“Everytime I’ve done something good for the environment, I’ve made a profit.”
You’ve probably heard this quote from Yvon Chouinard, who is referring to the concept of doing well by doing good and how this relates to business. Rebecca and myself were delighted when Yvon discussed this with the attendees of our 1% network gathering last Wednesday at Patagonia’s offices in Ventura, CA (photo below). Yvon had us imagine a theoretical gas station that gives back a portion of each sale to the local community and the potential difference that this could make. Wouldn’t you prefer to get fill your tank there? Why, yes!! I was proud to share with the group that this concept is not theoretical, but alive and thriving right in the town of 1% for the Planet’s Headquarters: Waitsfield, VT. The Village Grocery (called the “VG” by the locals) has their Giving Gas concept, which donates one cent for each gallon of gas purchased to a local charity. And just as Yvon suggests, people (including 1% for the Planet’s staff) go out of their way to make sure they get their gas from the beloved VG. It feels good to give back!
This point certainly resonated with the 1% members at our gathering (and thank goodness or 1% for the Planet would not exist!). But giving back isn’t easy. In fact, Yvon mentioned that commonly people or companies are deterred from giving simply because they do not know who to give to. As a result, they either don’t give anything or they create extremely cumbersome grant applications to bring the information to their fingertips. While these grant applications can be effective to vet organizations, the complexity and timeline of them often becomes a roadblock for nonprofits. Consequently, big opportunities are missed. However, if you have an informed crew (Yvon nods to his Environmental crew to his right!), then you’re able to dish out the dough pronto and confidently get the money to the causes you know need it most.
While we don’t all have the Patagonia Environmental crew standing to our right, the beauty of the 1% for the Planet network is that it helps to make these resources accessible! Amongst our network of 1200 businesses and 3000 nonprofits, there is a lot of valuable information. Who’s doing the best work? What issues are time-sensitive? What issues are local to me? By keeping in touch with one another, we’re ensuring that these questions get addressed and that donations be allocated to the most effective nonprofits working on the most relevant issues! A prime example:
Surfrider Foundation’s The Twenty Film: This is a kickstarter film that has just nine days left to get to their goal of $78,000. Please support the cause to save California’s Gaviota Coast!! Donate to the cause, share the link of Facebook, Twitter, and through your list serves.
As the issues are dynamic and change daily, it’s essential that we keep in touch. To keep the conversation going, we need to hear from you – our members, our supporters and our nonprofit partners. What issues are most pertinent in your community and need our attention and support? Your feedback will help us galvanize action from our network to ensure that donations get allocated where they matter most. Share them with us (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
That said, Rebecca and I send huge thanks to you ALL for an amazing gathering. Thanks to Michael at McConnell’s for the delicious ice cream, to Drew at Pop Culture Beverage Company for supplying tasty beverages, to all our member companies and nonprofits who came to share their perspectives and feedback, and of course, to Hans and the crew at Patagonia for hosting us! Finally, a huge kudos to Yvon Chouinard for recognizing the power of corporate philanthropy and getting this whole thing started…. thank you!!