Today, the Outbound Collective announced its comprehensive plan to build a better, more inclusive online home for the modern outdoor industry. They have created and launched a number of initiatives designed to promote representative storytelling, spotlight diverse artists, highlight underrepresented leaders in film, and strengthen their partnerships and support of organizations from marginalized communities. Through these efforts, the Outbound Collective is advancing its goal of creating a more equitable outdoor media platform where everyone feels welcome and represented.
There is both a defined need for this effort and tremendous potential. The Federal Outdoor Recreation Trends: Effects on Economic Opportunities conducted by the USDA wrote, “African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are almost always less likely than whites to participate in the various activities examined in this report.” And yet according to the 2019 Outdoor Participation Report conducted by the Outdoor Foundation, Hispanic, African American, and Asian participation rates are all on the rise.
“I’m biracial and a founder of an outdoor media company, and I believe that the future of the outdoor industry is diverse. Right now, it’s missing a place for underrepresented community members to collectively call home. We are building that space,” said Brian Heifferon, CEO and co-founder of the Outbound Collective. “We are starting by changing the dominant, exclusive narrative. In the past, it has been centered on enabled, ultra-fit, cisgender, white males. We’re focusing our storytelling on the voices and experiences of communities and individuals who have been underrepresented and forced to the margins of the mainstream outdoor narrative.”
Outdoor industry leader Teresa Baker who founded the In Solidarity Project – Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge, has joined as an advisor to help steward the efforts, “The trail to achieve true equality and equity in the outdoors is long and uphill. It will take many people, businesses and nonprofits to come together to better serve the underserved in the outdoor community. I welcome the opportunity to work alongside the Outbound Collective as they continue to lead by example in working directly with folks from underrepresented communities. The outdoor industry at large is starting to make huge steps in creating a more inclusive lens of the outdoors and I greatly appreciate it.”
The Outbound Collective is launching three vital initiatives to accelerate its journey toward building a more inclusive and equitable home for the modern outdoors:
Outbound Collective Writers Residency for Underrepresented Storytellers – This three-month paid program is open to all outdoor-focused writers from historically underrepresented and marginalized communities. Selected writers will be spotlighted on the Outbound Collective website, and their stories will be featured and promoted to the Outbound’s audience of 15 million users and 840,000 social media followers.
The quarterly application period for their first residency just closed, and the company will be selecting and announcing their first two writers in the coming week. In addition to the $2,000 in cash compensation, Eddie Bauer, HOKA, and Sawyer Products contributed substantial gear packages to the writers.
Outbound Collective Artist Network – This program prioritizes and supports both emerging and more well-known artists from underrepresented communities. It will provide these artists with a wider platform to share their creative voices, to help them generate additional sales and income, and to help fundraise for important organizations and nonprofits of their choosing.
The first Outbound Collective Artist Network is a collaboration with José González, the founder of Latino Outdoors, and Teresa Baker, the founder of the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge. González illustrated the artwork for Black Bear Joy Socks with artistic direction from Baker. All proceeds will support Latino Outdoors and Outdoor Outreach, nonprofits selected by both González and Baker.
Outbound Collective #EveryoneOutside Film Series – The Outbound launched its #EveryoneOutside Film Series last year and featured the stories of Nailah Blades, Jess Sporte, Chris Hill, and Teresa Baker and a group of amazing outdoor leaders. Multiple films from the series were selected for MountainFilm, 5Point Adventure Film Festival, and the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival, reaching tens of thousands of people.
This year the Outbound will continue to tell additional beautiful, important stories that elevate athletes and leaders from marginalized communities who challenge the antiquated concepts of belonging in the outdoors. The 2020 #EveryoneOutside Film Series is presented by HOKA with additional support from Kampgrounds of America, Visit Florida, and their industry partners.
The Outbound Collective’s top priority moving forward is to architect an ecosystem of support and shared values among its partners at both the community and corporate levels.
They are working with affinity groups and nonprofits from underrepresented communities to amplify their work and to support them in various ways. This includes sharing their stories, promoting their fundraising efforts and events, and facilitating connections with new industry partners. In addition to Teresa Baker’s In Solidarity Project, additional current partners include: Color Outside, HBCUs Outside Fat Girls Hiking, Outdoor Outreach, Paradox Sports, SheJumps, and The Venture Out Project.
The team at the Outbound Collective is also working with a select number of key outdoor and travel partners who share their vision for building a more inclusive outdoor and travel industry. These industry partners are provided with exclusive opportunities, including deeper integrations within the Outbound user experience, custom product collaborations, and direct connections with the Outbound community. Current partners include: Eddie Bauer, HOKA, Visit Florida, Sawyer and Backcountry.
Outbound Collective COO and co-founder Tyler Drake added, “We invite other potential partners to join us in this vital, necessary work. Together, we can make the outdoors a place where everyone feels welcome, represented, and empowered to live healthier, happier lives through the pursuit of everyday adventures.”
ABOUT THE OUTBOUND COLLECTIVE
Launched in 2012, the Outbound Collective building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. It is a website, iOS and Android app dedicated to helping travelers find local adventures, tours, and lodging options around the globe. The Outbound Collective helps its 15 million users and 840,000 social media followers find the best spots to hike, camp, chill, and more – all with a simple interface, incredible photography, inspirational destination guides, how-to’s, and stories. To learn more, visit theoutbound.com and follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.