Inspire community support and advocate for the Outdoor Lab Schools.
Enduring Program, Inspired Students, Cherished Sites.
The Outdoor Lab Foundation was founded in 2003 in order to spearhead strategic fundraising efforts and advocacy on behalf of Outdoor Lab. Founded in 1957, Outdoor Lab engages all Jefferson County sixth grade students in a week-long, residential, environmental and civic education experience. It provides opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning in an outdoor setting that fosters opportunities for student growth in an array of subjects.
The Foundation was created by two former Principals of Outdoor Lab who wanted to create an avenue to provide small grants to the project sites for capital improvements and special initiatives. Over time, and as the fund grew, the Foundation began working more closely with the JeffCo Public Schools and the Site Principals to set strategic programming priorities and to discuss alternative funding models that would facilitate sustainability for the program.
In 2011, the School District’s Board of Education announced the pending closure of both Outdoor Lab Sites. To prevent these closures, the Foundation increased its fundraising efforts, raising half of a million dollars and developing a sustainability plan, to ensure that all schools could have access to tuition support to continue programming. Over the past decade, the Foundation has driven philanthropy to Outdoor Lab programs to ensure it remained a rite of passage for every 6th grader in JeffCo. Moreover, they have stayed ever-vigilant in advocating for the preservation of the sites and the protection of the program within the school district overall.