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Keen Footwear Launches Access And Inclusion Grants Bringing Underserved Kids Outside; 130,000 U.S. Kids Served Since 2014

January 19, 2021

Media Contact

Meryl Rader


The KEEN Effect Kids’ Grant Program,  that has introduced 130,000 underserved youth to the outdoors since 2014, is now accepting applications. KEEN works directly with grassroots organizations around the U.S. making the outdoors more accessible and inclusive for all. Groups are eligible for grants up to $10,000, with the total program reaching $100,000 in 2021. The application deadline is February 5 and may be submitted at

“Access to the outdoors is not equal,” said Erik Burbank, vice president of The Keen Effect.  “Seventy percent of low-income communities live in nature deprived areas, with communities of color three times more likely than white communities to be deprived of outdoor experiences. Our grants help fund local programs that get kids outside to play, -helping to reduce ADHD symptoms and stress, while enhancing social skills and building physical and emotional health. This has always been part of who KEEN is; we are honored to continue this work and be in the trenches with grassroots partners working to get kids outside.” 

The 2019 and 2020 grantee Biscayne Nature Center, based in Key Biscayne, Fla., fully immerses kids in their surroundings by swimming, wading, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and trekking through the Atlantic Ocean. Campers engage in hands-on science experiments and expeditions guided by professionally-trained naturalists, artists, musicians, and teachers that focus on how  art, poetry, photography, jewelry, making songs, and even food can better connect kids to nature.

“This year, we conducted our very first virtual summer camp,” said Nhung Nguyen, naturalist at Biscayne Nature Center. “Each day was packed with fun-filled learning, including art and science lessons, poetry classes and even weekly yoga sessions.  Thank you KEEN for enabling our campers to explore and conquer any and all terrain.” 

A KEEN 2018 and 2019 Grantee, City Kids Wilderness Project, based in Washington D.C., set itself apart, working with its students over the course of seven years. Rather than individual outdoor experiences, it invests energy into mentorship, through middle school, high-school and into college, focusing on how outdoor skills can translate into a career. 

“We are proud of the hard work our team puts in every day ensuring our program continues to transform lives in ways big and small,” said Sarah Cryder, executive director, City Kids Wilderness Project. “The KEEN grant is integral to our efforts,” she continued.


About KEEN Effect Kids Grants:

KEEN Effect Kids Grants Program was launched in 2014 to inspire outdoor participation, and ensure access and inclusion for underserved youth through innovative and creative programming.   Through support from over 100 KEEN Grants totaling $700,000, our partners will have engaged more than 130,000 kids outside for recreation, nature-based education, and environmental stewardship, actively building a future full of formative experiences and lasting values based in nature.


About Keen: 

Driven by a passion to make life outside accessible for all, KEEN is a values-led, family-owned footwear brand from Portland, Oregon committed to creating original and versatile products, enhancing lives, and inspiring adventures outside. Founded in 2003, it launched a revolution in the  footwear industry with the debut of the Newport adventure sandal. It has continued to launch game-changing products and establish new standards for performance, comfort, and design. The brand formalized its values commitment under the banner of The KEEN Effect, with a mission to make outside and the workplace more accessible for all, through community, activism and the protection of the places  where its fans work and play. 


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