RELEASE: The White House budget proposal, wrong for our kids and communities


May 23, 2017

Contact: Jackie Ostfeld,, 202-548-6584


The White House budget proposal, wrong for our kids and communities

Washington, DC–Today, President Donald Trump released his fiscal year 18 budget proposal. The White House has recommended a $3.6 trillion cut to federal spending over the next decade, dealing a major blow to programs that encourage children, youth and families to get outdoors.

In response to the White House budget release, Jackie Ostfeld, co-founder and chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, issued the following statement:

“The White House budget proposal released today puts our children’s health and well-being in jeopardy. Such dramatic spending cuts would severely curtail the ability of our federal agencies to carry out their missions to protect our children by ensuring they have clean and safe air to breathe and water to drink, healthy food to eat, and shared public lands where they can play, learn, and rejuvenate their minds and bodies.

“While presenting a balanced budget is difficult, doing it at the expense of programs and initiatives that invest in our children and youth to have opportunities to get physically active and develop valuable work and life skills in the outdoors is a detriment to our nation.

“Outdoor recreation contributes $887 billion annually to the U.S. economy while supporting more than seven million jobs across America. These cuts would create fewer opportunities for children, youth, and families to be active in the outdoors – an action that foolheartedly removes an essential contribution to this growing economic sector.

“Additionally, the chronic disease in children and childhood obesity continues to be a problem in this nation. Programs that focus on keeping our children active, healthy, and safe in the outdoors are good for our kids and our economy.

“The White House budget eliminates or drastically reduces popular programs across federal agencies that ensure our children and families can safely access the natural world outdoors at a time when three-quarters of adults believe we need more programs that help people enjoy nature and the outdoors.

“Thankfully, the White House does not have the final say on how our government is funded. OAK encourages Congress to take a bipartisan approach to continue to fund these programs that support America’s kids and families. See OAK’s fiscal year 2018 budget appropriations recommendations for Congress.

The White House budget proposal, sample cuts to programs that get kids outdoors (by agency):

Corporation for National and Community Service: -100% (elimination)

  • Complete elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service which houses AmeriCorps programs that engage more than 80,000 young Americans in service helping address public lands conservation and stewardship needs, disaster response, and local communities struggling with poverty, and hunger.

Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration): -15.8%

  • Complete elimination for NOAA grant and education programs supporting coastal and marine management, research and education, including elimination of the Sea Grant and Office of Education (Bay-Watershed Education and Training and competitive education) grants.

Department of Education: -13.5%

  • Complete elimination of 21st Century Community Learning Centers program which supports before- and after-school and summer programs for low-income kids, including outdoor programming. Elimination of several other grant programs across the department.

Department of Health and Human Services: -16.2%

  • Reduction of $222 million in chronic disease prevention funding at the CDC which will curb the nation’s ability to invest in physical activity, healthy eating and childhood obesity prevention efforts. Reductions will also occur in heart disease, diabetes and cancer prevention and control efforts.
  • Reductions of $60 million are proposed to CDC’s environmental health programs which include lead prevention efforts, safe water activities, and monitoring environmentally related diseases.

Department of Housing and Urban Development: -13.2%

  • Complete elimination of the Community Development Block Grants program which support local community development activities aimed at neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and improvement of community facilities, such as parks and recreation.

Department of the Interior: -10.9%

  • Practically eliminates the Land and Water Conservation Fund by reducing the budget to $30 million. Department-wide cuts will make it difficult for the agency to achieve its mission let alone encourage spending to get kids outdoors.

Department of Transportation: -12.7%

  • Eliminates the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. TIGER projects include multi-modal and active transportation projects which significantly enhance safety, walkability, and non-motorized mobility in local communities.

Environmental Protection Agency:  -31.4%

  • A 31% cut to the EPA’s budget, including the elimination of more than 50 agency programs including the offices of environmental education and environmental justice.


About the Outdoors Alliance for Kids: OAK is a national strategic partnership of nearly 100 businesses and organizations representing more than 60 million Americans, which a common interest in connecting children, youth, and families with the outdoors. OAK’s members are brought together by the belief that the wellness of current and future generations, the health of our planet and communities, and the economy of the future depend on humans having a personal, direct, and life-long relationship with nature and the outdoors.


Published by Jackie Ostfeld, OAK Chair

My name is Jackie Ostfeld. I am the co-founder and Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids and the Director of Sierra Club's Outdoors for All campaign. I am an advocate for connecting kids with nature. Views are my own.

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