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The “Give the Outdoors” Challenge

For many people, December is a time of giving and what better way to give back to our public lands and communities by supporting outdoor nonprofits and organizations. The idea for this #GiveTheOutdoors Challenge came from those people who shared their recent participation in #GivingTuesday (held on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving). I challenge you to pick at a minimum one of the following groups to donate to as you are able. This can be as simple as a $5 donation to one group, $10 each to three different groups, or $5 to each of the 31 groups for a total of $155. The main goal is that we collectively use our financial resources to keep our happy places (our public lands) – happy!

Outdoor Nonprofits and Organizations

I’ve compiled the following list of public land-focused outdoor nonprofits and organizations based on personal knowledge and preferences. So, there are obviously way more out there and you can donate to any outdoor groups for this challenge. However, I limited my list to 31 to match the days in the month (December) of this challenge. As you scroll through this page, you will notice that this list of 31 groups is also pretty diverse. The handful of big-name groups already have resources in place already to make impacts quickly and on a large scale. However, the smaller groups I’ve included have pressing needs, target underserved populations, and/or are trying to make a large impact at the grassroots level. 

1) National Park Foundation

“The National Park Foundation, the official charitable partner of the National Park Service, enriches America’s national parks and programs through the support of private citizens, park lovers, stewards of nature, history enthusiasts, and wilderness adventurers. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the Foundation grew out of a legacy of park protection that began over a century ago, when ordinary citizens took action to establish and protect our national parks. Today, the National Park Foundation carries on the tradition of early park advocates, big thinkers, doers and dreamers—from John Muir and Ansel Adams to President Theodore Roosevelt.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page 

2) Get Out, Stay Out (Vamos Afuera)

Get Out, Stay Out invites kids to run, play, and discover themselves in an outdoor environment. Through experiential education, we aim to connect low-income kids of indigenous migrant backgrounds to the “outdoor culture”. We are committed to increasing diversity and representation for people of color within the outdoor industry, and especially for kids and youth of indigenous backgrounds.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page 

3) National Parks Conservation Association 

“Since our founding in 1919, National Parks Conservation Association has been the independent, nonpartisan voice working to strengthen and protect America’s favorite places. With 1.3 million members and supporters beside us, we are the voice of America’s national parks, working to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for present and future generations. We celebrate the parks — and work tirelessly to defend them — whether on the ground, in the courtroom or on Capitol Hill.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page 

4) Outdoor Women’s Alliance

“Outdoor Women’s Alliance is a volunteer-run nonprofit media and adventure collective that engages, educates, and empowers females worldwide. Through the lens of human-powered adventure, we work to inspire confidence and leadership in women of all ages, believing that confident women have the power to build healthy communities and — quite literally — change the world.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

5) National Forest Foundation

“As the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service, we work with the agency and thousands of Americans each year to promote the health and public enjoyment of our 193-million-acre National Forest System. We believe that communities should play a leading role in determining the future of our National Forests and Grasslands, so we focus our efforts on connecting these communities, and the people who comprise them, to the tools, knowledge, and funding to become active and devoted stewards of this incredible public estate.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

6) Friends of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve

“The Friends of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve is an organization of people dedicated to assisting the Kickapoo Reserve Management Board in its mission to preserve and protect the lands entrusted to the Reserve by raising funds and public awareness, and by providing volunteers for needed projects.” FKVR supports the KVR mission to “The land in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve shall be protected, preserved, and enhanced so that its unique environmental, scenic, and cultural features provide opportunities for the use and enjoyment of visitors to the Reserve. The Reserve will be promoted as a unique example of the Driftless Area Ecoregion and as a destination for low-impact tourism and education.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

7) The Sierra Club Foundation

“The Sierra Club Foundation promotes climate solutions, conservation, and movement building through a powerful combination of strategic philanthropy and grassroots advocacy. The Foundation is the fiscal sponsor of Sierra Club’s charitable environmental programs.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

8) Outdoor Afro

“Outdoor Afro has become the nation’s leading, cutting-edge network that celebrates and inspires African American connections and leadership in nature. We help people take better care of themselves, our communities, and our planet! Outdoor Afro is a national non-profit organization with leadership networks around the country.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

9) The Nature Conservancy

“The Nature Conservancy began when leading scientists, committed citizens and dedicated leaders came together with a shared vision to protect and care for nature. From our first land purchase to our latest water fund, we are constantly evolving to bring innovative solutions to the challenges facing our world.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page 

10) Gear Forward

“The outdoors are our collective greatest treasure and gift that we offer the next generation. Gear Forward, simply is about providing the next generation of stewards, adventurers, Scoutmasters and Girl Scout Leaders the resources they need to get outdoors. No child should be denied access to all the outdoors has to offer because they don’t have the necessary equipment. Through the collection of gently used outdoor gear, Gear Forward will work with other youth and outdoor focused organizations to get donated gear into the hands that need it.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

11) American Forest Foundation

“The American Forest Foundation works on-the-ground with families, partners and elected officials to promote forest stewardship and protect our nation’s forest heritage. A commitment to the next generation unites our nationwide network of forest owners working to keep our forests healthy and producing the clean water, wildlife habitat and sustainable wood supplies that all Americans count on from forests.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

12) High Fives Foundation

“The High Fives Foundation supports the dreams of outdoor action sports athletes by raising injury prevention awareness while providing resources and inspiration to those who suffer life-altering injuries.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

13) Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

“The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin connects generations to the wonders of Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife through conservation, education, engagement, and giving. We embrace the power of public-private partnerships. We recover species from the brink of extinction. And we continue to bring substantial financial resources and attention to priority projects of the DNR and other conservation partners. But we have grown to do so much more. The Foundation provides sustainable funding for Wisconsin’s most imperiled species and ecosystems, while helping citizens explore, care for, and protect our state’s natural resources.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

14) The Venture Out Project

“The Venture Out Project envisions a world where queer, trans, and LGBTQ+ youth and adults create community, develop leadership skills, and gain confidence through the shared experience of outdoor adventure and physical activity.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

15) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

“The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is a national organization that protects the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. The Center accomplishes this mission by delivering cutting-edge education and research to millions of people across the country every year.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

16) American Hiking Society

“American Hiking Society champions conservation issues, builds public and private partnerships, supports volunteer stewardship, and provides critical resources to help plan, fund, and develop trails.  We also provide resources to the public about how and where to hike and are committed to increasing the participation and enjoyment of hiking by everyone.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

17) SheJumps

“Our mission is to increase the participation of women & girls in outdoor activities. We accomplish this by offering Outdoor Education programs, creating high-visibility “Get the Girls Out!” events, Youth Initiatives (Wild Skills) and grassroots recreational gatherings. The SheJumps community consists of women and girls of all backgrounds and ages who help one another reach their highest potential through outdoor adventures and education.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

18) Environmental Defense Fund

“Environmental Defense Fund’s mission is to preserve the natural systems on which all life depends. Guided by science and economics, we find practical and lasting solutions to the most serious environmental problems. What distinguishes Environmental Defense Fund is the combination of what we protect and how we protect it. We work to solve the most critical environmental problems facing the planet. This has drawn us to areas that span the biosphere: climate, oceans, ecosystems and health.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

19) Outdoor Outreach

To connect youth to the transformative power of the outdoors to realize the positive attitude and behavioral changes that help them become happy, healthy, and successful adults.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

20) American Rivers

“The mission of American Rivers is to protect wild rivers, restore damaged rivers and conserve clean water for people and nature. We combine national advocacy with fieldwork in key river basins to deliver the greatest impact, we are practical problem-solvers with positions informed by science, and we build partnerships and work closely with local river advocates, business and agriculture interests, recreation groups and others to forge win-win solutions. And with our expertise, outreach, and additional grants, we deliver the highest return on investment.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

21) Out There Adventures

“Out There Adventures is committed to fostering positive identify development, individual empowerment and improved quality of life for queer young people through professionally facilitated experiential education activities.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

22) The Trust for Public Land

“Our mission is to create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Every park, playground, and public space we create is an open invitation to explore, wonder, discover, and play.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

23) Protect Our Winters

“POW turns passionate outdoor people into effective climate advocates. POW leads a community of athletes, thought pioneers and forward-thinking business leaders to affect systemic political solutions to climate change.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

24) Appalachian Mountain Club

“Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America’s Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. We believe these resources have intrinsic worth and also provide recreational opportunities, spiritual renewal, and ecological and economic health for the region. Because successful conservation depends on active engagement with the outdoors, we encourage people to experience, learn about, and appreciate the natural world.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

25) Outward Bound

“Outward Bound’s mission is to change lives through challenge and discovery. While perhaps ambitious and bold, our vision is a more resilient and compassionate world, with more resilient and compassionate citizens.”
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

26) Unlikely Hikers

Unlikely Hikers is a diverse and inclusive Instagram community featuring the underrepresented outdoorsperson. The outdoors industry and outdoors social media tend to display a very narrow definition of who is “outdoorsy.” We feature fat people, people of color, queer, trans, gender nonconforming folks, people with disabilities and so on.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

27) No Barriers

“Our mission is to unleash the potential of the human spirit.  Through transformative experiences, tools and inspiration, we help people embark on a quest to contribute their absolute best to the world.  In the process, we foster a community of curious, brave and collaborative explorers who are determined to live the No Barriers Life.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

28) The Wilderness Society

“Since 1935, The Wilderness Society has led the conservation movement in wilderness protection, writing and passing the landmark Wilderness Act. It is our calling and our passion to protect America’s wilderness, not as a relic of our nation’s past, but as a thriving ecological community that is central to life itself. Our goal is to ensure that future generations will enjoy, as we do today, the clean air and water, wildlife, beauty and opportunities for recreation and renewal that pristine forests, rivers, deserts and mountains provide.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

29) Warrior Expeditions

“Warrior Expeditions provides veterans with everything they need to complete a long distance outdoor expedition at no cost to the veteran. First, Warrior Expeditions outfits veterans with some of the most highly rated equipment and clothing available from the outdoor retail industry. Next, Warrior Expeditions provides veterans with a monthly $300 stipend to purchase resupply items during their journey. Last, Warrior Expeditions coordinates community support in the forms of transportation, lodging, and food from community supporters located along the route.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

29) Native Women’s Wilderness

Native Women’s Wilderness was established “to inspire and raise the voices of Native Women in the Outdoor Realm. To encourage a healthy lifestyle grounded in the Wilderness. To educate Natives and non-Natives on the rich beauty and heritage of the Ancestral Lands beneath our feet.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page 

30) Camber Outdoors

“Founded in 1996, Camber Outdoors (formerly the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition) envisions a future of “Everyone’s Outdoors.” It is the only national organization dedicated to achieving equality for all women in the outdoors, from backcountry to boardroom through innovative and thought-leading programming and initiatives, including: the CEO Pledge, Pitchfest, and Cross-Industry/Company Mentoring Program. Over 170 corporate and 4,000 individual members support Camber Outdoors. ” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

31) Latino Outdoors

“We inspire, connect, and engage Latino communities in the outdoors and embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring our history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented.” 
➔ Website // Donation Page // Charity Navigator Page

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BONUS: Donate Year-round with Amazon Smile

Did you know that by simply changing the URL you access Amazon through from https://www.amazon.com/ to https://smile.amazon.com/ will result in a donation of 0.5% of your purchase price to the charity of your choice? It’s super simple too. Just visit https://smile.amazon.com/ to and select the organization you want to support from their qualified list of 503(c) organizations. (You will see several outdoor nonprofits and organizations from this list if you look.) Then, just shop away! Over 105 MILLION dollars has been donated to charities through the Amazon Smile Foundation. You can even see the specific amount of money that was donated to your cause through your shopping if you are interested. 

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Discover more about our public lands and the inclusive outdoors movement.