3 Ways Our Members Inspired Us in 2015

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In 2015, co-op members raised their voices about things that matter in the outdoor community. Our members showed the power of a community united by a common passion, and we’re amazed by the results.

Here are three highlights:

Supporting communities in Nepal.


Photo by Dan Patitucci.

When the earthquakes hit Nepal in April, our members stepped up in a big way. In just three weeks, more than 10,000 members showed their support by making contributions to Mercy Corps, a nonprofit partner on the ground, totaling over $830,000. Along with REI’s contributions, total co-op and member support reached over $1 million.

Voting to fund local trails.

In August, the co-op launched its first-ever interactive stewardship program, Every Trail Connects. We earmarked $500,000 and then selected 10 trails (from the more than 1,000 trails that we support) to fund improvement projects led by our nonprofit partners.

Middle Fork Trail

Next, we called on members and the outdoor community to actively help us decide where to put the funds. It took just 37 hours and 25 minutes for our members and the outdoor community to cast 100,000 votes. In response, REI awarded an additional $10,000 to each trail, as part of more than $8 million that the co-op invested in nonprofits this year.

Choosing to #OptOutside.

This fall, we started a conversation about the power of the outdoors, and #OptOutside was born. What started as a plan to pay our more than 12,000 employees to get outside on Black Friday quickly gained momentum, and by November 27 #OptOutside earned more than 1.4 million endorsements from our community.


The response from our members gained traction as more than 175 other companies, nonprofits and government agencies supported #OptOutside and more than 350 MeetUp organizers hosted events throughout the country. Parks in 14 states encouraged people to get outside, with several offering free access on the day.

Looking back at the ways our members shared their love of the outdoors throughout 2015, we are awed, humbled and energized. Members continued to show that they stand up for what they stand for, and we look forward to seeing this momentum grow in 2016.

Have a happy, adventure-filled New Year.

P.S. If you want to learn more about how we support the outdoor places that our members love, check out our stewardship philosophy and annual stewardship report.