Applications Open for The North Face Explore Fund + North Cascades Institute Profile

Apr 9, 2014 7:00 AM ET
Campaign: Explore Fund

Outdoor exploration: It’s our lifeblood. It’s also the catalyst for The North Face Explore Fund, a grant-giving program that supports non-profit organizations that are committed to connecting more people to the outdoors.

Now through May 1, 2014, we are accepting online applications for 2014 Explore Fund grants, which will award $250,000 to 25 organizations. The 2014 grant cycle is upping the ante by offering 15 grants of $5,000; 5 grants of $10,000; and 5 grants of $25,000.

Later this summer, we’ll call on you, the community, to vote for the non-profit of your choice. The top ten grant applications will then have the opportunity to vie for $10,000 – $25,000. Throughout the voting process, organizations are encouraged to tap into their creativity, their non-profit networks, and the three million fans and followers of The North Face.

Each week over the application period we’ll hear from a past grantee. First up: North Cascades Institute. And for more information and to apply for an Explore Fund grant, visit

North Cascades Institute seeks to inspire closer relationships with nature through direct experiences in the natural world. Our mission is to conserve and restore Northwest environments through education. Since 1986, we have helped connect people, nature, and community through science, art, literature, and the hands-on study of the natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help people of all ages experience and enjoy the mountains, rivers, forests, people, and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest — so all will care for and protect this special place.

Our Youth Leadership Adventures are for motivated students ages 14 to 18 from Washington and Oregon who are ready for a fun, challenging summer adventure in the North Cascades. In partnership with North Cascades National Park and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the program features a range of summer opportunities for high school students on our local public lands, as well as a fall Youth Leadership Conference, year-round mentorship, and local stewardship opportunities.

During summer expeditions on Ross, Baker, and Diablo Lakes, students canoe, camp, backpack, and complete service projects while receiving hands-on training in outdoor leadership, field science, communication skills, and public speaking. Upon returning home, students design and implement their own service projects in their home communities.

The Explore Fund helps North Cascades Institute provide scholarship funding for Youth Leadership Adventures youth — more than 95% of our students receive financial assistance to attend these life-changing programs. Many of these young people have never backpacked, canoed, or slept beneath the stars before, and 74% of them come from diverse ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds.

“This program allowed me to gain further knowledge about the world around me, and to clarify my ideas on humanity’s responsibility as stewards of the environment,” reflects Amelia Fitch, a recent participant. “It was a unique experience in the North Cascades National Park that helped focus my values and goals, forever entwining environmental conservation and science into my life. I now know that it is these kinds of sacred natural places, here and around the world that I want to preserve through education of myself and others, avocation of my ideals, and a career path in a life science.”