As most of you surely know, Orvis commits 5% of pre-tax profits to protecting and sustaining the natural world—not only now, but for all who follow. Each year, the company and its customers support specific causes through the Customer Matching Grant program. Targeted to raise $360,000 or more, these grants are the cornerstone of our annual commitment, but they are not all the company will do: all told, Orvis will raise and contribute more than $1 million to conservation initiatives this year.
Today, the company announced the four recipients for 2014. Orvis has awarded cash grants—to match its customers’ contributions up to equal amounts—to the following organizations:
- Trout Unlimited – The Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign
For the third year in a row, Orvis will match its customers’ contributions up to $90,000 as part of a campaign to repair or modify culverts throughout the United States to reconnect 1,000 miles of streams across the US in 10 years. A compelling new video about this program can be viewed at the Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign page. Outdated, damaged or impassable culverts—the passages that connect streams underneath roadways everywhere—are a major threat to all species of trout and other coldwater fish, often blocking passage to vital upstream spawning habitat. Compared with dam removal, these relatively low-cost, high-impact projects, “make fixing a culvert so that fish can pass one of the best investments we can make in trout recovery,” according to Trout Unlimited President and CEO Chris Wood. Funds raised through the Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign will go toward the engineering and removal of culverts. Each year TU determines a list of watersheds that will most benefit from a concerted effort to replace culverts. In the program’s first two years, more than 20 culvert projects have been completed or started from Maine to Oregon, Virginia to Wisconsin, and points in between.
- Petfinder Foundation
Each year, five out of every ten dogs in shelters across the United States are euthanized for the simple reason there is no one to adopt them. Nationwide, there were an estimated 8 million new pets added to the shelter system this year. The Petfinder Foundation is a nonprofit charity whose mission is to ensure that no pet is euthanized for lack of a home. Founded in 2003, the foundation helps homeless pets through adoptions, helping shelters prepare for and recover from disaster, and working to make shelters across the country more sustainable. The foundation supports more than 14,000 animal-welfare organizations, providing direct funding, as well as training, education, and grants of equipment and supplies so that homeless pets have happier lives. In 2014, Orvis will match customers’ donations up to $30,000 to support and protect these vulnerable pets.
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation-Oyster Restoration
Saving the Chesapeake Bay is uniquely tied to restoring the native oyster. The oysters in the Chesapeake were once so plentiful they could filter a volume of water equal to that of the entire Bay (some 19 trillion gallons) in three days. Today it would take the current oyster population more than a year to perform the same task. In fact the Bay’s native oyster population has been reduced to as low as 1% of historic levels, making restoration critical to the improvement of the Bay’s water quality. In 2014 Orvis will match customer donations up to $30,000 to enable CBF to restore native oyster reefs, utilizing a unique method of “setting” juvenile oysters on reef balls which will then be deployed into sanctuary reefs, protected from harvesting. This project will not only further oyster restoration, but will enhance both water quality and fish habitat, benefiting the entire Chesapeake ecosystem.
- Rare-Fish Forever in Belize
Around the world a billion people depend on fish as their main source of protein. Most of these small-scale fisheries are poorly managed and overfished. Rare, in cooperation with the Environmental Defense Fund and the University of California, Santa Barbara, has developed Fish Forever, an innovative program designed to empower coastal communities to sustainably manage their own fisheries. A $30,000 grant from Orvis, coupled with a match from customers, will generate $60,000 to help develop the first national system of this type of managed fishery in Belize, inspiring change and improving the lives of thousands of Belizeans, while incubating a replicable model of sustainability for the rest of the world
“Protecting the natural world and a love of the outdoors is not just a corporate commitment, but a way of life that resonates with our customers and all of us here at Orvis,” says CEO Perk Perkins. “That’s why we contribute 5% of pre-tax profits to protect nature. With our matching grants, we invite customers to participate with their own donations, and we match their contributions dollar for dollar.”
Throughout 2014, Orvis will feature each of the four grant programs in its catalogs, website, and retail stores, as well as in other print and online promotions, social media and its conservation blog. The in-kind value of this exposure exceeds $600,000 on top of the cash grants awarded, according to Bill Eyre, Orvis Director of Corporate Marketing and Conservation. These promotional efforts, coupled with the matching funds from Orvis, provide a remarkable opportunity for customers, organization members and the general public to amplify their contribution to the protection of nature through these programs.
In addition to its Customer Matching Grants, Orvis donates smaller, non-matching grants to organizations that preserve and restore fish and wildlife habitat, support communities, and advance canine health and well-being. Key 2014 projects include habitat restoration on upstate New York’s Sands Creek through a grant to Friends of the Upper Delaware; preservation work on California’s fabled Hat Creek through a grant to CalTrout; and a variety of other projects with partners such as The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, World Wildlife Fund, Casting for Recovery, Project Healing Waters, Ducks Unlimited and the Morris Animal Foundation.
Over the past 20 years, Orvis has raised and donated in excess of $15 million for a wide variety of conservation programs, from Kodiak Island, AK to the Florida Everglades; from the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda to the great Coral Triangle of the South Pacific; and in dozens of vital fisheries through America and the world. Details of this and past year’s Orvis Customer Matching Grant projects can be seen at www.orvis.com/commitment.