Conservation Foundation receives two-year funding commitment from the REI Cooperative Action Fund

Funds to be used to ‘increase equitable access’ to outdoor spaces and recreational opportunities

Youth kayaking events are among numerous activities that the Conservation Foundation provides. Contributed photo

The REI Cooperative Action Fund recently awarded the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast a $20,000 grant, in accord with the Fund’s Creating Space Outside initiative, the Foundation has announced.

That initiative “aims to increase equitable access to outdoor spaces” and recreational opportunities involving parks, trails, open space and waterways, “by prioritizing community-led solutions that bring nature’s individual and environmental benefits closer to home for marginalized communities,” a news release explains.

“The REI Cooperative Action Fund is a community-supported public charity,” which was founded by outdoor retailer REI Co-op, the release adds. Distributed in two $10,000 increments over two years, the grant will support the Conservation Foundation’s “ongoing work to create meaningful opportunities for individuals from all walks of life to engage and connect with the natural world,” the release points out.

“At Conservation Foundation, we are deeply committed to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion,” Foundation President Christine P. Johnson said in the release. “We believe all people should be able to equitably experience the benefits of spending time in nature,” she added.

The Conservation Foundation provides numerous free community educational outings and events, including its annual Wild About Nature Festival, guided outdoor experiences — such as hiking, kayaking and birdwatching — natural art exhibits, and various outdoor performances in collaboration with local arts organizations, the release points out. Additionally, through its youth education program, the release says, the Foundation provides “hands-on outdoor experiences and environmental education to thousands of primarily underserved children.”

Learn more about the programs and outreach at