REI invests in the great outdoors to the tune of $4.2M

SEATTLE  — Recreational Equipment Inc. announced that it plans to give $4.2 million this year to nonprofits across the country that work to preserve and maintain natural spaces through active volunteer programs.

According to REI, the company designates 3% of the previous year's operating profit to its annual grants program. Because REI employees have the most direct connection to local nonprofits, store employees nominate organizations from their local community. REI invites selected nominees to apply for grant funding. Eligible organizations must be outdoor nonprofits that promote active volunteerism through their programs, such as hands-on trail building or restoration events.

“At REI, we encourage our members and customers who enjoy the outdoors to play an active role in taking care of those places,” said Kevin Hagen, director of corporate social responsibility for REI. “We are honored to partner with hundreds of dedicated nonprofit organizations that share a similar mission and whose programs allow us to expand these efforts to trails, waterways and parks across the country.”

2011 applications were submitted throughout the spring and REI is currently notifying grant recipients in each of its communities, the company reported. In the coming months, members and customers can visit their local REI store, the REI Blog or their local REI Facebook or Twitter page to learn more about REI’s selected grant partners and how to get involved. Last year, the company granted $3.7 million to more than 320 nonprofits across the country. A full list of the REI’s 2010 grant recipients is available at REI.com.