washington state parks logoGrants awarded to 92 programs across the state

OLYMPIA — July 20, 2023 — The outdoors is one our most powerful teachers and now more children will have access to its lessons. 

The No Child Left Inside (NCLI) grant program, awarded by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks), will provide more than $6.7 million for 92 projects dedicated to expanding outdoor recreation and education opportunities for underserved youth in Washington. NCLI also will leverage more than $6.8 million in matching resources from grant recipients, increasing the investment in youth education and wellbeing.

“The world comes to Washington to experience our natural wonders, but some who live and grow here face barriers to accessing these local treasures not far from home,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “The No Child Left Inside grant program is once again providing opportunities to under-served youth to have more young Washingtonians experience the outdoors, learn about the world around them and apply this understanding to improve themselves and their communities.”

These grants will support more than 47,000 kids, aged 5 to 18 and provide 1.8 million hours of vital time in nature. Of the children and teens who will benefit from this grant cycle:

  • 83 percent are eligible for free-and-reduced-priced school meals,
  • 69 percent are youth of color,
  • 25 percent are youth with a disability, and 
  • 18 percent are English-language learners.

“This program provides an invaluable resource to young people – access to nature,” Parks Director Diana Dupuis said. “We’re thrilled to be able to support formative outdoor experiences for more kids and in all corners of our state.”

NCLI continues to expand as more of Washington’s youth benefit from their experiences outside. This cycle, NCLI received the most grant applications in the program’s history, reviewing 174 submissions and $12.3 million in requests. This is the highest amount of funding requested and awarded in the program’s history. In the previous two biennia, the program received $4.5 million and $1.5 million, respectively. 

“The NCLI grants are the most impactful education and recreation investments that the state makes,” Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, said. “They help increase access to adventure and learning for thousands of children every year, creating memories, skills, and knowledge that the kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

NCLI funding comes from the state general fund and was one of a dozen recommendations of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation in 2014. The task force was charged with finding ways to increase participation in outdoor recreation, which has significant social and economic benefits.

Many of the successful applicants already have begun their projects. Projects will wrap up in June 2025, with the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office likely accepting new applications in August 2024.

Projects and more information:

Learn about the 2023 project grants awarded here.

Learn more about the No Child Left Inside grant program here.