L.L. Bean, Inc. has partnered with three foundations in Pennsylvania to pay for students at public elementary and middle schools to participate in outdoor experiences.
L.L. Bean has pledged $10,000 to be divided between the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation and the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation, both of which will create an L.L. Bean Outdoor Experience Fund mini-grant program. Those organizations will then administer the grants to local public schools that apply for the funds.
The Schuylkill River Heritage Area will aid schools who receive the grants, arranging staffing support, coordination with parks, and any other assistance educators might need in planning or undertaking a trip or activity with the mini-grant funds.
The grants will pay for field trips and programs that are specifically related to physical activity and outdoor education. This could include a wide range of activities, such as a hike through one of the area’s local, state or national parks, biking along the Schuylkill River Trail or visiting an arboretum.
“We are pleased to participate in this partnership, which clearly supports our goal of creating regional recreational opportunities that connect people to the environment so they value and protect it,” said Kurt D. Zwikl, Schuylkill River Heritage Area Executive Director.
L.L. Bean is contributing $10,000 for the mini-grant program in concert with opening its newest store at the King of Prussia Mall on Sept. 30.
“When we open a store in a new community we like to engage with local conservation, recreation and education interests to support their promotion of active, healthy lifestyles,” said Janet Wyper, Community Relations Manager for L.L. Bean Inc. “We are committed to engaging kids in outdoor recreation, both to inspire them to lead healthy lifestyles and to encourage them to become stewards of the outdoors.”
Ten school districts in the Phoenixville and Pottstown areas will be eligible for the grants, all of whom already work with the Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation or the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation.
“We have a long-standing relationship with all of our public schools and have grant funding existing with most of them,” said Anna Brendle, Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation Program Officer. “This new fund is a great opportunity for us to finance more activities that encourage the younger generation to develop an appreciation for the outdoors, particularly now when school districts have very little money for field trips in their budgets.”
The Phoenixville Community Health Foundation also praised the new partnership with L.L. Bean.
“This complements our existing Health Education Mini-Grant Program providing funding for innovative and creative curriculums addressing healthy lifestyles and behaviors. This will give us a new tool to encourage children, and their families, to enjoy the great outdoors,” said Lynn Pike Hartman, Vice President for Programs, PCHF