Outdoor retailer L.L.Bean and nonprofit organization The Trust for Public Land (TPL) have announced the 2020 recipients of the annual L.L.Bean Community Award. This grant program was launched in 2019 to support The Trust for Public Land’s goal of ensuring quality outdoor access for all. According to TPL’s analysis, one in three people in the U.S. – including 28 million kids – currently do not have access to a close-to-home park or open space. Projects in New Jersey, New York and Vermont have been selected to each receive $50,000 in 2020 for the creation and improvement of outdoors spaces that will enhance the lives of community members for years to come.
In Newark, N.J., this grant has been awarded to the Rider Farm Greenhouse project to create an urban farm at West Side High School to teach students about agriculture, business and health. Education is also at the helm of the grant awarded in Huntington, Vt., to the Securing Access at Huntington Community Forest project. This project will use the funds to enhance the existing Outdoor Education program at the Brewster Pierce Memorial School, as well as create a new 245-acre community forest adjacent to the school and Village Center. And lastly, in Callicoon, N.Y., the grant awarded to the Callicoon Riverside Park project will help construct a vibrant 47.5 acres community park with trails, picnic area, and one of the only public entry points to the Upper Delaware in the area.
Living within proximity to a park has been linked to both mental and physical health benefits, including reduced stress and lower rates of obesity and depression. L.L.Bean’s commitment to support The Trust for Public Land seeks to ensure these benefits are accessible to all. Today’s announcement follows The Trust for Public Land’s release of its 2020 ParkScore Index, which reported overall progress for parks this year, but noted significant challenges for outdoor equity as a result of the coronavirus crisis and resulting travel restrictions.
“Now in the second year of our partnership with The Trust for Public Land, we are furthering our commitment to help get more people outdoors to experience the many benefits that come with time outside,” said Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean’s Executive Chairman and great-grandson of L.L. Bean. “The three grant recipients selected this year aligned perfectly with our mission of making innovative outdoor spaces accessible to all, the first step to helping communities nationwide reap the countless benefits of spending time outside.”
“Close-to-home parks and open space are more important than ever – they are essential infrastructure for healthy, connected, equitable and empowered communities,” said Diane Regas President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. “I’m thrilled that L.L.Bean is committed to accelerating park and open space creation right now in communities that need it most, and look forward to working with them in the coming years to help expand access to the outdoors for everyone.”
Each of these grants is part of a multi-year commitment from L.L.Bean to donate $1 million to The Trust for Public Land projects over five years. L.L.Bean and The Trust for Public Land will continue to award grants annually to outdoor community projects nationwide and are looking forward to considering recipients for 2021.