Outdoor Foundation has partnered with paddle sports companies and retailers and Outdoor Retailer to fund more than a dozen Paddle Nation Grant Projects that will get hundreds of people exploring American Waterways this year.
The partners estimate the 13 projects in 11 states will result in 1,600 people spending 21,000 hours on the water. Notably, Confluence Outdoor has given $10,000 in funding, ensuring support for the best and most effective projects that introduce paddling to a new generation.
“We are proud to participate in the Paddle Nation Grant Program and are excited to welcome new paddlers into our incredible community,” said Confluence President and CEO Sue Rechner. “As industry leaders we have an obligation and an amazing opportunity to help forge a connection between young people and getting outside, and that connection lasts a lifetime. Paddle Nation Grants provides access to the resources and support today’s youth need to learn a new sport while also gaining an appreciation for our Nation’s waterways.”
Unique in the outdoor industry, the Paddle Nation Grant Program was launched in 2012 with financial support and leadership from Outdoor Retailer and many companies in the paddle-sport industry including Confluence Outdoor, Johnson Outdoors, Rutabaga Paddlesports, OARS, BIC Sports, Glenbrook, Advanced Elements, River Sport Outfitters and ACK. Leveraging this industry support, the National Park Service joined as a major funder in 2013, significantly expanding the grant program.
Since its inception, 67 paddle projects have been funded with more than $162,000 given to noteworthy projects. Working with nearly 30 different retailers, 9,730 individuals have gotten outside on waterways including 6,023 youth. In totally, nearly 90,000 hours have been spent outside paddling.
“Thanks to the leadership and support of our partners, we are investing in the ideas, and projects that drive a significant increase in participation on our waterways,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “Through these Paddle Nation Grants, young people across the country will explore rivers, lakes and streams through a variety of activities resulting in a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and environmental stewards.”
2015 nonprofit grant recipients include: Alabama Cooperative Extension System / Graham, Farm & Nature Center, Blue Sky Fund, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, Camp Laurel Foundation, Inc., Clayton Middle School, Clearfield YMCA, East Carolina University, Adventure Program, East Dubuque School USD 119, Latino Outdoors/The Children Are Our Future, North Counties Family Services, Out There Adventures, Southern Valley County Recreation District and Wolf River Conservancy.