The North Face Is Fighting for Equality In Outdoor Exploration with This Awesome Initiative

The brand wants everyone to have the opportunity to reset their lives through exploration.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

The North Face
Photo: The North Face

Of all things, nature should be universal and accessible to all human beings, right? But the truth is, the benefits of the great outdoors are unequally distributed based on race, age, socioeconomic status, and other factors outside of your control. To help bridge that gap, The North Face is launching Reset Normal, a new global initiative dedicated to increasing equality in outdoor exploration.

As part of the initiative, the brand created the Explore Fund Council, a global fellowship that partners with diverse experts in the fields of entertainment, academics, and the outdoors to brainstorm and execute scalable solutions that will help support equal access to nature.

To start, the fellowship is partnering with Lena Waithe, an Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, producer, and actor, and Jimmy Chin, an Academy Award-winning director and global athlete/climber with The North Face. (You might recognize Chin from Brie Larson's video about conquering a 14,000-foot mountain.)

Lena Waithe
The North Face

Waithe, who's devoted her career to empowering underrepresented artists through her production company Hillman Grad, says that experiencing the outdoors should be a basic human right. "The only real way to see change happen is by helping to create it yourself," she said in a statement. "I'm excited to work with The North Face and all of the Explore Fund Council members so our collective perspectives can help diversify the outdoors and make it a more equal place for all."

Chin agrees, adding that exploration has been a "constant source of positivity" in his life — one that he wishes all people could experience. "I truly believe it is part of what makes us all human, and that exploration can bring people together and change lives," he shared. "Not everyone has the same access to or opportunity for outdoor adventure. This is an issue I'm excited to take on alongside The North Face and the other Explore Fund Council members." (

In the coming months, Waithe and Chin will work with several other creatives, academic experts, and outdoor industry partners to develop ideas that promote equality in outdoor exploration. Their learnings and recommendations will guide The North Face in how the brand develops, selects, and funds organizations through its Explore Fund. The North Face plans to commit $7 million to the Explore Fund Council's recommended organizations, according to the brand. (

Currently, communities of color are three times more likely than white communities to live in nature-deprived places, according to a recent report from the Center for American Progress. And, when these individuals do venture out and explore, they're often faced with racism. Case in point: Ahmaud Arbery, who was murdered while jogging in his neighborhood; Christian Cooper, who was falsely accused of being violent while simply birdwatching in Central Park; Vauhxx Booker, who was the victim of an attempted lynching while he was on a hike with his friends. What's more, indigenous people have endured centuries of displacement from their land and violent destruction of natural resources that were once an important part of their heritage.

These incidences, along with so many others, have tarnished how communities of color view the outdoors. For far too many people, the outdoors have become an unsafe and unwelcoming place. The North Face is not only recognizing that inequality, but it's also actively working to change these circumstances. (

"For ten years, we've been working to reset the barriers to exploration and make it more accessible for all through our Explore Fund," Steve Lesnard, global vice president of marketing and product for The North Face, shared in a statement. "But 2020 has proven we need to radically accelerate that work and collaborate with a broad-reaching community to help us do so. I believe the Explore Fund Council will help us foster a new, more equitable era for the outdoor industry."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles