The Roanoke Outside Foundation initiative is still accepting donations and opens the first round of grant applications this week.
The Roanoke Outside Foundation, an initiative of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, has exceeded its $100,000 goal for Project Outside raising $107,000. The campaign, launched in August, is the first of its kind and will fund the maintenance and development of outdoor assets and support outdoor-related businesses in the greater Roanoke Region.
“The outdoors has become a sanctuary during the pandemic as a safe place to play,” said Pete Eshelman, director of outdoor branding for the Partnership and director of the Foundation. “Many of the region’s outdoor spaces have seen upward of a 200 percent increase in usage that has created rapid wear and tear on well-used trails, greenways, campgrounds, and river access points. Project Outside was conceived to keep these assets healthy and useful by engaging businesses and outdoor users to contribute and help address these needs quickly.”
“Long before the pandemic made the need greater, our 2018 study indicated adequate funding for maintenance of key regional outdoor assets was a concern,” Eshelman said. “We rely on the regional brand Roanoke Outside has built around the outdoors to attract residents, businesses, and tourists. We can’t let the brand suffer because the assets are deteriorating.”
“The pandemic would have been the perfect excuse to say, ‘nothing can be done.’ Instead, we figured out how to continue to build the outdoor brand,” said Beth Doughty, president of the Roanoke Regional Partnership. “It is gratifying to see how many businesses and individuals recognized how important the outdoor economy is to our region’s economic success and supported Project Outside.”
Grant applications are available now and are due January 30, 2021.