Giving Back and Making Change: Growing the 1% for the Planet Network

 

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It’s not easy being green. And for many businesses, it’s often difficult to ‘Love Blue.’ Integrating sustainability principles into the core DNA of a company can be a challenge, especially as those companies seek growth, increased revenue, and financial viability. Over the past 10 years, however, 1% for the Planet (FTP) has emerged as a leading partner for conscientious businesses, offering a unique solution to this challenge by creating a global network that uses strategic philanthropy in support of environmental and conservation projects worldwide.

1% FTP member companies pledge 1% of sales to organizations working to create a healthier, more sustainable, planet. At the global level, 1% FTP has generated over 100 million dollars in giving from over 1,200 member companies that has gone directly to over 3,600 nonprofits and their programs.

At a regional level – in and around California’s Central Coast – the 1% FTP network is growing rapidly, with new businesses signing up monthly to be a part of this global movement. From software companies to eco-tainment outfits, 1% FTP is creating a regional alliance of businesses committed to creating a better world. As the network grows, LoaTree (a proud 1% FTP media partner/member) would like to shine a spotlight on some of the newest relationships that have emerged throughout the region.

JUICE RANCH & ORGANIC SOUP KITCHEN

JR (DBN 100 OG) - VERT grnJuice Ranch is one of Santa Barbara’s hottest organic, locally sourced juice shops. Started by Erin Gomez and Scott Walker in 2013, they offer juices made from 100% organic and raw produce – yes that’s right, no high-pressure processing – in reusable glass bottles as a deliciously healthy and sustainable option for refreshment. While Walker developed an appreciation for the external, natural environment in his 20’s, Gomez preached about the importance of a healthy internal environment, bringing the concept of the Juice Ranch  full circle.

Drawing on Patagonia’s socially conscious business model as inspiration, Walker and Gomez started Juice Ranch as a business striving to do much more than make money – and 1% FTP provided the perfect outlet.

DBN - Growing bottleSeen as an inevitable development for the company by Walker and Gomez, Juice Ranch has quickly (and for the first time) jumped on board to donate to nonprofits who believe in sustainability, organic and sustainable agriculture, and education. One such group is the Organic Soup Kitchen.

Organic Soup Kitchen provides fresh, nutritious organic food to the marginalized sector of Santa Barbara. OSK’s philosophy focuses on supporting those agencies who deal directly with clients seeking assistance, such as Santa Barbara Street Medicine and the Transition House. In just the last two years, OSK has more than doubled meals served from 13,000 to 30,000. Aside from serving food, they also have a yoga program for PTSD patients.

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Anthony shows off some organic greens.

Although Organic Soup Kitchen is a first time 1% recipient, their relationship with Juice Ranch has been years in the making. “Erin Gomez was a volunteer at Organic Soup Kitchen years ago,” explains Organic Soup Kitchen Founder Anthony Carroccio. “She knows and believes in what we do and wanted to help us in any way.”

The money donated by the Juice Ranch has contributed to OSK’s $300,000 green kitchen campaign, a project Carroccio plans to build himself this fall. “On a monthly basis we get tons of offers from local farmers to give us produce that we can’t stabilize because we don’t have the proper kitchens.”

A new kitchen will increase OSK’s capacity to store, process and serve more food, and in turn, help more people in need. With the help of 1% FTP and Juice Ranch, they are well on their way to accomplishing their goals.

In addition to OSK, Juice Ranch also recently made a first time donation to Sprout Up, a youth-to-youth environmental program for 1st and 2nd graders. Juice Ranch will continue to support organizations that help people become more connected with their food, spending more time in the garden and less time in the office.

“This is money the nonprofits can use as they see fit for their operations,” Walker explains. “Either way, we – and I think every business – can survive without that one percent. It just feels right, and so amazing to give money to nonprofits.”

CHANNEL ISLANDS OUTFITTERS & WILDERNESS YOUTH PROJECT

Screen shot 2014-05-06 at 1.12.54 PMPursuing a more physical route to business, Channel Island Outfitters (CIO) is an adventure company that advocates enjoyment of and education in the natural world. CIO has grown to become part of the outdoor recreation branch of the broader movement towards a healthier environment, and recently joined the 1% FTP member network. Although their adventure programs, such as kayaking and snorkeling, are open to all ages, CIO targets younger generations in their initiatives.

“Getting the youth engaged in the environment and ocean helps foster a much better understanding of the delicate and finite resources that are sacred, and growing scarce, on our planet,” CEO and Co-Founder Garrett Kababik believes.

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CIO offers outdoor recreational equipment rentals and activities to customers.

Recently, CIO has become a B-Certified Corporation while also partnering with 1% FTP. “We are one of only a handful of companies in the world that are both B Corps and 1% FTP partners. The only way we’re willing to succeed is by standing by our values and paving the way for a new business model.” If this new business model means giving back monetarily through 1% FTP to nonprofits that reflect these values, Kababik is on board.

CIO’s firm belief in outdoor education and experience as a means of saving the natural world is exactly what their 1% recipient, Wilderness Youth Project, practices on a day-to-day basis.

Wilderness Youth Project (WYP) hosts after-school and summer programs for children ages 3-17 in an effort to connect kids to the natural world and help them form a loving relationship with it. “Our niche in the environmental education field is defined by a small ratio of kids to adults,” explains WYP Director Dan Fontaine. “Instead of being teachers over many children, we get to be mentors and get to know the kids on an individual basis.” This gives the children more freedom to climb trees and get in the water while still keeping it safe.

Fontaine (middle), WYP Staff and students enjoying the outdoors

Fontaine (middle), WYP Staff, and students enjoying the outdoors.

With their program directed at providing children with experiential learning in the outdoors, WYP shares the same goals as CIO with just a slightly different modality. For this reason, CIO and WYP have worked closely together for years. “They let us take kids out on kayaks for a great price and let our staff participate in their water safety training classes.” But now, working through  1% FTP, CIO can  support WYP initiatives even more.

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WYP kids on a sunset hike.

“In supporting other branches such as scientific research, preservation efforts, and education, we can all rise together toward our common goal,” says Kababik.

Though CIO has been giving back to the community for over two decades, 1% FTP helps them align their giving with organizations such as WYP that help fulfill their purpose in a more strategic manner. And for the nonprofits, the benefits go beyond the 1%.

“The financial gifts make the program sweeter,” believes Fontaine. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about the larger cause.”

PELAGO DESIGN & SANTA BARBARA LAND TRUST

pelago-logoPelago Design, a software service provider, offers their web based time tracking, task management and reporting software to web designers in over 100 countries. But don’t let their tech-image fool you. Pelago business partners John Reeve and Michael Payne admit to being very outdoorsy. In fact, Pelago company retreats often take place in the Eastern Sierra Mountains.

With a love for being active in the natural world, Reeve and Payne became familiar with Patagonia, leading them to hear about 1% FTP. “We thought we could join 1% FTP and give money to the Eastern Sierra Land Trust,” says Reeve, “and we did for a couple of years, until we decided we wanted to transition to something more local.”

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John Reeve, Michael Payne and Jaime Prado of Pelago Designs (L to R).

Upon signing on to 1% FTP and committing to their first donation, Reeve and Payne decided to split Pelago’s 1% to two local nonprofits of their choice. An active cyclist himself, Reeve has always been a fan of Bici Centro, a community bike repair shop and education center, and pledged his half of the 1% to them. In return, in addition to helping expand its services, Bici Centro has reciprocated by providing Reeve with increased access to its services, discounts and more.

Payne, a Carpinteria native, chose Santa Barbara Land Trust as his nonprofit recipient. Being an avid hiker of the Franklin Trail, his goal was to provide financial support to help finish that specific project.

Santa Barbara Land Trust works to preserve natural land throughout the county and encourage people to visit these properties. Their biggest projects include the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, where they host environmental education programs, the Coronado Butterfly Preserve that attracts thousands of visitors during the Monarch butterfly season, and the Modoc Preserve which recently celebrated 15 years of conservation.

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Kids enjoy the recently opened Franklin Trail.

“We work with community members who are interested in helping to protect and preserve different trails or acres of land,” explains Membership Coordinator Jennifer Stroh. And that is exactly what Pelago’s 1% did. Stroh offered to place Payne’s donation towards a specific project, and the Franklin Trail just happened to be his preference.

Directly related to Pelago’s donation, the first phrase of the Franklin Trail is now complete and the second phrase is in progress.

John Reeves at his computer at Pelago Designs

John Reeve at his computer at Pelago Designs.

“We love the fact that 1% exists,” Stroh expresses. “Not only are we  grateful for the donations, but we are happy that the program allows for direct connections to businesses like our friends at Pelago.” For Pelago, donating financially is just the beginning. Reeve’s dream is to give more time to nonprofits, whether helping them with technology or volunteering on-site.

“The best part about this relationship is seeing our donations grow financially, while also seeing our support grow in other ways.”

1% FTP SEEKS NEW BUSINESS MEMBERS

With a keen interest in network growth in key regions by 1% FTP and its partners, including the Orfalea Foundation, a successful global model has been applied to California’s South Central Coast region. As seen with Pelago, Juice Ranch and Channel Islands Outfitters, a main objective of 1% FTP is to connect and build relationships between businesses and nonprofit partners to directly influence conservation and environmental efforts.

Do you have a business that could support the 1% FTP effort? Is giving back in a strategic manner with the force of hundreds of other companies by your side an appealing proposition? Then take the step to register your business here here today!

LoaCom, acting as 1% FTP’s California Network Development Partner, has a goal of bringing 20 new companies into the 1% FTP network by this year’s end. In return for membership, businesses are provided with unique networking opportunities, member exposure throughout the international 1% network, use of the 1% FTP logo and more. By taking action and signing up, you become part of something bigger – something better – that helps drive conservation and planetary protection using the power of business.

Interested? Please direct any questions to Eric or Dave at eric@onepercentfortheplanet.org or dave@onepercentfortheplanet.org. The 1% FTP network would love to have you on board.

Written by Meagan Hannah, LoaTree.

Photos courtesy of Juice Ranch, Pelago, Wildnerness Youth Project, Organic Soup Kitchen, Land Trust of Santa Barbara County and Lea Anna Drown of Observant Images

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