Growing the Grassroots
In 1973 a young man stopped by our offices to make a pitch. He called himself, ambitiously, "Friends of the Ventura River," and his plan was to restore the filthy trickle near our headquarters to its former, wild self. A lone activist with monumental goals, he envisioned fish life, shore birds and untainted riffles in a channel ruined by pollution. He gave us hope. We gave him desk space.
By 1985, we formalized our support of environmental activism by committing 10% of our pre-tax profits to grassroots environmental groups. Later, we increased that to at least 1% of sales annually. 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 give at the grassroots level to innovative groups mobilizing their communities to take action. We fund activists who take radical and strategic steps to protect habitat, oceans and waterways, wilderness and biodiversity. This is our niche: supporting people working on the frontlines of the environmental crisis.
Since the program began, we have given over $55 million in grants and in-kind donations to more than 1,000 organizations.