L.L. Bean to Invest $6 Million in Various Charitable Organizations to Increase Outdoor Access for Everyone

Multiple hands wrapped around a jar of coins.

LL Bean, an outdoor apparel retail company, announced it will invest $6 million to support several charitable organizations to help increase outdoor access in local communities for people of all backgrounds.

$6 Million Investment

The business announced eight organizations and outdoor programming efforts that will receive a portion of the $6 million commitment. The company did not reveal how much each recipient will receive.

The recipients are the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, The Outdoor Foundation — Thrive Outside Community, The Ecology School, OUT There Adventures, The Trust for Public Land, Cambodian Community Association of Maine, EqualityMaine Foundation, and Unified Asian Communities. Each recipient is associated with supporting admirable causes like racial diversity, LGBTQ+ inclusion, environmental care, and outdoor appreciation, among other causes.

A particular focus is placed on organizations located within Maine, as that is where the business is headquartered.

Shawn Gorman, the executive chairman of the company, said in a statement, “If the past year has taught us anything, it is that the outdoors can have a remarkable impact on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing…We’re proud to partner with these organizations to ensure that the restorative benefits of being outdoors is more accessible and as inclusive as possible.”

LL Bean added that this new contribution is part of its ongoing Outdoor Access Fund and Community Fund. The business has previously invested in other charities like the National Park Foundation, United Way, American Red Cross, and many others, adding that it would continue those partnerships.

According to the company statement, LL Bean has donated more than $30 million in the last decade toward non-profits that share a similar vision to the business.

Encouraging Outdoor Activities

For those who live in rural areas, accessing the outdoors may not be as challenging as for those who are in more densely populated urban areas. Additionally, if a person is looking to take part in a specific outdoor activity, access to proper apparel and equipment is a potential deterrent, among many others. LL Bean partnering with non-profit organizations that share similar values helps to possibly increase outdoor education and engagement with nature.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also played an important role in the last year or so in regard to outdoor activities. Due to government shutdowns, places of gathering for social activities were forced to close. As a result, many people started spending more time outside running, hiking, cycling, and more.

In March 2020, bicycle sales nationwide reportedly nearly doubled compared to 2019 as commuter and fitness bike sales increased 66% and children’s bicycle sales grew 59%. Consequently, the bicycle market experienced an extreme shortage due to higher demand but a lower supply.

While the pandemic caused a ton of possible stress and anxiety, the effects of spending more time outside have been researched for years and have pointed to the outdoors being good for a person’s mental health. The American Psychological Association has stated that time spent outdoors could improve cognitive and emotional health and could possibly be linked to overall increased happiness.

McKenzie Carpenter

McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Read more from McKenzie Carpenter