Do you, or does someone you know, champion equity in the outdoors in Australia and New Zealand? If so, The North Face Explore Fund is here to strengthen your cause.

Outdoor adventure apparel brand, The North Face, has launched its Explore Fund initiative and Explore Fund Council Down Under – and they’re on the hunt for changemakers who are striving to make the outdoors more equitable in Australia and New Zealand.

What’s the North Face Explore Fund?

The Explore Fund is a grant program, funding organisations that are reducing barriers to participation in the outdoors, or working on environmental conservancy.

The fund has been operating in the US since 2010, expanding to Canada in 2012, Europe in 2018 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2021. 


Affinity Initiative


The North Face created The Explore Fund to help increase outdoor participation and stewardship of the Earth’s precious places, at a grassroots level.

With $25,000 in grants to support non-profit organisations in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), The North Face has elected five Explore Fund Council members across ANZ who bring a wealth of expertise, passion, and diverse perspectives to the project.

The North Face said it hopes to ‘empower future explorers who are curious, interested and passionate about the outdoors—but may not have access to equipment, adventures or outdoors experts they can look up to and learn from’.

Since its creation, the Explore Fund has awarded about $683,00 in grants a year globally.

The two founding Explore Fund grant recipient groups in ANZ have already been chosen: Affinity Initiative –  a new space for women of colour and people who’ve been historically excluded in the Australian climbing scene, and ClimbingQTs – an LGBTQIA+ social climbing community and advocacy group in Melbourne.


The North Face Explore Fund Launches Down Under to Champion Equity in the Outdoors

Cimbing QTs!

Keen to apply? Here’s how!

If you’re a part of a non-profit organisation, social enterprise or community group doing great work to enable access to the outdoors and take care of our beautiful natural places, or would like to nominate a group, submit an application! 

Apply Now!


Read more: Tips for Applying for a Grant


The North Face Explore Fund Launches Down Under to Champion Equity in the Outdoors

Affinity Initiative

Explore Fund Council in ANZ

The founding ANZ Explore Fund Council will focus on creating more culturally-relevant exploration opportunities and educating diverse communities on the benefits of exploration within Australia and New Zealand – they’ll be responsible for selecting grantees and allocating funding as it’s needed.

On the ANZ Explore Fund Council you’ll find;

Duncan Brown – a climber, gym owner, and community organiser who advocates for broader access to (and the environmental and cultural protection of) local outdoor areas, especially around his local community of Canberra.

Marian Krogh –  an avid adventurer, ski instructor, physiotherapist, and environmentalist living in Wanaka, New Zealand who’s the lead advocate for Protect Our Winters Aotearoa.

Phoebe McIlwraith – a Bundjalung and Worimi woman, Phoebe is a writer and content creator who uses her words to invite complex and nuanced discourse about race relations and justice in Australia.

Chagi Weerasena – a field ecologist, writer, and all-around nature and adventure-lover who works for the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and is involved with the reintroduction of regionally extinct animals on Kureinji and Barkandji Country.

Coralie Fleming – a non-binary activist, adventurer, and Managing Editor of Vertical Life Magazine, Coz has worked for over 10 years in the not-for-profit sector, at the forefront of key movements for change in issues including climate change and trans rights in outdoor sports.

Across Australia and New Zealand, the Explore Fund Council will be a working group that unites passionate experts across culture, academia, and the outdoors to create scalable solutions that support access to exploration, and help protect the places we love.

Why We Need to be Striving Towards Equity in the Outdoors

At its heart, exploration has the innate power to connect communities and change lives. Searching out new experiences, overcoming obstacles, and connecting with fellow humans is the recipe for global change. 

The Explore Fund is this idea in action – removing barriers to allow everyone to get outside by providing the resources they need. 

Picture a world where everyone has the opportunity to explore, get outside, and have a wild adventure – it could change the way we view ourselves, each other, and the Earth.

Read more: From Flying Planes in Arnhem Land to Helping People with Disabilities Experience the Outdoors



Photos supplied by The North Face, @affinity_initiative, and @climbingqts