KEEN Announces 6 Spring 2015 KEEN Effect Grantees

Each grantee will be awarded $10,000 to help build stronger communities and a healthier planet; one more grantee to be unveiled through fan vote.

PORTLAND, Ore. (April 22, 2015) – KEEN, manufacturer of original hybrid footwear, is a brand committed to helping build stronger communities and a healthier planet. One of the ways KEEN does this is through the KEEN Effect – a fan-activated grant program that supports non-profits around the world who are inspiring responsible outdoor participation. In celebration of Earth Day, today, KEEN unveils the first six 2015 grant recipients, who will each receive $10,000 to inspire people to spend time outside. The recipients are: First Descents, Muddy Sneakers, GirlVentures, Open Meadows, Green Thumbs/Growing Kids, and Sustainable Coastlines

Since January, the KEEN Effect received more than 800 applications from non-profits in the U.S. and around the world inspiring people to get outside and responsibly enjoy the great outdoors. The grantee selection process was conducted by an internal grant review committee representing all departments at KEEN and its subsidiaries in Canada, Japan, and Europe, who collectively selected winners based on specific criteria.

“The amount of dedicated individuals and organizations making our world a better place is humbling and inspiring,” said Kirsten Blackburn, KEEN Brand and Community Specialist. “My dream would be for the KEEN Effect program to be a catalyst of action – to connect non-profit groups to passionate community members to make our world a better place.”

The KEEN Effect is part of KEEN’s
Hybrid.Care giving program, which has donated more than $8M in cash and resources to non-profits around the world since 2004. KEEN is committed to being a driving force in connecting its fans to the outdoor world and preserving it for generations to come. This year’s KEEN Effect applications represented more than 19 different countries and every U.S. state – a significant increase from the program’s inaugural season last year.

Announcing the 2015 KEEN Effect’s newest grantees:

  • First Descents: offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors a free outdoor adventure experience to climb, paddle, and surf beyond their diagnosis.
  • Muddy Sneakers: brings the classroom outside to instill in children a life-long love of nature, and to do it in a way that enhances academic achievement.
  • GirlVentures: empowers girls to stretch beyond their comfort zones and explore new physical, social, emotional, and creative activities as they grow into adulthood.
  • Open Meadows: prepares students for success in college, career, and community with programs designed for Open Learning – a mix of advocacy, equality, and academics – for a successful life beyond high school.
  • Green Thumbs, Growing Kids: empowers urban children, youth, and their families to learn about, grow, and prepare fresh foods, cultivated in an environmentally-sustainable manner through hands-on programs.
  • Sustainable Coastlines: helps keep the coastlines beautiful by supporting large-scale coastal clean-up events, educational programs, public awareness campaigns, and riparian planting projects.

Because of the overwhelming amount of amazing applicants, KEEN wants to award a seventh $10,000 grant to one more great organization, and is asking for your help and engagement. Head over to and cast your vote for one of the three finalists. Voting ends May 6 and the winning organization will be announced shortly after. The three organizations are: Axel Project, Alaska Geographic, and Paaqavi – Adventures for Hopi Youth.

“What’s truly remarkable and inspiring is not just the quantity of great of applications, but the fact that more than 50 of them were referred by KEEN employees, committee members, retailers, friends, or family members,” said Blackburn. “This shows us that the KEEN community truly cares, and wholeheartedly believes in our promise to build stronger communities and a healthier planet – the KEEN Effect is a true team effort.”

For more about the KEEN Effect, please check, or email Applications are accepted year-round and the final round of grantee winners will be announced on National Public Lands Day, Sept. 26.

About KEEN
Inspired by a love of the outdoors, KEEN Inc., manufacturer of hybrid outdoor and casual products, including footwear, clothing, and accessories, is dedicated to creating quality products that support the lifestyles and outdoor adventures of active people around the world. KEEN products can be found online and through more than 5,000 retail locations in more than 60 countries, as well as in KEEN Garage retail stores in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The company operations and culture reflect a stand-out commitment to building a strong community and a healthier planet so that all can create, play, and care. Learn more at

MEDIA CONTACT | Keith Cozzens, Verde Brand Communications,, 970.259.3555 x122