Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS) has announced that the Outdoor Equity Alliance (OEA) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from Princeton Area Community Foundation’s Bunbury Fund.
OEA includes public, private and non-profit organizations throughout Mercer County sharing knowledge and resources to remove the barriers to access, participation and engagement in outdoor green spaces.
The OEA is fiscally sponsored by FoHVOS, according to a release.
The grant will be used to support the organizational development, strategic planning and
visioning activities to advance the mission of OEA.
“The Bunbury Fund’s advisors recognize the importance of engaging the next generation
of environmental leaders in the region by providing access to quality outdoor
opportunities and career exposures, particularly in communities of color” said Jay Watson, fund advisor. “We provide this support in recognition of the challenges of establishing a start up in such complicated times and hope that it will help build the organization’s capacity and advance their good work in the community.”
OEA was established to create educational, recreational and career opportunities for people of all ages, races and ethnicities, income levels and abilities to enjoy nature and become stewards of the outdoors.
“Members of underserved communities have less access and representation on public
lands,” said FoHVOS Executive Director Lisa Wolff. “This very generous grant will help
Mercer County advance the OEA mission of ‘Nature for All,’ so that everyone shares in
the health and economic benefits of the great outdoors. We hope to see community
members actively participating in local stewardship, programming and in setting
Eleanor Horne, Governance chair and advisory member, echoed Wolff’s gratitude, saying,
“We are grateful to the Bunbury Fund advisors for believing in the importance of our
work and investing in OEA’s infrastructure to build the capacity we need for greater
Renata Barnes, OEA coordinator, is the first staff member of the OEA.
“OEA helps our partners develop programs that ultimately help more people share in the health, wellness and economic benefits of the outdoors and green economy, with the
added benefit of leveling the playing field, for youth of color. We achieve this through collaboration and alliance building,” Barnes said.
“The OEA has already begun forming authentic and meaningful partnerships with other organizations and individuals through programs founded on creating pathways and experiences where very few if any have existed prior. We judge success by realizing a more diverse range of stakeholders. All these voices matter, especially when it comes to the environment.”
Leslie Summiel, OEA board vice president, added that actions speak louder than words.
“And, today Bunbury has shown great faith in OEA’s mission of inspiring future generations to be active stewards of Mercer County’s outdoor spaces,” Summiel said.