you are engaging? 
    3. What is the positive change your work has / will have on the environment and / or the outdoors?

Timeline:

Once we have reviewed all submissions, we may reach out to you for additional information. 

Funds will be disbursed once the grantee recommendation is approved by the Youth Outside Board.

2020 Grant Timeline  Deadline (subject to change)
Application submission deadline October 5, 2020 by 11:59PM PST
Youth Outside review process October 6 – 18, 2020
Additional information requests due (if applicable) November 2, 2020
Awards announced to selected grantees  December 2020
Awards announced publicly December 2020
Funds released December 2020

Ongoing Responsibilities of Accepted Grantees

If Youth Outside is fortunate enough to enter into a partnership with you or your organization, we will request the following from you or your organization over the course of your funding:

  • An annual report and organizational operating budget (if available)
  • Agreement to work with Youth Outside staff to participate in site visits during your award period
  • You or a member of your organization will join a cohort of grantees during your award period
  • Engagement with your cohort and with Youth Outside through the capacity building program

We hope to see a variety of submissions that represent the depth of experience and wisdom in this field. We look forward to working with many of you and supporting the great work that you all do!

Glossary of Terms

Capacity Building: Capacity building is training and learning that provides support for building organizational infrastructure and works to ensure the longevity of a project or program. Capacity building can include, but is not limited to, training and insights around fundraising, hiring processes, organizational growth, board recruitment and retention, and organizational budgeting. 

Conservation: Efforts and activities that seek to preserve and protect the vital natural resources of a given community. Conservation acknowledges that people and planet are inextricably connected, and that communities have the tools needed to protect and preserve land, water, and air. 

Environmental Justice: The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Environmental Justice acknowledges that vulnerable communities are often subjected to the disproportionate burden of pollution and contamination, and works to empower and support communities disproportionately targeted by inequitable environmental treatment.

Environmental Work: Activities that include, but are not limited to, outdoor recreation, environmental advocacy, conservation, outdoor education, healing through land connection, community organizing around environmental issues, health and wellness through land connection, and sharing of ancestral practices connected to the land. 

General Operating Funds: Funds that can be used in any manner by the grantee, in order to make the project or program run. This could include, but is not limited to, paying staff, paying rent, paying utilities, buying gear, providing stipends, providing bus passes, etc. 

Inclusion: The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. (UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity)

Outdoor Experiences: Activities that include, but are not limited to, activities/experiences in national, state and local lands, parks, and bodies of water; urban spaces such as school gardens, farms, ranches, and camps which are utilized to impact people’s well-being and environmental stewardship.

Racial Equity: When someone’s race does not determine their access, opportunities, treatment or statistical outcomes in society. Racial equity requires a proactive and ongoing commitment to anti-racist policies, practices, attitudes, and actions. (Strive Together)