Meet the foundations we honored at our 2016 NCRP Impact Awards event in Minneapolis
In 1972, the Ventura City Council met to consider an ambitious commercial development on the western flood-plain of the Ventura River, a stone’s throw from Patagonia’s headquarters. Several scientists spoke in support of the project. They said it wouldn’t hurt the river because it was already dead. Mark Capelli, a young graduate student who called himself “Friends of the Ventura River,” then gave a slide show showing the life that was still in and around the river: eels, birds, raccoons. He pointed out there were still 50 steelhead showing up each year to migrate upstream. It brought the house down, and the development project was eventually stopped.
Capelli’s success demonstrated to us the power of the grassroots to affect positive change. Since then, Patagonia has contributed $76 million in cash and in-kind donations to thousands of community-based groups working to create positive change for the planet in their own backyards.
As a company that uses resources and produces waste, we recognize our impact on the environment and feel a responsibility to give back. For us, it’s not charity or traditional philanthropy. It’s part of the cost of doing business. We call it our Earth Tax.
Since 1972, Patagonia has contributed $76 million in cash and in-kind donations to thousands of community-based groups working to create positive change for the planet in their own backyard.
Grassroots activism has taught us to do more than simply write checks. We also spotlight pressing environmental issues through our environmental campaigns like The New Localism. In 1994, we created our biennial Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference, providing skills-based training for activists and just this year released our Tools for Grassroots Activists book.
In 2015, Patagonia saw a need to invest resources in the fight for climate justice happening across the globe. In particular, we worked closely with Brooklyn-based environmental justice organization UPROSE on their ongoing youth organizing in low income, frontline communities of color.
Founded in 1966, UPROSE is Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization. Today, UPROSE is an intergenerational, multi-racial, nationally-recognized community organization that promotes the sustainability of the Sunset Park community in Brooklyn through community organizing, education, leadership development and cultural/artistic expression. UPROSE’s work addresses the development of the waterfront and local brownfields, transportation, open space and air quality, as well as educational and youth empowerment campaigns.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy in fall 2012, UPROSE was instrumental in bringing nearly $1M in new investment from the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council into Sunset Park for local transportation improvements with the New York City Department of Transportation. The Upland Connector Project will enhance the community’s access to the waterfront, move them towards climate adaptation and promote economic resilience. UPROSE is also widely recognized for its dedication to the frontline in the People’s Climate March on September 21, 2014 in New York City.
Patagonia has supported UPROSE through retail grants since 2011, and this year the Patagonia SoHo store in Manhattan at 72 Greene Street gave UPROSE a $4,000 grant. The grant helped support the organization’s Climate Youth Summit, which brings over 750 students from around New York to explore climate adaptation and community resiliency in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
In addition to monetary support, Patagonia has also worked with UPROSE at the community engagement level in 2015, providing product donations for their youth activist base and helping them establish similar relationships with likeminded businesses in NYC. In turn, UPROSE has connected Patagonia’s philanthropic arm with the key players at the heart of the environmental justice movement in NYC. Patagonia and UPROSE will continue to work together to fight for a sustainable, equitable and just Sunset Park in 2016 and beyond.
Learn about previous winners of the NCRP Impact AwardsVIEW PAST WINNERS