Does your US nonprofit connect women + girls to the outdoors? Apply for ‘Force of Nature Fund’ grants from REI, up to $25K

Grants that enable women + girls to connect to the outdoors



Across the co-op, we are focusing our efforts on creating more opportunities for women and girls to take part in life outdoors. Why? Because we believe the outdoors is—and should always be—the world’s largest level playing field.  We are launching an expansive public effort called Force of Nature, which will continue the rest of the year and beyond. It’s all about the outdoors being a place to opt out of cultural pressures to conform—the “supposed-tos” and “shoulds” that underpin outdated stereotypes, especially for women and girls. Force of Nature aims to ensure that women and men are equally inspired and equipped to embrace life outside.

REI will be supporting this effort in many ways, including our 2017 goal to invest over $1 million in organizations that connect women and girls to the outdoors. Approximately $500,000 will support current partners and another approximately $500,000 will support new organizations through our 2017 FORCE OF NATURE FUND.

Details + Eligibility:

This year, we are excited to allocate approximately $500K of our philanthropic budget to help connect women and girls to the outdoors. Nonprofit organizations considered for grants may facilitate either traditional or unsuspecting experiences in urban, suburban or backcountry outdoor areas. To be considered, please consider the following:

  • The applying organization will be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the US or have a US fiscal sponsor.
  • Funded programs will be designed for U.S. based women and/or girls to connect to the outdoors.
  • Prioritization will be given to organizations that connect diverse populations of women and/or girls to the outdoors (e.g. gender expression, race, sexual orientation, age, etc.)
  • Outdoor experiences will be a catalyst for building one or more of the following:
    • Leadership, creativity, confidence,  connection, resiliency
  • Programs will yield measurable results through goals, objectives, action plans.
  • Programs will have a progression plan in place that enables/inspires participants to maintain a connection to the outdoors. This could be motivational or tactical.
  • Ability to help build and share content that support their grant-funded program through videos, photos, blogs, etc.
  • Grant amount requested from REI will be in the range of $2,500-$25,000, but REI may decide to fund at a higher or lower amount.

What We Don’t Fund:

  • Individuals
  • Team sports such as soccer, baseball, golf, football, tennis, basketball, football, track and field, crew, etc.
  • Organized races (e.g. women/girl-only 5K runs, triathlons, etc.)
  • Schools, religious groups and political groups
  • Conferences and festivals
  • Endowment funds
  • Capital projects and buildings


  • Applications may be submitted from May 2 through May 31, 2017. Late applications will not be accepted.
  • REI will respond to applicants with funding decisions in July 2017.
  • Grant-funded programs and activities may happen between grant award notification and July 31, 2018.
  • Final reports are due on August 15, 2018.

Selection Process

This grant program is highly competitive and we are unable to fund all organizations that submit an application. Organizations awarded a grant will be notified in July 2017. Those that are awarded funding from the co-op will receive an e-mail with funding expectations and award amount. All grantees will be required to complete a final report using a template in our grant management database.

Legal note: REI reserves the right to modify, suspend, and/or terminate this program if one or more causes corrupts or impairs the administration of it.  REI reserves the right not to distribute all of the available funds for this program.

How to Apply


  • You may access our grant application portal using this link:
  • If you have already created an account in our database, enter your email address and password and log in. Remember you may select “Forgot Password” if you have forgotten your password.
  • In some instances the system may say that your email already exists. If you see this message you are in luck because your organization is already registered. Simply go back to the log in page and select “Forgot your Password” to reset your password.
  • If you have not registered in our system, simply select “Create New Account.” You will be asked to enter organizational information, applicant information, and executive officer information (if that is not the person completing the application.) If your organization is not a 501c3, please enter your fiscal agent information in the application. Once your account is created, you will be taken to a page that confirms your new account and asks if you received an e-mail confirmation.


  • Once logged in, click “Apply” in the top black bar. You will see Force of Nature Fund. You can click “preview” to simply view the application questions or click “Apply” to complete and submit an application. NO ACCESS CODE NEEDED. 
  • Important note: the e-mail used to log in to your 2017 application will be the e-mail that is used to log in to complete grant final report in 2018. 
  • GRANT WRITERS PLEASE NOTE: If you are applying on behalf of multiple organizations you will need to have a unique email address for each of them. If a unique email address does not exist, you will not be able to access the system. You can create a unique Gmail (or similar) account on your own and this will allow you to receive our communications related directly to the organization you are applying on behalf of.


Any questions about the Force of Nature Fund should be directed to

REI Co-op Philanthropy

Since 1976 REI has invested close to $80M in the outdoors through investments in public lands, trails, waterways, climbing areas, youth in the outdoors, health and wellness and more. REI continues to support these efforts through invitation-only grants. For more information, please visit:

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