2019 Grantmaking

Our LOI Period is now open. Please submit an LOI by Friday, November 30, 2018 at 11:59PM PST. 

Youth Outside is committed to improving outcomes in health, increasing environmental stewardship by youth engaged in outdoor programs, and advancing cultural relevancy in the outdoor field. In addition to supporting programming, we consider our grantmaking an excellent opportunity to support organizations through their cultural relevancy efforts.

Download here: 2019 Letter of Intent Guidelines

Grantmaking Criteria

Thank you for your interest in Youth Outside's Grantmaking. Please note, the deadline to submit your organization's Letter of Intent is Friday, November 30, 2018 by 11:59PM PST. 

Your organization meets our 2019 grantmaking criteria if the organization:

  • Is a federal and California exempt 501(c)(3) organization and/or a public charity or a public agency, school district, or a federally recognized tribe, or a fiscally sponsored project of an exempt organization;
  • Has an annual operating budget of $3 million or less;
  • Operates within the  service area of Northern and Central California; AND
  • Provides outdoor experiences for underrepresented youth ages 12–24 or youth in 6th grade or higher.

We seek to support organizations committed to impacting important equity issues within the outdoor field. If your organization meets the above criteria, shares Youth Outside’s commitment to improving access and retention of youth in outdoor experiences, and has either demonstrated a history of culturally relevant programming or has a plan to increase your organization’s cultural relevancy, then we invite you to apply for funding.

This is an open invitation and we welcome a Letter of Intent from all organizations that meet the above criteria. Please note, organizations currently receiving a multi-year grant from Youth Outside are not eligible to apply for a grant until they are in their last year of their grant award.

Carefully review the information in this announcement. Youth Outside hosted a Q&A webinar on Tuesday November 6, 2018 at 2PM PST to address questions regarding our LOI process. You can view the recorded webinar at the bottom of this page.

History of Youth Outside

In 2006, the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council (Stewardship Council) created a Youth Investment Program to support outdoor and environmental programming for youth. Realizing the importance of this work, the Foundation for Youth Investment (FYI) was established as its own entity in 2010, having been granted approximately $10.7 million from the Stewardship Council.

With these funds, under the leadership of the FYI Board and Executive Director Kim Moore Bailey, FYI continued to engage Northern and Central California youth, particularly those who are underrepresented in outdoor pursuits, with their surrounding natural resources and also began actively addressing the larger barriers that prevent this engagement from happening more consistently.

In the Fall of 2015, FYI officially changed its name to Youth Outside to better reflect the heart of our work: connecting youth to nature by eliminating barriers, providing resources, and promoting outdoor programming as essential for building healthy lives and inspiring future stewards of our planet.

The Grant

Youth Outside offers multi-year grants awarded as general operating support. If your organization is selected as a grantee, you will be provided with an award to support programming or general operation that lasts two years. The total grant amount requested for a period of two years should not exceed $45,000.

Grantee Cohort: Should your organization be selected to receive an award, the grant agreement stipulates that the leadership of the organization is expected to participate in a cohort series with other grantees for the duration of the grant period. During this time, grantees will have the opportunity to engage in capacity building and networking opportunities, allowing individuals to discuss systems-level changes and shared learning. The cohort will meet 5 times a year beginning in April 2019. All applicants must be willing to commit to fully engaging in this grantee cohort during the course of the grant period.

Evaluation Tool: In addition to the data collected through grant reports, grantees will be requested to collect additional data through a short survey to be completed annually by program participants. Youth Outside will analyze this data in order to better understand the direct impact of grantee programs, as well as Youth Outside's impact on the field. Youth Outside is committed to sharing this data with its grantees and the field on a regular basis, and encourages grantees to utilize the data collected for their own evaluation, fundraising, and program activities. 

Glossary of Terms as Defined by Youth Outside

Youth Outside offers grants to organizations that are engaging underrepresented youth in outdoor experiences through programming that is culturally relevant to the youth and their communities. Underrepresented youth are individuals who have not traditionally seen their identities reflected in outdoor spaces, green jobs, and the environmental movement as a whole. For reference, underrepresented youth include, but is not limited to: low-income youth, youth from first generation immigrant families, Native American youth, and youth of color. Cultural relevancy is the ability to effectively reach and engage communities and their youth in a manner consistent with the cultural context and values of that community, while effectively addressing disparities of diversity, equity and inclusion within an organization’s entire structure.  Outdoor Experiences include, but are not limited to activities/experiences in national, state and local lands, parks and bodies of water; urban spaces such as school gardens, farms, ranches; and camps which are utilized to impact youth’s well-being and environmental stewardship.

The Letter of Intent

Your Letter of Intent (LOI) should

1. Illustrate how the organization’s work aligns with one or more of the following priorities:

  • Environmental stewardship
  • Progressive outdoor-based learning opportunities that focus on leadership and life skills
  • Focus on health outcomes through nature
  • Hands-on learning opportunities in the outdoors (learning by doing)

2. Demonstrate how the organization’s work serves or will serve to impact one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Increase the participation of underrepresented youth in successful outdoor programs that provide meaningful, impactful, and progressive experiences.
  • Improve the cultural relevance of outdoor organizations and their programs to better engage and reflect the youth of California.
  • Make the outdoors a more integral part of youths’ lives to improve their general health and well-being.
  • Increase the quantity and quality of nature-based leadership and career-building  opportunities available to underrepresented youth.
  • Support collaborative and coordinated approaches to helping youth get outdoors and to increase their well-being through partnerships among diverse sectors involved in youth development and the environment (e.g., health, environmental justice, mental health, education, stewardship, and juvenile justice).

Youth Outside will give preference to organizations that have demonstrated efforts or commitment to strengthening their capacity in the following areas:

  • Increased Cultural Relevancy throughout the organization
  • Organizational leadership – board and staff – that reflect the communities they engage
  • Partnerships and community engagements; Program design and participation

Application & Review Process

Organizations must submit an LOI no longer than two pages, along with a one-page 2019 projected organizational operating budget. Please include a line item reflecting your total anticipated 2018 operating budget.  By November 30, 2018 submit your 2-page LOI and 1-page budget in one email to info@youthoutside.org with the subject line “LOI for [Insert your Program Name Here].” LOIs should provide the following information:

  • Primary contact name and title; email address; phone; and basic organization information
  • Brief overview of the organization
  • Description of how the organization’s programming or proposed project meets Youth Outside’s grantmaking priorities
  • List of top 5 community partners (other than funders)
  • List of top 5 major funders; and
  • Amount requested per year


Youth Outside will review all of the LOIs received by the deadline. Invitations for full applications will only be extended to a subset of applicants. Invitations to apply will include funding amounts, should the grant be awarded. Funds will be dispersed once the grantee recommendation is approved by the Youth Outside Board.

  • Letter of Intent submission deadline: November 30, 2018 by 11:59PM PST
  • Invitation to submit full application: January 25, 2019
  • Full applications due: February 8, 2019
  • Awards announced to selected grantees: March 2019
  • Awards announced publicly: April 2019
  • Funds released: April 2019

Ongoing Responsibilities of Accepted Grantees

If Youth Outside is fortunate enough to enter into a partnership with your organization in this application process, we expect the following from your organization over the course of your funding:

  • The collection of additional data from program participants;
  • An annual report and budget for your funded programming;
  • Agreement to allow Youth Outside staff to conduct site visits during your funded programming;
  • A member of your organization will join a cohort of other grantees;
  • Engagement with your cohort and with Youth Outside surrounding issues of equitable access, health, stewardship, and leadership with regards to outdoor experiences for youth; and
  • A commitment to seeking external sustainable funding for your program that can steadily take the place of the funding Youth Outside provides after our funding cycle with your organization is complete.

LOI Guidelines Q&A Webinar

Download here: 2019 Letter of Intent Guidelines