Outdoor Lab Foundation Announces Jeffco Public Schools grants

New funding supports both mountain campus locations

Staff Report
Posted 5/30/22

On May 19, the Outdoor Lab Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, announced nearly $340,000 in grants to Jeffco public schools to support transformative and educational outdoor experiences for students in the district. 

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Outdoor Lab Foundation Announces Jeffco Public Schools grants

New funding supports both mountain campus locations

Posted

On May 19, the Outdoor Lab Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, announced nearly $340,000 in grants to Jeffco public schools to support transformative and educational outdoor experiences for students in the district. 

According to Outdoor Lab Foundation Executive Director Bryan Martin, a large portion of the grants — $195,000 — will go to 35 neighborhood schools.

“Outdoor Lab — if you’ve grown up in Jeffco — you know that it’s a right of passage for thousands and thousands of kids. Every year, 6,000 sixth graders get to spend a week-long residential camp experience on one of two mountain campuses that Jeffco Public School district manages,” he said. “So, literally, generations of Jeffco families — grandparents, parents, grandchildren — have all gone through the program.”

Outdoor Lab’s first location — the Evergreen, Mount Evans campus — has been in operation since 1957. It was purchased by Jeffco in 1961.  The second campus — Windy Peak — is located south of Bailey, toward the Buffalo Creek area. Windy Peak, which covers nearly 300 acres, was purchased by Jeffco in 1975. Martin said both campuses have been in continuous operation since they were purchased. 

The Foundation was started in 2003 to make sure the experience is preserved for future families.

“Outdoor Lab is vitally important to our community because it positively develops our young people into the well-rounded, confident, and empathetic leaders of tomorrow and helps students gain much more than knowledge. They gain skills in making a difference and an intrinsic belief that they can. That confidence and empowerment can spill over into other aspects of their lives,” Martin said.

The foundation raises money through as many sources as it possibly can, including partnerships with King Soopers and Safeway (where shoppers can connect their loyalty cards to the Outdoor Lab Foundation). Private foundations, local government grant-making sources and a robust special event called ‘After Dark’ account for a big chunk of the additional funds the foundation raises.

Martin said the foundation’s main priorities in the public-private partnership it has with Jeffco Schools is to ensure that every student, regardless of their economic background, feels that tuition is not a barrier to participation. 

outdoor lab Jeffco schools nonprofit foundation

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