Outdoor Gear Exchange Charitable Grant Fund

Outdoor Gear Exchange Charitable Grant Fund

A Letter to Our Charitable Grant Fund Community

Dear community partners,

In light of recent efforts to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, Outdoor Gear Exchange decided to close our doors on March 17 until it is deemed safe to open again. While our website will remain operational, our retail store will not be open to the public, all of our events are canceled until further notice, and we will be postponing the application process for the spring 2020 Charitable Grant Fund cycle.

This was a difficult decision to make, but we feel it is best to allow both us and our nonprofit partners time to manage the COVID-19 situation internally. We are sorry for any inconveniences this announcement may cause, but we will be sharing new Charitable Grant Fund application dates with you all once our doors reopen.

We look forward to reading your applications later this spring when the grant cycle is up and running. Until then, we hope you find safe ways to spend time outdoors during these unprecedented times.

The Outdoor Gear Exchange Charitable Grant Fund's mission is to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities in Vermont communities by partnering with qualified organizations that focus on land conservation, land access, trail development and outdoor educational programming.

Our Vision

At Outdoor Gear Exchange, we believe access to and conservation of our natural landscapes is critical to the health of Vermont’s communities, many of which remain underserved and underfunded by traditional state services and educational entities. Our Charitable Grant Fund looks to provide resources to nonprofits aligned with our own vision for better outdoor access and education.

Through two annual grant cycles, the Charitable Grant Fund awards three to six organizations grants of up to $2,000. These grants are funded by customer donations through our consignment program, with Outdoor Gear Exchange then matching every dollar contributed towards our charitable giving efforts. Funds are preferentially provided for specific aspects of individual local projects.

Awardees are selected through an internal juried process looking to identify projects for which the grant will make the most positive impact.

Installing Puncheon on Mt. Mansfield's Ridgeline

Eligibility Guidelines

We are thrilled about the number of applications that we receive during each grant cycle. We do ask, however, that your project meets this list of guidelines before you apply:

  • The awarded grant will have a substantively positive financial impact for your organization, and be significant in bringing your project to completion.
  • Your project will have a tangible, positive impact on our local recreational community.
  • We preferentially support the non-administrative aspects of projects that provide infrastructural developments related to trail access or conservation. Examples include: The construction of composting outhouses along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, building and maintaining bridges on Fellowship of the Wheel mountain bike trails, and the establishment of a picnic area on the Mill Trail Property.
  • For applicants with an education focus, we seek to fund public/non-profit educational programming that fosters an appreciation for the natural world and/or outdoor recreation.

How To Apply

During each of the year's two grant application periods, a link to a current application will be made available at the top of this page. If you think your organization's project meets our eligibility guidelines, complete an application and send it via email to our Charitable Grant Fund Coordinator.

Trail maintenance at Bolton Dome

Recipients of the Fall 2019 Grant Cycle

Bristol Recreation Club

Bristol Recreation Club's OGE Grant will be used for the improvement of the trail around the New Haven River, including bench cutting and the installation of stone steps. This project will increase access to outdoor recreation for folks regardless of age, ability, or socioeconomic situation.

Friends of the Winooski River

The Friends of the Winooski River will use their grant for the restoration of the river access point on the Montpelier High School grounds. This project will increase participation in outdoor recreation as well as aid in the preservation and rehabilitation of the riparian habitat through native tree/shrub planting and the development of a boat chute.

Lake Champlain Land Trust

The Lake Champlain Land Trust will use their grant for the restoration of Derway Cove in collaboration with the Winooski Valley Parks District. This project will be a key factor in the preservation/rehabilitation of the riparian habitats in Derway Cove and water quality of Lake Champlain through native tree/shrub planting, removal of invasive species, and the installation of educational signs.

Northwoods Stewardship Center

The Grant Fund will support the purchase of nordic ski equipment for youth winter programming. This project will increase participation in winter-based recreation in a rural area, and aid in the development of a relationship with nature among children and teens.

The Mad River Path Association

The Grant Fund will support the Mad River Path Association's construction of a boardwalk on the Mill Brook Trail. This project will increase access to outdoor recreation across multiple user groups (mountain biking, hiking, bird watching, nordic skiing, etc.)

Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land will use their OGE grant for the protection of the Long Trail on the Codding Hollow property. This project will increase participation in trail-based recreation for years to come with the permanent protection of the Long Trail (there are only 6.5 miles remaining to be conserved!)

Recipients of the Spring 2019 Grant Cycle

Cochran's Ski Area

The Grant Fund will support the development of a beginner and adaptive mountain bike friendly trail on Cochran's property.

Green Mountain Club

The Grant Fund will support the establishment of an expanded parking area at the Wheeler Pond trailhead, open to hikers, trail runners, and snowshoers.

Hinesburg Community School

The Grant Fund will support the purchase of climbing gear for their middle school climbing team.

King Street Center

The Grant Fund will support the purchase of required gear for six students from underserved communities to participate in the summer leadership programs at the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.

Mad River Riders

The Grant Fund will support the construction of a new intermediate multi-use trail, the Butternut Hill Trail. This trail will be open to mountain bikers, hikers, snowshoers, and nordic skiers!

Charitable Grant Fund Archives

Grant Fund Archives

Since The Outdoor Gear Exchange Charitable Grant Fund's inception in 2013, we have granted over $54,000 to local non-profit organizations who share our goal of enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities for all Vermonters. Click the link below to learn more about our previous season's grant cycle awardees.

See the Grant Fund Archives