Rethink Outside

    October 9, 2019
    by the Blue Sky Funders Forum Board

    Blue Sky Funders Forum is thrilled to announce Rethink Outsidea campaign to challenge and transform prevailing notions around time spent in nature and lift up the benefits of time spent outdoors as a basic human right. We aspire to create a future where everyone has positive experiences outdoors and shares the joy, health, growth, and sense of community that come with it.

    Since Blue Sky’s founding in 2014, our community has consistently identified a central challenge in moving toward our vision of a healthy, connected world where everyone has equal opportunity to have meaningful experiences in nature. We’ve grappled with questions like: How can we talk about and elevate the importance the outdoors can and should play in people's lives? How can we create a sense of urgency, moving our work from a “nice to have” to an issue of importance? And how can we invite action and collaboration from new allies to bring more resources and awareness to the field?

    It’s time to tell a new story.

    This summer, Blue Sky presented a shared narrative for the field, the “Story of Us.” Through a collaborative, multi-year, inclusive process engaging close to 700 individuals, we discovered that when we express the benefits of time spent outdoors as a human right⏤one that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience—that opens the door for new awareness and action. This new, shared narrative moves the vital work of connecting people with the outdoors from a nicety to an absolute necessity. Using this narrative as a tool, we can elevate the priority and urgency of our work, bring new resources to the field, and catalyze a cross-sector movement for equitable access to the outdoors and its many benefits. This shared narrative is not owned by any one organization–it is the story of us.

    Coordinated by Blue Sky, Rethink Outside mobilizes and equips the funding and practitioner communities to tell this new story in order to engage new partners and bring the promise of healthy communities to all.

    We invite you to take action now at and pledge your commitment to showcase, activate, engage, and invest in Rethink Outside. Communications resources, storytelling tools, and campaign-branded materials and templates are available to support your participation. We encourage funders to support their grantees for using the narrative and build their capacity to tell a compelling story about their work. (Blue Sky members can nominate one grantee to receive selected campaign services at no cost.) We welcome practitioners to use the resources and tools provided to bring new allies and supporters to their work.

    This new campaign website also houses stories of the inspiring ways that organizations and communities across the country “rethink outside.” Whether at a neighborhood park, a garden, or on the shores of an ocean, meaningful experiences outdoors connect us to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us. The Rethink Outside story bank shares examples of the narrative in action, lifting up and celebrating the breadth and diversity of the field. We can’t wait to watch this collection of stories grow as we work together to share the narrative and support storytelling for our grantees and partners.

    Rethink Outside will lift up and energize a growing social movement to create a future where everyone has positive experiences outdoors and shares the joy, health, growth, and sense of community that come with it. We have a shared responsibility to open doors to positive, rewarding experiences outdoors for all people, regardless of where they live or their backgrounds. Because when people connect with nature we all benefit.

    Join us. How will you #RethinkOutside?

    Blue Sky's board members are Jason Morris, Pisces Foundation (chair); Lois Morrison, Harold M. and Adeline S. Morrison Family Foundation (vice chair); Nancy Bales, Gray Family Foundation; Kathleen Doffermyre, George B. Storer Foundation; Taldi Harrison, REI; Kim Moore Bailey, Youth Outside (EGA board liaison); and Ann Shulman, Lampert Byrd Foundation.

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