Meet Our Founder

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Rue Mapp is the Founder of Outdoor Afro, and oversees a carefully selected and trained national volunteer leadership team of 62 men and women who represent 28 states around the US.

Through Outdoor Afro, her not-for-profit organization with offices in Oakland, CA, and Washington, D.C., Rue, as CEO, shares opportunities to build a broader community and leadership in nature. Her important work has generated widespread national recognition and support.

Originally beginning in 2009 as a blog, Rue has since captured the attention and imagination of millions through a multi-media approach, grounded in personal connections and community organizing. From its grassroots beginning, now Outdoor Afro enjoys national sponsorship and is recognized by major organizations for the importance of diversity in the outdoors.

In 2010, Mapp was invited to the White House to participate in the America’s Great Outdoors Conference, and subsequently to take part in a think-tank to inform the launch of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative. She was appointed program officer for the Stewardship Council’s Foundation for Youth Investment to oversee its grant-making program from 2010-2012.

Since that time, Mapp’s work and op-eds have been featured in publications including The Wall Street Journal, Backpacker Magazine, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times, Ebony Magazine, Sunset Magazine, NPR, and many others.

Rue’s ongoing work has been recognized with numerous awards and distinctions: The Root 100 as one of the most influential African Americans in the country (2012 and 2016), Outdoor Industry Inspiration Award, National Wildlife Federation Communication award (received alongside President Bill Clinton) and Family Circle Magazine selected Rue as one of America’s 20 Most Influential Moms.

Mapp remains in high demand to speak around the country and in Canada about her innovative approach that has successfully connected thousands, especially from the African American community, to nature and the benefits of spending more time outdoors.

She is proud to serve on the Outdoor Industry Association board. In 2014, Rue was appointed to the California State Parks Commission by Governor Jerry Brown.

A graduate of UC Berkeley (with a Degree in Art History), Rue’s skills and background make her a unique voice via the leadership and programs she has instituted through OA, enlightening a diverse community to the wonders and benefits of the outdoors. Rue resides in Oakland, CA and is the proud mother of three active teenage children.