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REI Awards $25K in Rapid Response Grants

This blog originally appeared on the Advocacy Advance website

The Advocacy Advance partnership is pleased to announce new support from REI. Through REI’s stewardship and community partnerships, which aims to build and sustain access to inspiring outdoor experiences for the benefits of its members and the broader community, Advocacy Advance received a $25,000 grant to bolster the partnership’s Rapid Response Grants.

Advocacy Advance deploys Rapid Response Grants to help advocacy organizations take advantage of unexpected opportunities to access public funds for bicycling and walking investments. These quick turnaround grants range from $1,000 – $3,000 and are awarded on a rolling basis. Since 2011, Rapid Response Grants have funded 35 campaigns in 24 states. Combined, these campaigns have won or preserved over $150 million in public funding, leveraging $1,700 in biking and walking investments for every $1 spent since 2009.

REI’s support will allow Advocacy Advance to fund an additional eight campaigns to win new local, state, and federal dollars to pay for walking and biking projects and programs in communities around the country.

“Communities should have immediate access to outdoor places to lead active lifestyles,” said Taldi Walter, community affairs program manager for REI. “Partnering with the Alliance supports important work to create alternatives for our customers and members who choose to commute by bike or foot.”

REI has previously provided a grant to empower local residents to care for the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail. Atlanta City Mayor Kasim Reed took a ride on the new Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail during the trail dedication ceremony in October 2012. Photo from REI/ Christopher T. Martin.

Sharing campaign lessons

By focusing on the specific goal of winning public dollars for active transportation projects, Advocacy Advance has been able to hone resources and respond to the trends and needs of local biking and walking advocacy. As a result, Advocacy Advance has compiled sharable lessons to support a groundswell of parallel campaigns around the country. Last September, Rapid Response grantees across the country convened in person to share challenges, successes and advocacy tactics with their peers working on campaigns to influence local ballot measures, state transportation bills, agency policy change, and implementation of the federal transportation bill.

Rapid Response Grantees met in person in September to share campaign tactics.

While Rapid Response Grants have directly resulted in over $150 million of public funding for walking and biking projects, advocates calculated over $500 million indirectly leveraged as a result of their increased knowledge of the funding process and relationships with key decision-makers.

Advocacy Advance and REI share a common goal of empowering people to incorporate outdoor activity into their lives and creating accessible spaces that allow the outdoor economy to thrive. Thanks to advocacy efforts by grassroots leaders across North America, more and more rural, suburban, and urban communities have constructed transportation and recreation infrastructure that bring outdoor activity areas closer to citizens’ doorsteps.

With REI’s help, Advocacy Advance will support additional state and local efforts that are critical to win public dollars for walking and biking and dramatically increase outdoor recreation and active transportation access to enrich our communities and build the outdoor economy.

Is your organization working under a tight timeframe to unlock public dollars to plan, build, maintain, or promote safe walking and biking facilities? If so, apply for a Rapid Response Grant!

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