Rallying community support for bite-sized needs of youth-in-nature nonprofits.


Please help us combat a nature deficit epidemic!

According to Ben Klasky, CEO of IslandWood:

  • Chickens and inmates get more time outside than our kids do
  • 30% of kids get less than 15 minutes outside per day
  • On average, kids get 7 hours 40 minutes of screen time per day
  • In one generation, obesity is up 300% and Ritalin usage up 3000%, while outdoor time for kids has been cut in half

If these trends bother you as they do us, then please sign up for our newsletter to be updated infrequently about the next phase of our efforts to support bite-sized needs of youth-in-nature nonprofits

NOTE: Active KOA beneficiary support is on hold pending Nibble software feasibility/development (see "Roadmap" section)

What are "bite-sized" needs?

  • KOA’s programs typically have operationally important unaddressed needs that are relatively easy to support in terms of donor time, effort, and cost
  • Given the limited resources of our beneficiaries, these needs often don’t receive the attention required to tackle them in a timely manner, if at all
  • KOA is focused on rallying community support for these bite-sized needs

What kinds of bite-sized needs will be the focus of KOA’s next phase of support?

  • Awareness: Supportive individuals using their readily available communications (social media, email, etc.) to spread the word about programs and events as requested by KOA beneficiaries
  • Recruiting: Supporters spreading the word to help KOA beneficiaries fulfill specific needs for finding people (volunteers, employees, interns, consultants, board members, etc.)
  • Donations: Supporters making small gifts of a certain defined amount (for example, all gifts $25, to keep it simple and “bite-sized”) for specific beneficiary-identified needs such as hiking boots, microscopes, or transportation costs

What is KOA's current planned approach for supporting beneficiaries?

  • KOA's spotlight partners acting as a collective communications channel that regularly sends KOA-crafted messages to their communities, raising awareness about how easy KOA makes it to provide valuable yet bite-sized support for regional youth-in-nature nonprofits
  • Defining and evaluating feasibility of a proprietary web-based software tool ("Nibble") to radically improve KOA's ability to support our beneficiaries
  • The objective of Nibble is to make it exceedingly easy: for individual community supporters to address KOA beneficiaries' bite-sized needs; for beneficiaries to manage and promote their own bite-sized needs; and for spotlight partners to perform their support role

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KOA beneficiaries help over 100,000 kids/year connect with nature

NOTE: Active KOA beneficiary support is on hold pending Nibble software feasibility/development (see "Roadmap" section)

Benefits to KOA beneficiaries

  • Resolving needs that might otherwise go unaddressed (click here to help now)
  • General increased visibility within the community
  • Targeted increased visibility among people who are particularly interested in helping youth-in-nature nonprofits
  • Expansion of beneficiaries' visibility through continuous addition of KOA spotlight partners

KOA beneficiary criteria

  • Orgs that are 501(c)(3) nonprofits (or have a fiscal sponsor)
  • Some of their programs help youth (grades K-12) form direct positive connections with the natural outdoors
  • Some of these youth live in King County, WA

Most recent KOA beneficiaries

(listed alphabetically)

Bike Works “Bike Works serves youth ages 9-18 in Southeast Seattle and surrounding communities. In our bicycle-centered programs participants explore outdoor environments ranging from local parks to the Kitsap Peninsula and Washington’s islands.” (email)

Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation “Our summer camps, elementary school bike riding classes and middle school after-school programs teach kids how to incorporate being outside into their day-to-day life by teaching biking for fun, fitness and transportation.” (email)

Environmental Science Center “Environmental Science Center gets young scientists outdoors. Programs serve K-12th grade students of South King County. Our students are primarily from low-income, ethnically diverse families. We connect students to salmon streams and tidepools to promote stewardship.” (email)

Forterra “Forterra hosts volunteer restoration events, which include youth participation, throughout the region on properties we own or help to manage. We also have school groups which utilize our preserves to explore and study local flora and fauna.” (email)

Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust “For the past 15 years the Mountains to Sound Greenway has been providing outdoor education programs to 4th - 12th grade students from schools located throughout King County.” (email)

Nature Vision “Nature Vision brings place-based, experiential nature education programs directly to schools and green spaces to reach as many students as possible. We work to ensure that all students receive quality nature connections where they need them the most.” (email)

North Cascades Institute “North Cascades Institute’s Youth Leadership Adventures program immerses 14-18 year olds from King County on our backcountry courses. Youth spend 8-16 days exploring the spectacular North Cascades, developing leadership skills and a lifelong conservation ethic with a supportive peer group.” (email)

Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center “We provide dynamic environmental education programming for kids on our 225-acre property in the Snoqualmie Valley. Kids primarily aged 4-12 explore and harvest produce directly from our fields during school field trips and summer camps.” (email)

Rite of Passage Journeys "Our experiential learning fosters self-discovery, and connection with the natural world. Participants safely experience the outdoors, including campfires, storytelling, stargazing, and the beauty of the Pacific NW wilderness and beaches.” (email)

Sound Experience “Sound Experience delivers programming to K-12 young people throughout the Puget Sound region. Approximately 40-50% of the young people who participate in our day and overnight shipboard programs live in King County.” (email)

Seattle ICO “Seattle ICO works in partnership with nine public schools in King County to provide 60+ wilderness outings for 800 youth participants annually.” (email)

Terra-Forma Education “Our summer day camp program for 6 to 10-year-olds is outdoors every day to explore wetlands, tide pools, forests, streams and ponds. In our year-long, once per month rite of passage program for tweeners, youth build their own community to engage in restoration projects, snowshoeing, ropes challenge courses, camping, backpacking, or whatever they would like! We also offer specialized youth programs to meet any group or situation.” (email)

The Mountaineers “We provide outdoor experiences for youth, grades k-12. 65% of the youth programming is outdoor time. Of the 5587 youth experiences in fiscal 2014, 80% of those programs were in nature.” (email)

Washington Trails Association “WTA engages youth ages 10 and up in volunteer trail maintenance projects on public lands. Whether coming out with their parents for a day or on a week-long Youth Vacation in the summer, youth are giving back to hiking trails all across the state.” (email)

Wilderness Awareness School “Youth Outdoor Programs in King County: Summer week-long day camps, overnight camps, and expeditions (ages 6-18); Monthly school-year weekend adventures (6-13 and 14-18); Weekly school-year Preschool (4-6) and Homeschools (7-9, 10-13, and 14-18).” (email)

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Spotlight partners help KOA reach thousands of potential supporters

NOTE: Active KOA beneficiary support is on hold pending Nibble software feasibility/development (see "Roadmap" section)

Most recent spotlight partners

What are spotlight partners?

  • Generous supporters of regional youth-in-nature nonprofits (KOA beneficiaries)
  • Allied organizations that each have communities of thousands of King County, WA residents that the orgs can readily reach via their social media, newsletters, emails, etc.
  • Examples of future spotlight partner org types include: media properties; non-profits; for-profit enterprises; and government agencies
  • Some spotlight partners have their own youth-in-nature programs, and yet they generously step up to help KOA support all of our beneficiaries...that's genuinely selfless community spirit!!

What is the current spotlight partner scope of assistance?

  • Spotlight communication: As described in detail in the beneficiaries section, spotlight partner team captains work with KOA to ensure that quarterly KOA messages are communicated through the spotlight partner's available community communication channels (e.g. social media, newsletters, blog posts, etc.)
  • Program evolution: Spotlight partner team captains actively consider ways to improve KOA's performance and share these ideas with KOA

Do you know a prospective spotlight partner?

  • When completion of Nibble software is imminent, KOA will resume actively expanding its number of spotlight partners
  • If you'd like to introduce us to a potential spotlight team captain within an org that meets the spotlight partner description above, we'd love to here from you! Please email us

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Future Campfire Hoopla events are on hold until KOA's Nibble software is inevitable

Click here to see event images (Flickr web).

The 2015 Campfire Hoopla was an evening bash that featured an inspiring recognition ceremony along with trail snacks and light dinner-ish camper fare, hosted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, live instrumental music from Buckshot tuned perfectly for the scene, and of course...roast-your-own s'mores!

2015 Campfire Hoopla basics:

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A group-hug of gratitude for our sponsors!

Jason Karas & Miriam Marcus

2015 operations donation

David & Sophia McShea

2015 operations donation

Jameson & Christine Morrell

2015 operations donation

The Willowmoor Foundation

2015 operations donation

Georgetown Brewing Company

2015 awards event venue & beverage donation

Sponsor's Website

Central Co-op

2015 awards event refreshments donation

Sponsor's Website

Theo Chocolate

2015 awards event refreshments donation

Sponsor's Website

Sponsorship of our operational and event costs is critical to the success of this program. Donations are tax-deductible through our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor Sustainable Seattle.

If you are interested in sponsoring the KOA, please email us

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Highlights of KOA’s past, present and future program

KOA is an evolving effort to tackle an ever-increasing number of unaddressed bite-sized - yet important - needs for an ever-increasing number of beneficiaries


  • Founding of KOA as an awards program to provide enhanced community visibility for nonprofits that connect local youth with nature
  • Fiscal sponsor partnership with Sustainable Seattle
  • Sign-up of KOA launch advisors and 7 rock star KOA 2015 award judges


  • 15 beneficiary orgs qualified as finalists for the 2015 KOA awards program
  • Successfully signed up a targeted number and mix of spotlight partners
  • Wildly successful - and fun - 1st annual KOA Campfire Hoopla (event images)
  • Identified an opportunity for KOA to "pivot" to a new approach with greater potential for becoming valuable to our beneficiaries by focusing on supporting bite-sized needs of all beneficiaries (versus an awards program)
  • Concluded that KOA can only be effective in delivering this new approach with the assistance of a new web-based software tool
  • KOA program placed on hold pending appointment of new Executive Director of our fiscal sponsor Sustainable Seattle, and verification of their continued support of KOA


  • Sustainable Seattle appoints new Executive Director, BJ Cummings, who verified continued support for KOA
  • Active KOA beneficiary support, partner expansion, and Campfire Hoopla events on hold while KOA and partners explore feasibility/develop a software solution ("Nibble") to more effectively support bite-sized needs of KOA beneficiaries
  • As an all-volunteer endeavor, Nibble evaluation and deployment timing is currently uncertain


  • Pending deployment of the Nibble software tool...
  • Continued optimization of KOA support for beneficiaries
  • Continued increase in the number of beneficiaries
  • Continued increase in the number of spotlight partners
  • Begin efforts for expanding to additional metro areas

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Thanks for exploring KOA!

Kids Outside Alliance ("KOA") is a WA nonprofit corporation with a simple focus, which is to:

Rally regional community support to help address important bite-sized needs of nonprofit orgs that connect youth with the natural outdoors.

As described in some detail in the "Help!" section of this web site, we're accomplishing this objective by developing and delivering services to assist our beneficiaries with the help of a coalition of organizations that we refer to as spotlight partners.

Our donors, partners, sponsors, volunteers and other community supporters are familiar with - and inspired by - the benefits that accrue to the health of individual participants, of our communities, and of our planet as a result of the programs delivered by KOA's beneficiaries.

KOA’s method includes optimizing its support through trial and error in collaboration with beneficiaries, spotlight partners, and other supporters. The "Roadmap" section of this web site describes how KOA support has already evolved.

KOA's focus and approach to supporting the needs of its beneficiaries is unique, and complements the myriad of ways that youth-in-nature nonprofits are being assisted by such leading NGO's as the Children & Nature Network, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, IslandWood, and The Seattle Foundation.

Sustainable Seattle, with a mission that is aligned with the objectives of the KOA, is our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.

NOTE: Active KOA beneficiary support is on hold pending Nibble software feasibility/development (see "Roadmap" section).


Gavin Andrews, advisor/product management lead

John Daly, founder

David Harms, advisor/technology lead

Garrett Kephart, secretary

Michelle Ruiz, advisor/event coordination

Brett Tanis-Likkel, advisor/web & graphic design

Thank you again to our 2015 awards program judges!

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Do you have questions or suggestions?

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