Our "why" from CEO Kate Williams

on January 09, 2017

Greetings and Happy New Year,

I remember as a kid referring to "THEY," an unseen, all knowing person or group of people who determined things like the price of stamps, the boundaries of time zones, and the choice to convey temperature in fahrenheit in only some countries. The challenge and great opportunity of becoming an adult is learning that there is no "they." There is only and always WE. And we've got a lot more power than we often realize or claim.

2016 was a year of significant political change. From Brexit to the United States presidential election, the real and perceived role of government has shifted. And - in the U.S. at least - the intent to allocate political power and agency to address environmental issues has declined markedly. This is all happening at a time when our planet needs help more than ever. WE, the 1% for the Planet network of businesses, nonprofits, and individuals, are called upon to take responsibility and action to a new degree.

Fortunately, 1% for the Planet has always been about taking action. The organization was founded 15 years ago when Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia and Blue Ribbon Flies founder Craig Mathews activated the business community to give back to support the ecosystems that sustain biodiversity, wild landscapes, clean water, natural beauty, healthy species, and - yes - a thriving economy. Today, we are a global nonprofit with member companies in 40 countries, and nonprofits creating positive change in the areas of climate change, land, food, water, and species.

Today we are also a network with an opportunity to fully lean into the challenge before us. We have learned and honed what we believe and what we must do. Specifically, we believe that philanthropy, as it stands today, isn't sufficient to support the scale and quality of work that needs to happen for our planet. In the U.S., the percentage of total philanthropy allocated to the environment has been stuck at a mere 3% for years, and innovative nonprofits struggle to stay viable, let alone bring solutions to scale. We believe that it's possible to do better. We believe that businesses, nonprofits, and individuals can all come together to take responsibility for our planet in innovative and integrated ways, accelerating smart environmental giving and driving positive impact.

In 2017, we will bring these beliefs to life through new programs that will expand opportunities for businesses to give back, invite individuals into the membership model, and provide pathways for excellent nonprofits to better deliver impact. Now is the time, working as a network, that we can make change happen. We invite you to step forward with us, into the power that we can create only together.

As Nelson Mandela said, "there is no passion to be found in playing small." WE have passion and couldn't be more excited to go big. We invite you to be bold with us.


Kate Williams, CEO, for the 1% for the Planet Team