Who Cares About the Outdoors?

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Who Cares About the Outdoors?

REI Partners Mobilize More Than 3 Million Volunteer Hours
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#REI just posted a blog about "sweat equity" volunteerism and their 2011 stewardship report - http://findout.rei.com/findout
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 5:00pm

Who Cares About the outdoors? REI Partners Mobilize More Than 3 Million Volunteer Hours

By Kevin Hagen, REI director of corporate social responsibility

You have to admit that volunteering to care for great outdoor places is awesome on so many levels.

From picking up a piece of litter as you walk along to putting in a day of sweat equity with a work crew organized by a local nonprofit, every one of us can make a difference for the places we love.

I think it feels great to get outside, breathe in fresh air, have fun with friends and leave an outdoor place—park, stream or trail—a little better than I found it. 

From the REI perspective, we believe we can make the biggest difference in our communities by mobilizing our nearly 5 million co-op members and employees to volunteer and care for the great public places we count on to get outside.

Volunteering is extraordinarily impactful. It's why the focus of our grants program is on financially supporting local nonprofit organizations in every REI community that do the hard, behind-the-scenes work of planning, organizing and managing the volunteers needed to care for great places.

Beyond the millions of dollars REI gives in grants, we mobilize action by connecting our partner nonprofits with the able hands of our members, customers and employees. We share the infinite ways they can roll up their sleeves to make a difference.

The metrics discussed in our stewardship report illuminate our impact.

In 2011 REI supported 330 nonprofit organizations. Collectively, our community partners generated more than 3.35 million volunteer hours of service caring for trails, parks and waterways nationwide. Personally, I think that local store stories give the best glimpse into how our members and employees get their hands dirty with their neighbors.

Last summer, I joined team members from our new SoHo (Manhattan, NY) store before it opened at a volunteer event called It's My Park! Day hosted by Partnership for Parks at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. A bunch of us spent the day working alongside local high school students digging out invasive plants, clearing trails, and planting native trees and shrubs. It was fun to see the kids really lead us in this effort. 

At REI, local volunteers help us make the greatest difference. If you want to join us in taking care of great outdoor places in your community, please invest some of your time to volunteer.

Every REI store supports local nonprofit partners and promotes volunteer events nearby. Check the event calendar at your store for more info and bring friends—have a ball—get dirty. 

Keywords: Business & Trade | Environment & Climate Change | Kevin Hagen | REI | REI SoHo | REI stewardship report | REI stores | volunteerism