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, lowering barriers to the outdoors, trail development and outdoor educational programming.
At Outdoor Gear Exchange, we believe lowering barriers 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 greater 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.
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 (in or around the state of Vermont) 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/nonprofit educational programming that fosters an appreciation for the natural world and/or outdoor recreation.
- For applicants with a focus on justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion work, we seek to fund programming that lowers barriers to the outdoors for historically excluded groups (BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and others).
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.
Grant Cycle Timeline
The Outdoor Gear Exchange Charitable Grant Fund is divided into two cycles each year, with applications for the spring cycle being available from April 1st to May 1st and applications for the fall cycle being available from September 1st to October 1st.
Recipients of the Fall 2022 Grant Cycle
South Hero Land Trust
The South Hero Land Trust will use their grant to develop an adaptive paddling naturalist program in partnership with North Branch Nature Center and Northeast Disabled Athletic Association.
Huntington Community Forest Stewardship Committee
The grant awarded to the Huntington Community Forest Stewardship Committee will be used to build a new boardwalk over marsh in a newly-acquired block of land. This land is accessible to the local elementary school.
Richmond Mountain Trails
This grant's funding will go towards building a trail kiosk at the new 'Driving Range' trail network. This is a multi-use place for climbing, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking.
Vermont Huts Association
The grant awarded to the Vermont Huts Association will be used to purchase snowshoes for F.O.R.E.S.T. youth program. The F.O.R.E.S.T. program allows underserved youth to explore nature in safe and accessible ways.
The grant awarded to Water Wanderings will go towards purchasing camp materials like camp chairs, tarps, and other items for the shared use of the community.
The grant awarded to Vermont AMBUCS will be used to convert an existing adaptive bike to electric, and fund programming to engage the community with this bike and its capabilities to create access.
The $2000 grant we have awarded to Audobon Vermont will go towards funding future after-school and camp programming for youth in the area.
Vermont Transmasc Camp
The grant awarded to Vermont Transmasc Camp will be used to purchase cold weather camping gear for campers who may not have access to it.
Waterbury Area Trails Alliance
The grant awarded to the Waterbury Area Trails Alliance will help them convert their trail work tools to all-electric as well as purchase new tools, as volunteer trail work is what keeps WATA going.
Victory Hill Sector
Victory Hill Sector will use their grant to rehab Leif's Trail, a popular 2-mile singletrack trail.
Recipients of the Spring 2022 Grant Cycle
Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center
The Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center will use their grant for the purchase of winter traction, gloves, and mittens to enable their students to continue learning outside during colder months.
The grant awarded to the DREAM Program will be used for the purchase of two kayaks, paddling accessories, and water quality testing equipment to teach campers about water quality in Vermont.
North Branch Nature Center
This grant will fund the design, creation, and installation of welcoming and inclusive wayfinding signage at North Branch Nature Center’s new trailhead kiosk.
Come Alive Outside
In 2021, CAO installed 20 temporary storybook stations in the Pinecone Adventure Forest. The story path has been a popular addition to the trail, and this grant will fund the installation of 20 permanent storybook stations, which will include plexiglass covered page holders mounted on 4” x 4” posts set in the ground. These story stations will be for families to read and learn about the outdoors together, and OGE is helping select reading material!
The grant awarded to Unlikely Riders will go towards purchasing 15-20 sets of skins for their backcountry ski and snowboard gear closet. They will be acquiring these through Big Sky Mountain Product, who features art from historically excluded artists.
Vermont Farm and Forest School
The grant awarded to the Vermont Farm and Forest School will help them build and fill out a gear closet for their students to use, which will include rain boots and jackets.
Friends for Change
The grant awarded to Friends for Change will help them to provide outdoor educational experiences that their students can facilitate.
Westminster Center School
The grant awarded to the Westminster Center School will go towards the purchase of rain gear for students so they can experience educational experiences outside in warmer weather.
Grant Fund Archives
Since The Outdoor Gear Exchange Charitable Grant Fund's inception in 2013, we have granted over $100,000 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.