Highlights of 2021

This year, 2021, has been such a big journey, full of growth for Justice Outside! Thank you for being together with us in this work. As the year draws to a close, we want to lift up some important developments and milestones for this work, for our community, for our grantees, and for our movements. 2021:

Liberated Paths Grantmaking Program — Over the summer we led a series of three community building webinars to expand our outreach to new and possible grantees. We also just wrapped up our 2021 award process and granted $1 million to 52 grantees (up from $3337,000 to 17 grantees last year). This year’s grantees include California-based organizations, in addition to the Pacific Northwest and American Southwest.

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Outdoor Educators Institute — We wrapped up our 2021 Spring cohort in May. This fall we launched cohorts in three different regions: San Francisco/East Bay, South Bay, and Fresno. Due to ongoing Covid concerns, they were hybrid, meaning that participants meet in person and virtually. This is the first year we have been able to run four Outdoor Educators Institutes. (Be sure to check out the Outdoor Educators’ profiles on Instagram!) One of this year’s participants shared about their experience:

“OEI serendipitously arrived in my life. The thankfulness I have had to experience this program is beyond words.The liberation in being able to say “yes” safely and the instant implementation of my “No” gave has honestly been life changing. I also learned about my own blind biases, and assumptions that can create barriers to those around me, especially within the outdoor space. I know where to start when looking for resources for my outdoor goals. I have a connection to locations and people when referring my friends, youth and other community members to also reaching their goals.”

Rising Leaders Fellowship — The 2021 Rising Leaders Fellowship launched in April with a cohort of 21 participants from across the country (our first time expanding beyond the Bay Area). We just wrapped up in November, and 2021’s curriculum included a participatory grantmaking project led by the fellows.
For criteria the Rising Leaders considered these factors among others:

After crafting and executing an equity-centered research and interview process, the Rising Leaders awarded grants to:

  • West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project;
  • Radical Monarchs;
  • Sogorea Te Land Trust;
  • Acta Non Verba- Youth Urban Farm Project;
  • Association of Ramaytush Ohlone;
  • Tamien Nation;
  • EARTHseed Farm; and
  • Youth vs. Apocalypse.

The Cultural Relevancy Series — We launched this in early 2021 with two concurrent cohorts, totaling 10 organizations each, all William Penn Foundation grantees on the east coast. In addition to the standard curriculum, we piloted a Cultural Relevancy Series Book Club to read and discuss The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee.

Training & Support — Demand for our consulting and coaching services continues to outpace our capacity. (In fact, we are hiring a Training and Support Manager – please help us find our new team member!) Since February 2021, we have conducted 100+ hours of training reaching over 600 participants. Our approach to training is: We build commitment to racial justice. We help organizations build inclusive and anti-racist organizational culture. And we provide a space for people to learn, grow, and challenge themselves and others. Our trainings prepare individuals and institutions to become agents of change for increased racial justice in their work. We also offer organizational assessments; individual coaching; and technical assistance, which includes targeted support to build capacity and institutionalize change at an organization.

Planning for the Future — We received an Organizational Effectiveness grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in the spring and are using the funds to (1) create a 5 year business plan based on the strategic refresh we did last year and (2) hire consultants to help us move forward with new communications strategies and staff development. We will be sharing our future plans in more detail soon!

We changed our name to Justice Outside! — Our renaming and brand refresh process was a focal point for us this spring. We worked to align our mission of advancing racial justice and equity in the outdoor movement with our new name. We have been so heartened to hear from you, our community, that the new name now matches the organization that you know us to be, one that centers racial justice as our north star, so that we can make an even bigger impact to transform the outdoor and environmental movement.

UC Berkeley/Lawrence Hall of Science Partnership — In June we were awarded funds from the Pisces Foundation to support our partnership with UC/Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science in the creation of a subnational environmental education backbone network that centers Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Environmental Education field. We are currently conducting a “review of the literature” around successful subnational networks and organizing. We are also collaborating with the UC/Berkeley Hall of Science to offer “Working towards Racial Equity Workshop”, a two-year workshop series on building racial equity in environmental and outdoor science organizations.

Also in 2021, the California Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education awarded us the “2021 Environmental Education Organization of the Year” for “advancing the impact of environmental and outdoor education in California in a meaningful way.”

Our Vision for Liberation In the News

Speaking Up all Over the Country — Justice Outside participated in the following speaking engagements/conferences:

  • “The Power of Affinity Spaces: Intersections and Outcomes” — California Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education
  • “Justice Requires Centering Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color in Our Giving” — Blue Sky Funders Forum
  • “Being Black & Brown Outside: Connecting Our Youth to Nature” — City Parks Alliance Summer Series — Rena Payan, Senior Program Manager, panelist
  • “Serving All: Equitable Access to the Outdoors” — National Association of Park Foundations — Kim Moore Bailey, CEO
  • “Bold, Black, Brown Bosses Bringing in the Bucks: A Real Talk In Navigating the Fundraising Terrain from Different Vantage Points” — BAME Conference — Kim Moore Bailey, CEO, panelist
  • “It Takes a Village: Partnering with Nonprofits to Maximize Your Credibility and Prove Essentiality” — National Recreation and Park Association Conference —Kim Moore Bailey, CEO, co-presenter

The Center of This Work — We envision a just world where Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color experience safety, health, and abundant joy through meaningful relationships with one another and the outdoors. Every one of these programs and initiatives are designed and implemented to model the joy, meaning, and community connectivity that we want to build in our movements and in the world. As we close out this reflection on 2021, we want to leave you with the list of values that our Rising Leaders Fellowship cohort drew up to ground their participatory grantmaking process:

With the end of the year approaching, we invite you deepen your commitment to full inclusion in the outdoors and environmental movements, and also to deepen your commitment to building joy within yourself and with your communities.

For those new to Justice Outside, we invite you to join us. And for friends new and old, we invite you to support the growth of this work in 2022 with a year-end donation. Thank you for all you do for racial and environmental justice, and to shift resources to, build power with, and center the voices and leadership of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color — because the health of current and future generations demands it.