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Naturally Outdoors Park Works Fund (2014)

In 1990, two young men named Scott Murphy and Hunter Morgan pooled their modest resources to establish Naturally Outdoors, retailing outdoor gear and equipment. This was just part of their dream, though. The budding entrepreneurs also hoped to plant a seed, one that would eventually sprout into a community-wide effort to make the Pee Dee a hub for outdoor enjoyment and exploration.

“In addition to what we do with Naturally Outdoors, we try to be a local voice, adding to what the city is already doing,” said Scott. “… We have grown increasingly passionate about a more local outdoor experience and this kind of dovetails with a more cultural tailwind in terms of more people wanting quick, local access to outdoor opportunities. People who want to be active more frequently – they want access to local parks, walking trails, bike trails. It’s the trend nationwide. People are moving into urban areas, but they still want their greenspace.”

Scott and Morgan wished to give all citizens in Florence a place at the table to support and promote the effort. But, aside from having to start a non-profit, Scott and Morgan weren’t sure how to accomplish this in a simplified way. They consulted Sarah Shelley at Eastern Carolina Community Foundation, who offered them the perfect avenue for growing a dream. With a small amount of seed money, a “green leaf fund” was established.