I Spy! Binoculors help a young camper explore the sand dunes of a national park.

Grantmaking Approach

Our approach to philanthropy is rooted in advancing equity, shifting power and building mutually accountable relationships. Through general operating support, grant partners have the flexibility to determine where funds are most needed to support their mission. Our approach to grantmaking is also cooperative, which includes partnering with compensated leaders in the outdoor equity space to recommend organizations for funding. This approach prioritizes power-sharing and equity in decision-making by honoring the wisdom of community advisors rooted in the communities we seek to serve.

Our three grantmaking approaches include:

  • Local Grants: Nonprofit recommendations from the public via online recommendation form and from REI employees in the communities where REI operates stores. These grants support the Space and People initiatives.
  • Advisor-led Grants: Nonprofit recommendations from compensated advisors supporting Space, People and Health initiatives.
  • Community Grants: Nonprofit recommendations from the general public and other partners supporting Space, People, and Health initiatives.

The Fund awards grants twice a year, in spring and fall. To learn more about current grantees, please explore our comprehensive grant database:


“What the REI Cooperative Action Fund is doing is different. Their model of trust-based philanthropy, with unrestricted funding and a simplified application process, has unlocked high-impact, community-focused initiatives. We feel supported and respected for the work we do in our community. Most importantly, because of this partnership, we can connect even more youth to transformative experiences and relationships in the outdoors. We are already sharing how this Fund should be a model to others.”

–Outdoor Outreach San Diego, CA