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Exploration has the power to change lives and connect communities. When we search out new experiences, overcome obstacles and connect with each other, we change ourselves. The Explore Fund is how we’ve put this idea to work—by removing barriers so everyone can get outside. Together with our partner community, we’ve activated what it means to explore—for people and for culture.

Advocacy and community partnerships are a core part of our brand’s 55-year history. In 2010, we formalised the outdoor industry’s first grantmaking program focused on increasing outdoor participation, expanding to Canada in 2012, Europe in 2018 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2021.

We’re excited to bring the Explore Fund to Australia & New Zealand in 2022, to tackle barriers in our outdoor communities and protect the places we love.

In its first year, the Explore Fund will help to create access and drive equity in the outdoors by funding organisations around two themes: creating a community of new explorers, and protecting the environment.

2022 Explore Fund Council

Scholars. Conservationists.

Social Activists. Outdoor leaders. Athletes.

Grant selection is guided by each year's Explore Fund Council members. The Explore Fund Council has developed a toolkit of seven practices that guided their work, including a set of questions and actions that can help cultivate a broader idea of exploration for everyone.

Download the Toolkit


Chagi Weerasena

Conservationist. Writer. Nature lover.


Coz Fleming

Activist. Adventurer. Changemaker. Writer.


Duncan Brown

Climber. Adventurer. Coach. Community Organiser.


Marian Krogh

Skier. Adventurer. Environmentalist.


Phoebe Mcllwraith

Bundjalung and Worimi. Writer. Digital Content Creator.

2022 Explore Fund

Founding Partners.


ClimbingQTs is a LGBTQ+ social climbing community and advocacy group inclusive of all identities and backgrounds, founded in Naarm (Melbourne, Australia). The QTs uphold a mission to create a space for all humans to feel comfortable, welcome and safe to be themselves within the climbing community, whether it's at the crag, at the gym or anywhere in between. The QTs represent a movement that is shifting how we participate, spectate, coach, work, train and play in climbing.

The ClimbingQTs was awarded an Explore Fund grant to expand their outdoor program into Meearjin (QLD). The grant will also provide financial support to launch a peer mentoring program at BlocHaus Bouldering, NSW.

Affinity Initiative

Affinity Initiative was founded as part of Women Uprising to challenge the status quo in the outdoor rock climbing community by empowering, uplifting, and holding space for women-of-colour.

The Affinity Initiative takes lived experience approach that addresses barriers that women-of-colour experience, to elevate the presence and uplift the voices of women-of-colour in climbing. It centres all aspects of the climbing industry and community to not only provide the opportunity, access and platform needed, but also to challenge the white-centric narrative prevalent in the outdoors.

The grant awarded to Affinity Initiative supports trad climbing mentorship programs and masterclasses led by The North Face athletes, catering towards women-of-colour with a range of trad climbing experience. They will also be provided with a gear library of camping equipment to lower the barrier of entry for women-of-colour to be in the outdoors.

Women-of-colour: For self-identifying First Nations women, Bla(c)k women and Women-of-Colour. We understand that not everyone identifies with the term WOC as identities and race intersect is complex. Affinity Initiative is for all cis and trans women-of-colour, non-binary, genderqueer and bi-gender climbers-of-colour who are comfortable in women centered spaces.