Elevate Youth Receives Competitive Patagonia Grant

Elevate Youth is thrilled to announce our official partnership with Patagonia Boston after receiving a grant of $15,000 from the outdoor industry leader. This new initiative will expand our impact to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors for youth in Massachusetts, and support our efforts to break down barriers of access to natural spaces for youth of color. As one of two recipients in the country for this grant, and the first to work directly with the Patagonia Boston store, we are humbled and empowered by this display of confidence in our organization as well as the investment in the future of our work.

As an organization, we are committed to addressing the issue of racial justice, especially in the vast realm of the outdoors, working head on to change the misconception that nature is a “white space.” Massachusetts has wooded trails, rivers and coastline all within an hour of city and town centers, but we know that access goes beyond geography, transportation or gear. Access is also about a sense of belonging in nature and early positive experiences in the outdoors. It’s not easy, affordable or necessarily safe for youth of color to spend time in Boston’s public lands. Hiking trails can feel a lot further away to youth whose guardians or peers don’t spend time in the outdoors, or when they lack the skills, knowledge or gear to get started. To us, accessibility is not only about having a large number of maintained trails. It’s about building the simple, everyday habit of spending time outdoors.

The work that we do at Elevate Youth also plays a vital role in protecting the future of natural places in our country. We bring urban youth, primarily those of color, out of the city to expand their worldview, heighten their curiosity, and inspire their creativity. By introducing these kids to nature at a young age, educating them about the complexity of biological relationships, providing them with memorable experiences in the outdoors, and exposing them to the endless possibilities of outdoor recreation, we are ensuring that they will care about the precious natural spaces left in our world. What we are doing is creating environmental stewards for the future.

Alec Griswold