Quimby Family Foundation supports UMaine’s Outdoor Leadership Program

Students in UMaine’s Outdoor Leadership program test drive new mountain bikes provided through a grant from the Quimby Family Foundation.

The Quimby Family Foundation recently awarded a $15,000 Movement grant to support the purchase of a mountain bike fleet for the University of Maine’s new 4-year Outdoor Leadership program, according to University of Maine Foundation President/CEO Jeffrey Mills.

Hannah Quimby of the Quimby Family Foundation (QFF) announced that the University of Maine Foundation, on behalf of the UMaine Outdoor Leadership program, was selected to receive funding because they share with QFF a vision to grow more meaningful, reciprocal relationships with nature. The Quimby Foundation was inspired by UMaine’s approach to human wholeness and its efforts to foster stronger relationships between people and the woods, and waters of Maine. 

The University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) created the Outdoor Leadership academic program to develop students’ leadership skills, provide intensive training in both contemporary and traditional outdoor activities, and explore the interdisciplinary knowledge-base necessary to be safe and responsible outdoor leaders. The program will prepare students for careers in related businesses, nonprofits, and education. The minor began in January of 2019 and the 4-year program began this fall. 

The grant will provide the program with a mountain bike fleet, and bikes for outreach programs to K-12 students, helmets and maintenance equipment. 

Mountain biking is a key part of the Outdoor Leadership program. The fleet will serve as a “learning lab”. Students will be taught how to develop programs for local K-12 students where they will practice their mountain biking instructional skills and engage more young people in the outdoors. 

“Mountain biking is an important human-powered trail sport that can build individual and community health,” says program leader Lauren Jacobs. “UMaine students will use the equipment to explore how trail building and mountain biking are being used to strengthen communities around Maine. By exposing these future outdoor leaders to various trail systems and teaching them how to instruct and create successful recreation programs, we will be ‘teaching the teachers’ how to get more people recreating in the outdoors.”

The Quimby Family Foundation was formed in 2004 by Roxanne Quimby, an entrepreneur, environmentalist, and philanthropist. The competitive Movement grant funds projects to create and support opportunities for people to consistently choose, and meaningfully experience, nearby nature and wilderness through movement and activity.

Funding from this grant is part of UMaine’s current $200 million Vision for Tomorrow comprehensive campaign, led by the University of Maine Foundation. 

The University of Maine Foundation works to seek private gifts primarily on behalf of the University of Maine.