BOULDER, Colo. – September 30, 2020 – The Outdoor Foundation (OF), the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), is pleased to announce that Stephanie Maez, a longtime strategic policy advocate and nonprofit executive and a former state legislator from New Mexico (House District 21), has been named its new managing director.
Through community grant-making and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works with young leaders and partners to mobilize a major cultural shift to lead all Americans to the great outdoors. The Foundation’s Thrive Outside Community Initiative awards multi-year, capacity-building grants to diverse communities in order to create or strengthen partnerships between existing local organizations, such as schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs and nonprofit conservation and outdoor organizations that create repeat and reinforcing positive outdoor experiences for kids and families. The core goal of the Thrive Outside Community Initiative is to create healthy individuals, communities and economies by making the outdoors a habit.
Stephanie currently serves as the senior fellow for race and diversity at the Topos Partnership, a strategic research and communications consulting firm. In this capacity and as an independent consultant, Maez supports the policy, advocacy and research efforts of foundations and civic engagement organizations across the country. Her recent clients include the Ford Foundation, the Energy Foundation and the New Mexico Black Leadership Council.
In her role with the Outdoor Foundation, Stephanie will help advance the organization’s development, communications and grant programs. In addition, she will be responsible for the coordination of work across all areas of the Foundation, including research projects, issue briefings, community engagement and grants administration. She will report to the Outdoor Foundation Board chair and the OIA executive director.
“I am looking forward to working closely with Stephanie to expand the Foundation’s reach and impact in neighborhoods, towns and cities across the country so that more kids and families experience the fun, joy, wonder and healing benefits of the outdoors,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of OIA. “Together, we hope to increase the Foundation’s programs from 4 to 16 cities over the next few years.”
Jen Mull Neuhaus, board chair of the Outdoor Foundation adds, “Stephanie has a personal lived experience which is going to help her connect to those we are trying to serve. She is a great storyteller and dynamic nonprofit leader. We are so pleased to have her joining our team.”
The Outdoor Foundation Board of directors led the search effort. More than 125 candidates from the outdoor industry and nonprofit and for-profit sectors applied for the position.
When asked about her new role, Maez said, “Joining the Outdoor Foundation in this leadership role is an honor. The Foundation, in partnership with communities across the country, are innovating the way we connect underrepresented children and families to the outdoors. I am eager to contribute to these efforts, helping to bring the Foundation to the next level and growing the number of Thrive cities we serve.”
In recent years, Stephanie served as the executive director for ProgressNow New Mexico and ProgressNow New Mexico Education Fund. Prior to that, she served as CEO at the Center for Civic Policy in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Stephanie will start her new position in October of 2020.
About the Outdoor Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association, is a national 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to getting people outside for their health, the health of communities and the health of the outdoor industry. Through community investment and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works with many partners to get more people outside more often. Visit outdoorfoundation.org for more information.