MADE X MTNS Announces Grant Awardees of Outdoor Equity Fund

Share via

MADE X MTNS funds twenty community-led initiatives that address identified barriers to outdoor recreation access and outdoor economic opportunity.

WESTERN NC – AUGUST 9, 2023 – The MADE X MTNS Partnership is thrilled to announce the grant recipients of its Outdoor Equity Fund. The twenty grantees represent small businesses, sole proprietors, non-profits, and community groups, located across Western North Carolina’s 25 county footprint and the Qualla Boundary, all working to increase outdoor recreation access and economic opportunity.

“The energy and enthusiasm for shaking up the outdoor industry and making it a more inclusive space from the applicants is inspiring. These proposals aren’t just about changing the outdoor economy field; they’re about deeply remembering our connection to the outdoors and redefining who gets to play and thrive in the great outdoors,” says Outdoor Equity Fund Working Group Facilitator, Iliana Hernandez.

“We’re very excited about the potential impact of these projects and the outdoors becoming a place where everyone feels welcomed and communities can flourish,” she adds.

These grants have been made possible through $125,000 in funding from the Dogwood Health Trust, as part of the three-year “Accelerating Outdoors Grant” awarded to the MADE X MTNS Partnership (MADE X MTNS). The goal of The Outdoor Equity Fund is to help empower community-led initiatives that address identified barriers to outdoor recreation and outdoor economy access and opportunity, and help close these gaps in Western North Carolina.

“We are so inspired by the work of each grantee and the opportunity that this funding presents,” said MADE X MTNS Partnership Director, Amy Allison.

“Together, we can create a more inclusive and vibrant outdoor industry, unlocking the vast potential of diverse voices and experiences to drive entrepreneurship and economic growth, foster community wellness, and lead the way towards a more inclusive and sustainable future,” she adds.

Forty-four applicants, with a grand total of requested funds at $333,304.74 made up the inaugural grant submission cycle, affirming that there is a lot of work being done in the community to make WNC’s outdoor spaces more inclusive and accessible, that the need for more funding is apparent, and that there is excitement and motivation around increasing outdoor recreation access and outdoor economic opportunities.

Outdoor Equity Fund grantees include:

Learn more about each grantee’s project on the MADE X MTNS website.


About the WNC: MADE X MTNS Partnership
The MADE X MTNS (Made By Mountains) Partnership is working to expand the outdoor industry and economy across North Carolina’s Appalachian region and catalyze rural development by building vibrant outdoor communities, growing outdoor businesses, and amplifying outdoor culture. The Partnership includes Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC, Mountain BizWorks, and the NC Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, as well as numerous stakeholders including regional universities, rural communities, economic development, and conservation organizations. With support from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Dogwood Health Trust, celebrates, supports, and builds a stronger sense of pride around our region, our people, and the extraordinary outdoor recreation industry and culture that these mountains have made. For more information, visit or @madexmtns on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.



Come to an Orientation Session to quickly find your path forward.

Our orientation sessions are a great way to get the lay of the land at Mountain BizWorks before you set off to create all that you dream!

Save your spot

Stop wondering what if, and just start. Our bet is you have what it takes.

Make it happen


See what Mountain BizWorks can do for you.

No matter your business type or experience level, we have resources to help you find your path to creating a business from your dream—and get better as you grow.

High-touch business courses
Customized business coaching
Get funding
Start investing


Stay connected to the local community of entreprenuers with Mountain BizWorks.

We use our newsletter to keep the community together on all things small business in the WNC region. Learn about events, classes, funding opportunities, and more!