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A new initiative from Camber Outdoors will widen access to the group’s DEI tools and programs.
Last week, Camber announced a sponsorship initiative aimed at small businesses and nonprofits in the outdoors industry. Certain businesses and organizations can apply for sponsored memberships, allowing them to utilize Camber’s workshops, mentorship programs, and tools like the Workplace Anti-Racism Action Agenda free of charge.
Camber executive director Emily Newman noted the widespread economic struggles of the past year as an impetus for the initiative.
“Given the economic constraints of this moment, we really wanted for nonprofits and small businesses not to have barriers to bringing [DEI] tools and resources to their workplaces,” Newman said.
Though she declined to divulge specific values for the membership pre-sponsorship, Newman noted that dues have traditionally been calculated on a sliding scale. Access to similar tools, she said, could cost businesses tens of thousands of dollars.
Camber’s initiatives, including the new sponsored membership initiative, are financially supported through contributions from a number of notable companies in the outdoor recreation industry, including: REI, The North Face, Brooks, Burton, VF, W.L. Gore, KEEN, and Deckers.
A spotlight on DEI
The initiative comes at a time when DEI is at the fore for many organizations in the outdoor industry. The In Solidarity Project launched a job board last summer, aiming to increase diversity and representation in the outdoor industry. More recently, companies like Eddie Bauer and REI have expanded their focus on DEI.
The moment has thrust programs like Camber’s to the fore, too, though Newman wants to be clear: Change is not just a fleeting element of the times.
“There is a spotlight being shone on DEI today, but this work, including the work that we focus on within workplaces, has always been important,” Newman said. “My hope is that this is work that companies are committed to, always.”
Camber has committed to sponsoring memberships for applicable businesses and nonprofits for the remainder of 2021, with no cap to the number of sponsored organizations. In 2022 and beyond, Newman is optimistic about the initiative’s prospects.
“I’m hopeful that the commitment of corporations in the industry who want to support nonprofits and small businesses in building diversity, equity, and inclusion into their workplaces continues and grows,” she said.
Camber will launch a new website in February, with a specific interface devoted to the sponsored membership program. For now, small businesses with less than $500,000 in annual revenue can apply for sponsored membership here, and nonprofit organizations can apply here.