So it seems after a long period of denial, the outdoors is slowly but surely waking up to its problem with diversity. It’s not mission accomplished, not by a long stretch, but it does finally appear that a number of brands are starting to properly reflect on the issue and do more about it.
As part of that shift towards positive change, we’ve decided to compile a big informative list of some groups working towards making our natural spaces more racially inclusive. Many of them, it’s worth pointing out, have been knocking around for a number of years.
Some of these groups you can support financially, others you can support by simply sharing their message on social media; all of them though are worthy of our attention and solidarity.
Let’s get behind them.
This article was first published on the 30th of June 2020. We aim to update it as often as possible, as and when we come across good organisations working to make the outdoors more inclusive.
Outdoor Afro is a non-profit organisation with leadership networks across the USA. They’ve got almost 80 leaders working across 30 states, and are all about connecting thousands of people to adventurous experiences. They’re looking to lead the way when it comes to improving inclusion in outdoor recreation, nature, and conservation.
They’ve recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary as an organisation, with American TV royalty Oprah Winfrey joining them on a hike as part of the festivities.
Diversify Outdoors are an ‘Avengers Assemble’ style coalition of influencers, bloggers, activists, athletes and entrepreneurs working together to promote diversity in outdoor spaces for people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community.
Founded by Danielle Williams, it’s closely associated with Melanin Base Camp (also on this list).
Become an ally, join the movement and help #DiversifyOutdoors today.
Brown Folks Fishing
Brown Folks Fishing launched in Spring 2018 and are dedicated to diversifying the face of fishing.
Brown Girls Climb
Brown Girls Climb are on a mission. They aim to promote and increase visibility of diversity by setting up a formidable community made up of climbers of colour, encouraging leadership opportunities for women in the space, and creating climbing opportunities for groups under represented on the scene.
LatinXHikers started in August 2017 with the simple aim of inspiring more people of colour to go outdoors, but it has since evolved into something much more varied and versatile.
They describe themselves on their website as “a community dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors through digital story-telling and community outreach.”
Melanin Base Camp
Founded in February 2016 by Danielle Williams, who also founded Diversify Outdoors (also on this list) in January 2018, Melanin Base Camp was originally set up to increase ethnic minority participation in the outdoors.
Since then, the group’s aim has shifted towards increasing the visibility and representation of black, indigenous, and people of colour in outdoor media, advertising, and storytelling.
Hoods To Woods Foundation
Founded in 2009, by Brian Paupaw and Omar Diaz, the Hoods To Woods Foundation is a nonprofit organisation that promotes awareness of the outdoors to inner city New York kids through snowboarding. They accept financial donations, and also gear donations.
Snow Camp Charity
Working in partnership with the UK’s indoor snow centres, Snow Camp Charity give young people from inner-city communities the opportunity to learn how to ski or snowboard. They also provide valuable life-skills training, and mental health support.
SHRED Foundation are an organisation that wants to harness “the unifying power of snowboarding and skateboarding to help youth realise their full potential.”
CHILL was started back in 1995 by, founders of Burton Snowboards, Jake and Donna Carpenter. Since its creation, the foundation has helped more than 25,000 young people (they work with roughly 1,900 young people annually).
Working with social service agencies, mental health organisations, foster care programs, juvenile justice programs, and schools to select participants CHILL aims to inspire young people through board sports.
Everything is provided for them, free of charge.
The Dillon Ojo Lifeline Foundation
The Dillon Ojo Lifeline Foundation was set up to honour the life of one snowboarding’s most creative, stylish and beloved riders by providing opportunity and access to the outdoors for underprivileged children.
This nonprofit organisation offers access to sports programs, summer camps and other activities to those who cannot afford the costs or face barriers of entry.
The foundation hopes to spread the positive impact and love for sports that Dillion embodied.