Senator Atkins Names Outdoor Outreach as the 39th Senate District’s 2024 Nonprofit of the Year

June 6, 2024

SAN DIEGO – Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) selected Outdoor Outreach as the 2024 Nonprofit of the Year for the 39th Senate District. The organization was recognized yesterday during a ceremony at the Capitol.

“We have kids that live less than ten miles from the coast but have never been to the beach,” said Atkins. “Outdoor Outreach is changing that, and in doing so, is mentoring future generations to become civic leaders and stewards of our environment. Since 1999, Outdoor Outreach has worked with more than 20,000 young people.”

“For 25 years, Outdoor Outreach has worked to connect San Diego youth to the transformative power of the outdoors with our unique model of adventure-based youth development programs,” said Outdoor Outreach Executive Director Ben McCue. “We are humbled to receive this award and grateful to Senator Atkins for her leadership to ensure an outdoors for all that inspires and sustains healthy and vibrant communities.”  

Outdoor Outreach maintains partnerships with over 40 Title I schools, social service agencies and youth-serving organizations to engage communities who benefit most from their programming. Recent successes include an innovative mental health prevention and early intervention program based on outdoor engagement, as well as a juvenile justice program focused on nature-based engagement for critical youth.

Over half of the organization’s paid instructors are graduates of Outdoor Outreach Leadership Program, a paid training experience for young adults (ages 16-21) living in or around San Diego. The program focuses on workforce development, civic engagement, and outdoor industry skills.

This is the ninth year of the California Nonprofit of the Year initiative, a statewide effort honoring the critical role nonprofit organizations play in California. Each year, state legislators choose a nonprofit from their district to be honored.

“Nonprofit organizations touch the lives of millions of Californians in ways that can often go unrecognized. From the childcare program to the soccer team, from the art class to the health clinic, and from the community organizer to the animal shelter – nonprofits improve the lives of all Californians and make our communities stronger,” said Geoff Green, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits), the sponsor for this initiative. “Nonprofits are also a key economic driver in our state, accounting for 1 in 14 jobs. It’s important to recognize all they do.”

The program is sponsored by CalNonprofits in partnership with the state Senate and Assembly Select Committees on the Nonprofit Sector. CalNonprofits, the leading policy voice for California’s nonprofit sector, focuses on advocacy, education, and research to build a more powerful and politically engaged nonprofit network across the state.

For more information on Outdoor Outreach, visit their website at outdooroutreach.org.

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Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore Emeritus of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana