The North Face and Facebook Fans Award Nantahala Racing Club $25,000 Explore Fund Grant

A total of $250,000 was donated to non-profits dedicated to getting more kids outside

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Bryson City, NC – July 21, 2014 – After tallying more than 25,000 votes from Facebook fans, The North Face today announced Nantahala Racing Club as a winner of the $25,000 2014 Explore Fund grant for the Young Rhinos Whitewater Discovery Project.  Earlier this summer, The North Face Explore Fund awarded $5,000 to 15 projects dedicated to getting more youth outside and connected to nature as part of its annual $250,000 grant program. In addition to this $75,000 commitment, The North Face chose 10 organizations and invited its community to vote on Facebook for the organization of their choice, giving fans a chance to be directly involved in supporting their favorite cause with the largest grants The North Face has ever awarded.

The Explore Fund’s mission is to inspire and enable the next generation of explorers by funding non-profit organizations that are working to connect children with nature. By encouraging an active, healthy lifestyle and protection of our natural landscapes, a stronger connection of youth to the outdoors can be nurtured. Nantahala Racing Club, which works to engage youth and families in rural Appalachia in whitewater recreation and exploration, was voted one of the top grantees for 2014 for their work which encourages underserved local youth not only to get involved, but to stay involved in whitewater sport. Click HERE to view NRC’s video anthem.

“Receiving The North Face Explore Fund grant is an incredible honor for NRC. Our project is very community-oriented, and it was rewarding to see the community rally around our cause.” Said Zuzana Montagne, NRC Executive Director. “This money, which will be spent on youth equipment and transportation to local rivers, will make a huge impact on the quality of our programming and the number of kids we will be able to engage in the coming year.”

Nantahala Racing Club was established in 1993 to support whitewater athletes of all ages and ability levels and to promote the development of whitewater sport in the United States. Since it’s founding, NRC has helped to develop numerous whitewater Olympians and National Team Members, and has introduced hundreds of children to whitewater kayaking. More recently, through outreach initiatives in Swain and Graham County schools, NRC has been able to share whitewater sport with underserved youth and families within the local community. NRC’s flagship program, the Nantahala Kids Club, teaches kids basic kayak skills and safety guidelines in a safe, supervised setting, and creates opportunities for continued participation in whitewater sport through subsequent weekend and weekly programs, encouraging youth to remain involved after their initial introduction to the sport. NRC has been able to advance this mission exponentially with the support of several important partner organizations, including Nantahala Outdoor Center, Endless River Adventures, Robbinsville High School and the Snowbird Recreation Department. In-kind donations from each of these organizations, as well as matching funds from Nantahala Outdoor Center, have significantly impacted NRC’s programs in 2014.

Young Rhinos Whitewater Discovery will launch on August 9th with the Whitewater Junior Olympics, which will be hosted at Nantahala Outdoor Center. This family-friendly whitewater event is appropriate for young paddlers of all ability levels, and will be attended by youth from across the country, including many new paddlers from Swain and Graham Counties. To learn more about Young Rhinos Whitewater Discovery, visit nantahalaracingclub.com/young-rhinos-whitewater-discovery.
All of The North Face Explore Fund recipients were chosen based on their commitment to one of three different focus areas: creating more connections of youth to nature and providing inspiration to explore, increasing access to close to home front-and-backcountry recreation opportunities, and engaging a new and diverse audience with the outdoors.

“It is exciting to see the incredible response from our customers and fans who are just as passionate about giving more kids the opportunity to experience the outdoors as we are,” said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “Together with our enthusiastic community, we are making an investment in the next generation of outdoor explorers and conservationists who will grow to love and protect the wild places we all love to play.”

Since The Explore Fund was initiated in 2010, The North Face has provided more than $1 million in grants to non-profits all over the world working to connect youth to the outdoors with more than three quarters of that going to programs in the United States.

About The North Face®
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in Alameda, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company’s products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.

Media contact:
Jessica Hollister
The North Face
510.239.1253
jessica_hollister@vfc.com

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