More Funding for Local Outdoor Projects

roanoke project outside

Nine More Projects Earn Grants through  Roanoke Outside Initiative.

Since its creation, Project Outside grants have provided $175,000 to fund maintenance and development of outdoor assets and support for outdoor-related organizations and businesses in the Roanoke Region.

Project Outside is awarding an additional $25,000 in grant funding for projects throughout the Roanoke Region thanks to donations from individuals and proceeds from the annual GO Outside Festival.

Building upon the $150,000 raised in 2021 and 2022 (which funded 24 projects already completed), this year’s Project Outside grants will fund nine projects that provide much needed maintenance to popular trails and greenways, an equipment storage facility, repairs to a popular James River access parking lot, and support of outdoor programs for underserved youth. This year’s grant applications totaled more than $90,000 in funding requests.

“The outdoors are integral to the region’s narrative and economic development strategy,” said Pete Eshelman, director of Roanoke Outside Foundation. “The goal of Project Outside is to invest in our community’s competitive advantage—the outdoors. Grants will be used to fund needed projects that will make an immediate impact in the community by the end of 2024.”

Project Outside, which launched in August 2020, is a first-of-its-kind campaign to fund the maintenance and development of outdoor assets and support outdoor-related businesses and initiatives. The Roanoke Outside Foundation administers the grant that breaks down into three categories: maintenance of existing outdoor assets, new outdoor infrastructure, and organizational support.

“Project Outside is proof that amazing things can happen when folks come together. Franklin County Parks and Recreation is truly grateful for the financial support that precipitated several projects which otherwise would have taken much longer to initiate,” says Matt Ross, outdoor recreation manager for Franklin County Parks and Recreation. “Getting more folks on the water and making improvements at the bike skills loop will positively impact folks far beyond our community.”

Grant recipients were evaluated by the Roanoke Outside Foundation Advisory Council, which uses a blind scorecard to allocate available funds to projects that demonstrated the highest and most immediate need as well as ability to be completed in a timely manner.

“Our program seeks to provide confidence-building, outdoor experiences to girls who may not otherwise have the opportunity,” says Alex Siple, executive director of The Wild Way. “Project Outside funds will help cover the cost of enrollment for low-income and in-need girls in a variety of activities, including hiking, rock climbing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and so much more.”

2024 Project Outside grant recipients:

This is our time to invest in our community strength–the outdoors–to continue positioning the Roanoke Region in Virginia’s Blue Ridge as a preferred place to live, work, play, and visit. Contributions for future Project Outside grants can be made via