Press Releases

Patagonia and Merrell join the Youth Outdoors Legacy Fund

Two outdoor industry leaders invest in kids’ programs to cultivate future stewardship and protection of special places

For more information, please contact:

Dennis Madsen
Youth Outdoors Legacy Fund

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Salt Lake City, Utah – Igniting the excitement of paddling through a tall canyon, waking up in a tent for the first time, or hiking along a wide open valley is how Patagonia and Merrell will support the Seattle-based Youth Outdoors Legacy Foundation’s mission. These two outdoor companies join a growing number of industry leaders who realize investing in kids’ programs is essential to the virtuous cycle that leads to stewardship and the protection of special places.

“We need to bring children into those moments which unplug us from everyday life. Investing in youth programs builds into a greater fund of those personal experiences children must have with the outdoors. When the outdoors becomes an important resource to a new generation, they will want to share this legacy with others by protecting the environment and introducing their outdoor moments to others,” said Dennis Madsen, founder of the Youth Outdoors Legacy Fund.

Patagonia and Merrell join REI, Columbia Sportswear, prAna, WL Gore, Youngone Corporation, Black Diamond, KEEN Footwear, and the VF Corporation.

“So many of us remember our first meaningful moments outdoors and how we cultivated them into adventure and an outdoor lifestyle,” said Casey Sheahan, CEO/President Lost Arrow Corporation parent of Patagonia. “Whether we have made the outdoors our business or our personal passion after work, it is important to introduce children from all walks of life to that experience. This is what helps us join a shared legacy with future generations.”

“YOLF is a great way for Merrell to share the wealth of many outdoor resources and which pay it forward to a new generation of environmental stewards,” said Jacques Lavertue, president of The Outdoor Group, a division of Wolverine World Wide, Inc., which consists of Merrell, Patagonia Footwear and Sebago.

Today the YOLF advisory board approved grants to two youth outreach programs dedicated to providing young people with positive, fun outdoor recreational experiences:

–Kids in Training, Cary, N.C. $15,000
–Ebony Rose Ski Club/African American Outdoor Association, Portland, Ore. $14,000

In January of 2007, YOLF granted $151,000 to twelve similar organizations.

In 2006, the five organizations that YOLF supported introduced over 11,000 youth to outdoor recreation programs. “It is our goal to continue to grow the YOLF fund so that these and many more worthy non profit programs can reach kids, introducing them to the wonder of the outdoor world”.

The fund is being administered through the Seattle Foundation (, a highly respected and professionally managed community foundation. Grant making is overseen by the Youth Outdoors Legacy Fund advisory board.

About YOLF
YOLF was created in 2005 with the vision to engage young people in outdoor recreation while at the same time preparing them to be our future outdoor advocates. To learn more about the foundation and the programs it supports, visit the website at To add your support to YOLF, contact Dennis Madsen by e-mail at or call 206.713.1821.