Portland-based Keen opens doors to the great outdoors for kids


Keen awards grants of up to $10,000 each to more than 120 non-profits around the country each year

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For every cause, there is an effect. Portland footwear company Keen calls it “The Keen Effect.”

“We want somebody to understand when they make a purchase of a Keen product, it’s having a positive effect on the world, the planet and people,” said Erik Burbank, the vice president of The Keen Effect.

Over the past seven years, Keen has devoted resources and money to award grants of up to $10,000 each to more than 120 non-profits around the country, all with the goal of giving underserved kids access to outside activities.

Those non-profits include local organizations like Northwest Outward Bound, Adventure Without Limits and Soul River.

“The reason that’s important is we know that kids who spend time outside playing — they have reduced stress levels, reduced levels of ADHD,” said Burbank. “We know their confidence levels and social skills are enhanced.”

But Burbank told KOIN 6 access to the outdoors is not equal and 70% of low-income communities live in nature-deprived areas.

This is just one of Keen’s programs that help promote inclusivity and fight for social justice. Burbank said they’re constantly looking for new ways that people can live without a ceiling — literally and figuratively.

“While we’ve always been committed and proud of the things we have done, we know we can do so much more,” he said.

Keen will announce this year’s grant winners in April. Non-profits can apply for next year starting in January.

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