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The North Face Awards Explore Fund Grant to Cottonwood Institute

The North Face awarded an Explore Fund grant to the Cottonwood Institute to help fund our programs with Casa de la Esperanza in Boulder County!

The Explore Fund’s mission is to inspire and enable the next generation of explorers by funding non-profit organizations that are working to re-connect children with nature. By encouraging an active healthy lifestyle and protection of our natural landscapes, a stronger connection of youth to the outdoors can be nurtured.

Cottonwood Institute was selected from more than 900 applications submitted for the first of two grant cycles in 2012, because of our mission to connect underserved students to the outdoors and to empower them to tackle local environmental issues.  Since The North Face Explore Fund was initiated in 2010, The North Face has provided more than $1 Million in grants to non-profits all over the world working to connect youth to the outdoors, with more than three quarters of that going to programs in the United States.

Funding from this grant will enable Cottonwood Institute to continue to develop our partnership with Casa de la Esperanza, a residential community dedicated to helping agricultural workers in Boulder County. The community is owned and operated by the Boulder County Housing Authority in the City of Longmont. This center provides educational and recreational services to Casa residents, including an onsite after-school program and academic center. According to Carlota Loya Hernandez, Program Coordinator for the Casa Learning Center, “For the last year, the Cottonwood Institute has partnered with our community to provide incredible enrichment opportunities for our youth. Crucial to the Casa Learning Center’s mission, the Cottonwood Institute compliments our program by focusing on enhancing the children’s educational opportunities. The Cottonwood Institute has benefited and enriched the lives of over 20 children of the Casa community this past year. This included hikes, environmental and sustainability classes on site, and overnight camping at Calwood Outdoor Education Center. These opportunities would not be available to our community without the support of the Cottonwood Institute and their high quality staff.”
“There can be so many barriers to getting kids outdoors, whether it be a disability, health resources or simply a lack of access. A large percentage of the grants went toward funding organizations that are addressing these issues by providing access and education,” said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “We believe that if you can get kids to love the outdoors, not only will they develop skills that will help them throughout life, but they will grow up to care about their natural world, protecting and conserving the wild places they explore”

Stay tuned for more information about our program with Casa de la Esperanza!

About The North Face®
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company’s products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.


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