After many years of giving money to activists, we realized that if we could share profits, we could also supply time and muscle. Many Patagonia employees were inspired by the work of the grassroots activists we supported, so in 1993 we created the Patagonia Employee Internship Program.
Through the program, employees can leave their jobs for up to two months to work for the environmental group of their choice. Patagonia continues to pay their salaries and benefits while they’re gone, and environmental groups worldwide get them for free. To date, more than 900 employees have taken part in the program.
In fiscal year 2013, Patagonia employees went to work for 40 different nonprofit environmental groups all over the world. Andrew DeGolyer (Reno Service Center) spent two months in Ecuador with Fundación Cordillera Tropical developing critical momentum for Andean bear conservation and helping to start a wildlife-friendly business network. Akira Tsuchiya (Japan Pro Sales) traveled to Okinawa, to assist the Association to Protect Northernmost Dugong with research on behalf of dugongs, a cousin of the manatee that is especially vulnerable to extinction. Acacia Dupierre (NYC Upper West Side Store) worked with Velo City in New York City to complete a portfolio of maps for the nonprofit bike-advocacy group. And Brendan Lewis (Reno Service Center) spent time in County Cork, Ireland, helping IRD Duhallow with a raptor conservation project.
You’ll find a full listing of volunteers and the environmental groups they worked with at right.
For small, grassroots groups working in local communities, having a free Patagonia employee intern is a huge help. And when interns return, they bring back stories, inspiration and a new commitment to our environmental mission.