Wolverine Worldwide is investing $300,000 in the Outdoor Foundation, the charitable arm of Outdoor Industry Association, to support the Thrive Outside Communities program, designed to help young people’s social, emotional and academic development through outdoor experiences. Wolverine joins REI, VF Corp., Patagonia and Thule, which all made significant multi-year pledges in 2018.

The leadership shown by Wolverine Worldwide continues the momentum and enthusiasm for outdoor participation and support from many companies in the industry, including financial infusion, gear donation and mentorship contributions. The goal is to engage companies of all sizes in the Outdoor Foundation’s effort to dramatically increase outdoor participation.

The Outdoor Foundation’s Thrive Outside program is focused on getting kids and families of diverse backgrounds outside to enjoy the many health and wellness benefits of nature. The goal is to grow healthy individuals and build healthy communities by weaving the outdoors into families’ day-to-day routines and providing consistent outdoor programming. Wolverine’s pledge will help build out critical work in select communities across the country focused on how access to the outdoors can help with youth development.

“Wolverine is committed to inspiring kids and families to love, experience and protect the outdoors,” said Todd Spaletto, president outdoor and lifestyle group at Wolverine Worldwide. “The Outdoor Foundation’s Thrive Outside program brings communities together in service of our kids, and we are proud to be a part of this important work. We encourage other businesses inside and outside the outdoor industry to invest in the Outdoor Foundation and its mission.”

According to the Outdoor Foundation’s 2018 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, getting kids and families into a regular routine of exercising and playing outside is an extremely challenging goal. The report found the following:

  • 91 percent of Americans say getting outside for their health is moderately to extremely important, but their actions do not reflect this
  • 20 percent of Americans participate in an outdoor activity only once per week, and 50 percent of Americans are active outdoors only once per year
  • Less than 21 percent of children are active outdoors once or more per week

“The connection to the outdoors is broken, as both adults and children are overscheduled and over-screened with TVs, smartphones, video games and busy lives,” said Amy Roberts, executive director of Outdoor Industry Association. “The generous support from Wolverine will go to communities, organizations and programs focused on reversing the decline of outdoor participation. It is our hope that this support will inspire other outdoor businesses to invest in this critically important work.”

“I’d like to thank Wolverine for their leadership in increasing outdoor participation through their significant multi-year pledge,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “Their investment will help fuel a movement by funding diverse Thrive Outside Communities, with the overall goal of making getting outside a healthy habit for all.”