Non-Profit Leadership

Winner

OrganizationUAB Birmingham’s Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center
InitiativeParks Rx: Your Prescription to Better Health
LocationBirmingham, AL
Founded2014
LeadershipDr. Mona Fouad, Principal Investigator
Dr. Mark Wilson, Co-Principal Investigator
Dr. Theresa Wallace, Program Director 
ContactDr. Theresa Wallace, twynn@uabmc.edu

Initiative Overview

Alabama ranks 6th in the nation in rates of physical activity (29.4%). In the city of Birmingham, 30% of adults self-report no leisure time for physical activity. Parks Rx was developed to connect patients to parks through a searchable online database. Parks Rx allows providers to prescribe outdoor physical activity to their patients. Currently, over 17,000 prescriptions have been written; the program has expanded beyond Birmingham city limits to Jefferson County; the population size served has nearly doubled from 212,157 to 447,364; and permanent Parks Rx signs have been installed in 95 parks.

Impact

Unplanned urban growth caused a disconnect between residential and recreational areas. To address this disconnect, the city maintains 130 parks and trails. Limited and unreliable public transportation makes these spaces inaccessible to low-income African-Americans. As a next step, Parks Rx will partner with REV Birmingham’s Zyp BikeShare (an affordable bike transportation system) to bridge this divide by installing bike kiosks in African-American neighborhoods using safe routes to park maps.

Impact by the numbers

  • 17,000 prescriptions written to date

Due to Parks Rx expansion from the city to the county level, the population size served has nearly doubled from 212,157 to 447,364

Innovation

Leveraging successful Parks Rx models, our transdisciplinary coalition integrated policy, systems and environmental strategies into our program by: 1) incorporating permanent Parks Rx signs in 95 parks; 2) offering physical activity programming in local parks; and 3) making Parks Rx part of a medical practice.    

Replicability

Our adult and pediatric Parks Rx prescriptions in English and Spanish are available for public use by downloading them from our website. There is also a place for interested parties to include their agency’s logo. Our program has been expanded to include a local pharmacy.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

Currently, we have no way of knowing the frequency, type, and duration of physical activity that patients engage in aside from self-reported responses. Due to the health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA), we are unable to ascertain individual health-related changes associated with Parks Rx.

Official Selections

OrganizationBoarding For Breast Cancer
InitiativeChasing Sunshine Wellness Retreats
LocationGardena, CA

Description

Boarding for Breast Cancer (B4BC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation that advocates early detection and a healthy, active, and sustainable lifestyle as the best means for breast cancer prevention. Founded in 1996, B4BC empowers young people to make positive choices that promote lifelong wellness through outreach, prevention, sustainability, and support programs.

B4BC’s Chasing Sunshine Wellness Retreats are outdoor wellness retreats tailored specifically towards young breast cancer patients and survivors, supporting them on their path to wellness, and besides their travel, are provided at no cost. These retreats are rooted in the mountains and oceans and connect young women with other women facing similar challenges. Retreat activities include snowboarding, skiing, surfing and SUP. They provide nutritional and sexual counseling, share meditation and breath work techniques, offer yoga instruction, as well as overall life counseling and story sharing. B4BC aims to empower these women with tools to assist them in moving past the trauma, and finding their way to a place that doesn’t feel so lonely and fearful.

OrganizationCalifornia Outdoor Engagement Coalition
LocationCalifornia
Founded2017
LeadershipJon Jarvis, Executive Director, Berkeley’s Institute for Parks, People,
and Biodiversity
Jenny Mulholland-Beahrs, Director, COEC
ContactJenny Mulholland-Beahrs, j.Mulholland-Beahrs@berkeley.edu 

Initiative Overview

The California Outdoor Engagement Coalition is based at UC Berkeley’s Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity. Our mission is to expand equitable access to the outdoors for all Californians through cross-sector partnerships and collective impact.  

The problem: While 47% of the state’s land is protected, access to it is starkly inequitable.

The solution: The Coalition will achieve its vision of “All Californians Outdoors” by harnessing the hundreds of years of expertise of our ~200 partners. Together, we advocate for equitable access to the outdoors; promote equity, diversity, and inclusion; and achieve collective impact. 

Impact

The Coalition serves audiences at a local and statewide level. 

Locally, we convene, facilitate and support the Richmond Outdoors Coalition, a collaborative, multi-sector initiative working to address the following priorities for equitable outdoor access: Communications about the outdoors; Transportation to the outdoors; and Creating pathways to being outdoors for everyone in Richmond to love and benefit from being in nature. 

Statewide, we leverage the work of our ~200 members through advocacy and outreach. A recent example is our informing and dialoguing with members on the new $4.1 Billion clean water and safe parks bond (Prop 68).

Impact by the numbers

  • 194+ cross-sector members since May 2017 
  • 13+ sectors represented (park and other land/water agencies, business, health, law, transportation, government, non-profit, prek-12 education, higher education, informal education, students/young professionals [under 30], youth development organizations, networks) 
  • 1 regional network/collective impact initiative (Richmond Outdoors Coalition) 
  • 4 annual membership gatherings (two in-person and two virtual) 
  • 4 years of Every Kid in a Park-Richmond partnership 

Innovation

The Coalition brings together cross-sector partners to break down silos and collectively achieve the vision of “All Californians Outdoors.” We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel, but rather to expand the impact of our members, who are already doing so much incredible work to achieve this vision, and who also realize that we must work together if we’re going to be successful.

Replicability

The collective impact model and Jane Wei-Skillern’s approach to networks and collaboration are proven approaches to solving society’s most complex challenges. The California Outdoor Engagement Coalition is applying these approaches to expand equitable access to the outdoors. This can be replicated in other locations, as long as there’s meaningful community engagement. We’re also an example for how other land grant universities around the country can be leaders in expanding equitable access to the outdoors.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

While our members are very committed to our shared vision, there’s an ongoing challenge of making sure that the priorities and actions of the coalition are aligned to those of our members, so that we’re maximizing everyone’s time and impact.

OrganizationCasting For Recovery
InitiativeAuthentic Outdoor Programs for Women with Breast Cancer 
LocationBozeman, MT
Founded1996
LeadershipWhitney Milhoan, Executive Director
Lise Lozelle, Marketing Director
Susan Gaetz, Program Director
ContactLise Lozelle, lise.lozelle@castingforrecovery.org 

Initiative Overview

The problem: Research confirms that many women with breast cancer experience enough significant symptoms to be diagnosed with PTSD. Support groups specifically targeting women facing survivorship and addressing quality of life issues are lacking, and many women continue to live with the isolation, fear, social stigma, and disempowerment that breast cancer often generates.
The solution: CfR hosts free programs for women with breast cancer, providing medical, psychosocial, and emotional support to address quality of life issues. Recognizing the health benefits of the outdoors, CfR introduces ecotherapy and the therapeutic sport of fly fishing, integrating nature into personal growth and healing.

Impact

Environmental: CfR encourages women to become stewards for the environment, emphasizing healthy fisheries and local conservation efforts. Programs are single-use plastic free.
Community: Faster/more effective recovery benefits the woman, her family, the workplace, greater community. (could be shown as infographic)
Success to Date: 6 month post-retreat evaluations:
97.8% felt CfR connected them to a community of women to help with quality of life issues.
98.9% continued to spend time outdoors and/or participated in outdoor activities suited to their physical/medical needs.
100% continued to feel a healing connection with nature and/or positive feelings toward outdoor experiences.

Impact by the numbers

  • 60+ programs serving 850 women each year
  • 9,000 women served to date
  • Serving women in all 50 states
  • 1,800 volunteers nationwide including medical & psychosocial professionals
  • 85% of each dollar spent on program services
  • 100% recommended by participants

Innovation

CfR makes the outdoors accessible, meeting each participant at their own level as they experience the healing powers of nature. The program has been adapted to better serve the diverse breast cancer community including young women, women with Stage IV disease, low-income women, military women, and women of color.

Replicability

CfR has a 22-year proven model and comprehensive policy and procedure manual allowing us to replicate our programs in any region, for any population of women with breast cancer regardless of cultural differences, socioeconomic status, physical ability or access to outside resources. CfR has garnered endorsements worldwide, inspiring international efforts.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

The biggest obstacle is a multi-faceted communications problem:
Limited awareness from the medical community legitimizing nature-based survivorship programs. 
Reaching women in need within the crowded breast cancer space.
Engaging marginalized groups: under/uninsured, low-income, rural, LGBTQ.

OrganizationConservation Legacy
InitiativeVeterans Fire Corp
LocationDurango, CO
Founded2010
LeadershipAmy Sovocool, Co-CEO
Kevin Heiner, Associate Director
Paul Schmidt, Executive Director
ContactKevin Heiner, kevin@conservationlegacy.org

Initiative Overview

In 2010, Southwest Conservation Corps piloted the 1st Veterans Fire Corps (VFC) program.  VFC engages post-911 Veterans to protect communities from wildfire while training veterans for careers in fire management. VFC crews complete service projects focused on fuels mitigation, fire prevention, fire disaster response and post-fire restoration. Veterans receive career-building training leading to jobs as wildland firefighters and other natural resource fields.

Impact

Since 2011, Conservation Legacy has engaged over 400 veterans and since then numerous other large corps programs have also adopted the VFC model including Student Conservation Association, California Conservation Corps, Montana Conservation Corps, Arizona Conservation Corps, etc.

Impact by the numbers

  • 400+ veterans served since 2011
  • 95% of veterans surveyed indicated that the VFC prepared them for entry-level employment in wildland fire
  • 90% of veterans surveyed indicated that the VFC assisted them in adjusting from military to civilian life.

Innovation

This program was created exclusively for recent era veterans.  SCC modified the outcomes of this program to center more around professional development than many of its other service learning programs.  The cohort nature of the program helps provide a cathartic environment to help veterans transition from military service to civilian employment.

Replicability

The model has been adopted and implemented at other corps across the country and especially in the west.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

Wildland fire is not for everyone so there is a limited applicant pool.  Corps implementing the model must work to better understand and accommodate the veterans they hope to serve.

OrganizationFirst Descents
LocationDenver, CO
Founded2001
LeadershipRyan O’Donoghue, Executive Director
Mackenzie McGrath, Director of Programs
John Scheid, Healthcare Partnerships & Recruitment Manager
ContactRyan O’Donoghue, ryan.odonoghue@firstdescents.org

Initiative Overview

First Descents is a proven low-cost, non-medical healthcare intervention with a vision to become the global leader in adventure-based healing. Prescribe Adventure: Improving Survivorship for Young Adult Cancer Survivors is a nationwide initiative encouraging healthcare providers to include outdoor recreation in long-term treatment care plans for young adults with cancer. Partnering with leading oncology hospitals, FD introduces patients to the healing power of adventure closer to the time of their diagnosis, supporting them with a peer network to improve psychosocial health during and after treatment.

Impact

Published in the Psychosocial Oncology and the Supportive Care in Cancer Journals, First Descents’ research findings demonstrate proven effectiveness through overall decreases to psychosocial distress. Participants further report heightened and sustained resilience, confidence, and self-efficacy, as well as improved body image and self-compassion. 

Most importantly, exposure to the outdoors often serves as a simple reminder to what our young adult survivors know to be true: that no amount of time on this planet is guaranteed, and to spend more days in beautiful places, with positive and courageous people, is an irreplaceable gift. 

Impact by the numbers

1,200 unique outdoor experiences administered
120 programs executed nationwide
More than 40 Healthcare Partnerships
16 established Local Adventure Community Chapters

Innovation

Our vision for young adult survivorship acknowledges that not every healthcare intervention comes in the form of a prescription drug or hospital visit. Instead, our initiative engages local communities and promotes interaction within natural environments to introduce individuals to a broader perspective of health.

Replicability

First Descents’ has established partnerships with over 300 healthcare professionals and 40 leading medical centers to augment survivorship programming, drive participant recruitment, and inspire national and local health solutions. This model fosters collaboration within the outdoor and healthcare industries, improves efficiencies of community resources, and reduces unnecessary replication of services.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

Each year, over 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer in the US. Caught at a pivotal time in their lives, these individuals are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage cancers and are often underinsured or uninsured. As a result, YAs make up the most underserved and isolated cancer demographic, demonstrating a significant demand for services.

OrganizationForce Blue
LocationMontauk, NY
Founded2001
LeadershipJim Ritterhoff, Executive Director
Keith Sahm, Program Director
Nicole Rosga, Operations Director
Angelo Fiore, Training Director
ContactJim Ritterhoff, jim@forceblueteam.org

Initiative Overview

FORCE BLUE addresses two seemingly unrelated problems: the rapidly declining health of our planet’s marine resources and the difficulty returning combat veterans have in adjusting to civilian life. By uniting the community of Special Operations veterans with the world of marine science and conservation in one, mission-focused program, FORCE BLUE has created a model of caring, cooperation and positive change with the power to restore lives and restore the planet.

Impact

Environmental: Because FORCE BLUE team members are all military-trained combat divers, they possess a skill set, level of training and operational tempo that allows them to do more in the water—and to do it faster and better—than most scientific divers.  This makes FORCE BLUE a unique asset on any environmental or conservation mission in which it deploys.

Community: Unlike some veteran therapy programs that deliver two or three days of bonding experiences before sending participants back to their lives, FORCE BLUE is designed to onboard its veterans within a team structure and to keep them engaged on long-term and multi-mission deployments.  Team divers continue to train and to assist in the training of new recruits.  They participate in ongoing PTSD counseling, lead the organization’s community outreach efforts and are asked to advocate on behalf of marine conservation and veterans’ issues. 

Economic: The marine resources FORCE BLUE works to preserve and restore have unquestioned economic value to the communities who depend on them—not only for jobs and income, but for the protection they provide.  Similarly, by giving veterans who may be struggling with assimilation back into civilian life a positive outlet that continues to pay them for their service, FORCE BLUE is providing an alternative to costly, often inefficient, VA-sponsored therapy and treatment programs. 

Success to Date: Force Blue has taken part in three separate, hurricane-related coral restoration missions (Florida and Puerto Rico) and made numerous trips to Capitol Hill to meet with key legislators to advocate on behalf of our oceans and coral reefs.  FORCE BLUE has now trained a second six-man team (TEAM TWO) and launched PROJECT PROTECT, a 3-year, $9M plan to move all operations to South Florida to assist the state in its ongoing efforts to rescue, preserve and restore the critically-threatened Florida Coral Reef Tract.

Impact by the numbers

  • More than 3,000 pieces of coral rescued and restored to date
  • Reached tens of thousands of military members with a positive message of continued service
  • Generated more than 50 feature news stories (TV, radio, print, online) about its mission to preserve and restore

Innovation

FORCE BLUE is the only nonprofit organization in the world that provides long-term, mission-based therapy for former combat divers by retraining, retooling and redeploying them on missions of conservation, preservation and restoration.

Replicability

With over 30,000 military-trained combat dive veterans in the U.S. alone, there’s really no limit to the scale or international potential FORCE BLUE can achieve. Yet it is the idea upon which FORCE BLUE was founded—that  community can be created when you unite constituencies from opposite sides of the political spectrum by appealing to what they both already support— that makes it so eminently replicable.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

Coalition building. Inspiring those individuals, companies and organizations that have traditionally supported one of the camps FORCE BLUE serves (veterans/ environmental) to understand the exponential value of supporting both.

OrganizationGolden Gate National Parks Conservancy
InitiativeInstitute at the Golden Gate
LocationSan Francisco, CA
Founded2008
LeadershipDiane Mailey, Director
Betty Sun, Health Program Manager
ContactDiane Mailey, dmailey@parksconservancy.org

Initiative Overview

A program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the Institute incubates knowledge and innovation in parks – locally, regionally, and nationally. We convene leaders to forge unconventional partnerships that reach beyond traditional park boundaries. Our Mission: The Institute at the Golden Gate reimagines parks as catalysts for social good, making them more vibrant, relevant, and valuable for all. Our Vision: We envision a simple but revolutionary future for parks where their role goes beyond conservation and recreation to help address complex human challenges. As a cornerstone of social innovation, parks become more valuable today and for future generations.

Impact

ParkRx.org is the leading information hub for Park Prescriptions and a space for knowledge sharing in the practitioner community. Over 75 Park Prescription programs participated in our ParkRx Census (July 2018) and are included in our online Directory of Programs. If your work includes health/social service providers who encourage their patients/clients to spend time in nature with the goal of improving their health and well-being, contact us!

Impact by the numbers

  • Leading the ParkRx movement since its formation in 2010
  • 75+ (and growing!) ParkRx programs listed on ParkRx.org
  • Over 6,000 visitors to ParkRx.org in April 2018 (National ParkRx Day)

Innovation

A core focus of the Institute has been finding innovative opportunities for parks to provide value to society. With Park Prescription programs, the idea that nature could be incorporated into a health practice and that health and social service providers could actually refer patients to specific park programs was revolutionary. 

Replicability

Everything that the Institute does is designed to leverage the learning of early innovators to make their work replicable and scalable. We convene thought-leaders and host learning events in the inspirational setting of the Golden Gate National Parks. We share best practices, tools, and resources at instituteatgoldengate.org and ParkRx.org.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

Within the outdoor sector: How can you create park experiences that are welcoming to non-traditional audiences, especially those with high health needs? Within the health sector: Why are lifestyle modifications so infrequently “prescribed”? What’s the upstream solution to radically shifting how chronic disease and mental/emotional/social health are managed?

OrganizationGreater Good Science Center
LocationBerkeley, CA

Description

The Greater Good Science Center studies and shares actionable research on well-being, happiness, purpose, and social connection.

While the GGSC is not explicitly a conservation organization, it provides the scientific underpinning for relevant findings other advocacy groups can use.

For example:

  • What happens when we reconnect with nature
  • How nature can make you kinder, happier, and more creative
  • How to protect kids from nature-deficit disorder
  • How modern life became disconnected from nature
  • Noticing Nature (practice)
  • Why you need more nature in your life
  • How nature helps fathers nurture
  • Being around nature helps you love your body
  • Does nature make you more mindful?
  • How to raise an environmentalist
  • The benefits of feeling awe in nature

All these articles, practices, and research findings are featured on their website with 5M+ annual visitors, 400k+ newsletter subscribers, and 100k+ social media followers.

OrganizationTrust for Public Land
IndividualDr. Hanaa Hamdi
LocationNew York, NY

Description

Hanaa has been at the forefront of carefully addressing how we assess health outcomes through our projects. She brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge within the field of public health to her thought leadership, and is leading The Trust for Public Land staff in a group of pilot cities across the country to refine our expertise in this arena.

The Trust for Public Land believes everyone in America deserves a quality park or open space within a 10 minute walk of home. Across our country, more than 100 million people don’t. These easily accessible nature experiences have layered benefits, including significant health improvements found when spending time with family and friends outdoors. They also conserve working farms, ranches, and forests; lands of historical and cultural importance; rivers, streams, coasts, and watersheds; and other special places where people can experience nature close at hand.

OrganizationJimmy Miller Memorial Foundation
InitiativeOcean Therapy Program
LocationManhattan Beach, CA

Description

The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation is dedicated to honoring the life of our inspiration, Jimmy Miller, by supporting the healing of mental and physical illness through surfing and ocean related activities.  Through our unique adaptive Ocean Therapy Program, the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation enables surfers, educators, therapists, lifeguards and friends to help people affected by mental and physical illness experience the joy and healing power of the ocean and surfing.

The aim of their Ocean Therapy Program is to enhance each participant’s self-efficacy, provide him or her with a sense of achievement and accomplishment and instill a hope for a brighter future. Additionally, surfing is a physical activity that builds strength, balance and skill. They also endeavor to help make participants proficient in their ocean safety awareness and need for conservation, as well as inspire board sport skill acquisition for continued independent participation as a healthy form of exercise. As a further benefit, Ocean Therapy also provides a common activity for military families to participate in together and serves as a catalyst to break down the walls that often isolate participants from their family as a result of their past traumatic experiences. Ocean Therapy stresses that by successfully engaging in the activity of surfing and riding waves, participants will increase their self-confidence and belief in their ability to achieve goals in other areas of life.

OrganizationOregon Health and Outdoors Initiative
LocationPortland, OR

Description

The Health and Outdoors Initiative is:

A) Increasing physical and perceived access to the outdoors

B) Growing green space closer to people

C) Supporting culturally-relevant programming to build bridges to the outdoors.

They are leveraging outdoor recreation, healthcare, and the broader business community for conservation gains. All three groups endorsed a Washington County, OR measure to create $5 million/year in new conservation funding.

They are unapologetic about who they are focused on–Latinos, Native Americans, African Americans, people with disabilities, and anyone in rural Oregon. And leadership from those communities is essential. All of their strategy on policy, research, finance/fundraising, and programming is molded in support of those communities. The partnerships they have built where healthcare, business, environment, public health, and community all show up in the same room saying the same words has tremendous power.

OrganizationReel Recovery
LocationNeedham, MA
Founded2003
LeadershipStan Golub,
Executive Director
Debbie McKinney, Program Director
Shiloh Price, Program Administrator
ContactStan Golub, stan@reelrecovery.org 

Initiative Overview

Reel Recovery addresses the growing demand for and very limited supply of psychosocial support services specifically tailored for men living with cancer.  Our mission is to improve the lives of the men we serve.  To do this, Reel Recovery has designed a unique and innovative Retreat program that combines expert fly-fishing instruction with directed psychosocial support, conducted over three-days at premier fly-fishing facilities.  Reel Recovery Retreats can be life-changing events for men living with cancer, blending the healing power of nature with directed conversations to create a supportive environment conducive to relaxed, open and meaningful participation.

Impact

The overarching goal of Reel Recovery is to improve the psychological and emotional health of the men we serve.  We give these men a respite from their day-to-day concerns so they might gain a fresh outlook on their lives with cancer; we facilitate discussions that give them strength, encouragement and a new network of friends and support; and we provide an outdoor recreational experience that offers a healing connection with nature and new skills to bring joy, enthusiasm and renewed hope into their lives.

Impact by the numbers

  • 295 Retreats to date since 2003
  • 3,300+ men served
  • 29 Retreats in 2018, in 20 States & New Zealand
  • 700+ Active Volunteers
  • Full-Time Staff: 3
  • Cost to all participants: $0

Innovation

Men with cancer have very few places to turn for support. Reel Recovery is the only Program we know of designed specifically for men that gives them a 3-day respite from their concerns, provides them a healing connection with nature, and an opportunity to share their experiences with other men in similar circumstances. 

Replicability

Reel Recovery has replicated our Retreat Program 295 times in 20 states and internationally, with the exact same structure, format and content. We intend to continue to expand geographically, and possibly add additional post-retreat activities. While we have stayed focused on serving men with cancer, the Program could potentially apply to other diseases.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

We rely heavily on local volunteers to fundraise, organize and implement our Retreats, so identifying and supporting local leadership is critical for our sustainability and growth. We also are challenged to diversify our participant and volunteer community, needing to overcome the perception that fly-fishing is a somewhat elitist sport.

OrganizationSoul River Inc. 
InitiativeSoul River Runs Deep
LocationPortland, OR
Founded2003
LeadershipChad Brown, Founder/President
Faith Briggs, Tactical Operation Producer
ContactChad Brown, chad@soulriverrunsdeep.com 

Initiative Overview

Founded by U.S. Navy veteran Chad Brown, Soul River creates mission-driven environmentaleducational experiences, deployments, that combine veterans and inner-city youth connecting to the outdoors. Veterans serve as mentors, teaching the youth life skills, conservation education, leadership development in threatened wild spaces. Engaging U.S veterans as mentors for youth, rich, powerful opportunities for healing authentically two demographics as new emerging environmental leaders.

Impact

Soul River’s conservation goal is to engage disadvantaged youth and US veterans aschampions for some of the most environmentally threatened habitats in the world. We do this through mobilizing educational deployments into these landscapes, combined with mission driven build projects, social media, documentary films, art, and direct meetings with public officials.

Since SRI’s uses fly fishing as a vehicle to help support social change and environmental justice. We are frequently confronted by racism and difficult racial dynamics, which we must navigate. Soul River serves men,boys, women, girls, and members of the LGBTQ community, we also work with issues of gender equality and sexual orientation. Constant learning and growth in this area is part of our everyday work as an organization strives to grow our next environmental leaders. Our Initiative dismantles health by connecting disadvantage youth and veterans to our public lands, wild rivers and beyond builds genuine community, regenerate mental health and physical health ands ultimately establish and inspire a new generation of outdoor leaders to advocate for conservation spaces.

SRI Participants are in college, internships from the impact of serving in deployment. Success is largely measured anecdotally. Deployments gives deep insight into the impacts of the environment, economic, social and culture that our participants couldn’t get any other way. They see first hand, as our youth returning from deployments want to take action.

Impact by the numbers

  • Serves US Veterans and disadvantaged youth
  • Youth are drawn mostly from Portland
  • Demographics from our Celebration of Wild Steelhead event are characteristic of the youth we serve: 56% African American, 17% Latino, 19% Native American, 3% White and 5% other

Innovation

We merge a vastly underutilized generation of leaders: our US Veterans. Veterans are an ideal source of inspiration and mentoring for underserved youth. Veterans and youth benefits from each other in nature, forming bonds on mission driven projects. Veterans and youth finds a purpose together thru channeling their natural leadership.

Replicability

The program is scalable and can be created into chapters across the region with the rightinfrastructure put in place.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

We see the impact in that youth returning from our deployments want to take action.

(Unfortunately, SRI does not have the capacity at this time to support their efforts).

These efforts are centered around supportive bridges that leads to internships, advocacy development with our partners.

Organization NameWalk with a Doc
LocationColumbus, OH
Year Founded2005
Leadership TeamDavid Sabgir MD, CEO
Rachael Habash, COO
Bryan Romey, Program Coordinator

Initiative Overview

An abundance of people living sedentary lifestyles and not getting out in nature is leading to a national epidemic of social isolation. Walk with a Doc’s mission is to inspire activity and communication in nature. We provide the inspiration and the infrastructure for health care providers to meet with their community and spend time with them in a non-threatening environment.

Impact

Walk with a Doc has health care providers spending the majority of their days inviting patients/community members into nature. This added awareness to the outdoors has unlimited benefits. Most everyone loves to be outside together. Walk with a Doc breaks down age, racial, socioeconomic, religious barriers and much more. It brings us together.

From an economic standpoint, improved health and wellness of our community has countless benefits including improved production in the workplace, less sick days and more creativity. 

We are happy and content with our 471 international chapters, but there need to be thousands. We are currently addressing getting Walk with a Future Doc into medical schools.

Initiative Impact by the Numbers

In 2018, we added 196 communities and had 160,000 walker visits. 471 communities, 48 states and 25 countries.

Innovation

We believe that we are unique from the standpoint that the health care provider is in the park with the community members. I was personally unsuccessful in asking/telling/prescribing physical activity

Replicability

We’ve been blessed to be replicated in 25 countries. This is made possible by our national partners creating a toolkit, an incredible team, frequent communications through newsletters and always saying ‘yes’ to whatever opportunity presents itself

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

Our biggest obstacle other than funding is awareness. We are so fortunate to have an evidence-based program that is changing communities. We need to continue to get the word out.

OrganizationWounded Warriors In Actions Inc. 
InitiativeHonor. Connect. Heal.
LocationBrandon, FL
Founded2007
LeadershipJohn J. McDaniel, Founder and CEO
Gerard Dempster, Chief of Staff
Nichole Veesart, EA and Office Manager
ContactJohn J. McDaniel, John@wwiaf.org

Initiative Overview

We HONOR the service and sacrifices that our Nation’s combat-wounded Purple Heart veterans have made by providing world-class outdoor sporting opportunities (across north America) that CONNECT these tremendous veterans with each other, surround them with people and communities that care, in order to help HEAL the invisible wounds of war.  

Impact

We restore and save lives by instilling and bolstering values of self-worth, resiliency, self-confidence and independence through community appreciation activities that promoting healing via high-value outdoor adventures in concert with superb leadership components.  Additionally, we offer many volunteer opportunities for our Heroes and supporting communities to get and stay engaged.  Connecting our Heroes with other Purple Heart veterans, who share similar challenges and experiences, is a critical component of our work.  

Impact by the numbers

  • More than 3,600 volunteers nationwide
  • Conduct 62 missions in 35 different states (and two foreign countries) 
  • Serve upwards of 250 Purple Hearts annually 

Innovation

The WWIA was the nation’s first veteran charity to exclusively offer and promote outdoor sporting recreation (hunting and fishing activities) as a means of providing therapeutic healing in support of our nation’s combat-wounded Purple Heart recipients.  

Replicability

Today, some 12 years after the WWIA began work in this important field (non-clinical therapeutic outdoor recreation activities), numerous similar initiatives have spawned — supporting and promoting healing for veterans and first-responders through the power of the great outdoors.

Biggest Challenge to Advancing This Work

Measuring the long-term effects of our work.

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