Meet Our Founder
Rue Mapp is the Founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, a national not-for-profit organization with offices in Oakland, CA, and Washington, D.C. Rue oversees a carefully selected and trained national volunteer leadership team of nearly 90 men and women who represent 42 cities around the US, and shares opportunities to build a broader community and leadership in nature. Her important work has generated widespread national recognition and support. Since Outdoor Afro’s inception in 2009 as a blog, Rue has captured the attention and support of millions through a multimedia approach that is grounded in personal connections and community organizing. From its grassroots beginning, Outdoor Afro now enjoys national sponsorship and is recognized by major organizations for its role in addressing the ongoing need for greater diversity in the outdoors.
In 2010, Mapp was invited to the Obama 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, Outside Magazine, Sunset Magazine, NPR, and many others. Rue’s work has also been recognized with numerous awards and distinctions, including: 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 Black American community, to nature and the benefits of spending more time outdoors. She is proud to serve on the Outdoor Industry Association and The Wilderness Society boards.
In 2014, Rue was appointed to the California State Parks Commission by Governor Jerry Brown. She was named a National Geographic fellow, and a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated.
In 2020, Outdoor Afro was chosen to be highlighted and visited by Oprah on her 2020 Vision Tour. Check out details here.
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 her career, enlightening a diverse community to the wonders and benefits of the outdoors. Rue resides in Vallejo, CA and is the proud mother of three young adults. Want more insight on Rue? Visit www.ruemapp.com.