Columbia Sportswear distributes $80,000 in grants for conservation projects

Columbia Sportswear expanded its conservation grants program this year.

Columbia Sportswear expanded its conservation grants program this year. 

A program led by Columbia Sportswear Co. that issues grants to notable outdoors conservation projects grew by more than 50 percent in its second year.

The Washington County-based outdoor apparel and footwear brand (NASDAQ: COLM) this week said it has issued $80,000 in grants to 16 conservation projects as part of the Belay Program, which it runs in partnership with the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, a coalition of independent outdoor retailers advocating for the protection of recreation areas.

The selection of 16 grant recipients, each receiving $5,000, is a jump from the program's first year, when it distributed grants to just 10 programs.

“Grassroots members and their local nonprofit partners demonstrated the power of grassroots partnership and conservation in 2012,” Scott Welch, Columbia's global corporate relations manager, said in a news release. “Based on the incredible performance of last year’s recipients and quality of this year’s proposals, we are proud to expand the program.”

The term "belay" means to secure safeguard a climber using rope. The Belay Program, then, is aimed at providing the "basic necessities to secure and safeguard local projects improving our environment."

The 16 recipient, spread across 15 states, were chosen by Grassroots members. They each receive $5,000 either in cash, product, or both from Columbia. The awardees are:

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