In an unprecedented move, Patagonia’s founder and his family have decided to transfer the ownership of their $3 billion company to a specially designed trust and a nonprofit focused on combating climate change and protecting undeveloped land around the globe. Read on to see what Cindy Lowry, Executive Director of Alabama Rivers Alliance, has to say about the monumental decision.
A monumental impact on our environment
According to The New York Times, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard transferred all of the company’s voting stock to the newly established Patagonia Purpose Trust in August to ensure the company makes good on its commitment to run a socially responsible business and give away its profits.
Now, Chouinard, his wife and children have relinquished ownership of Patagonia, deeming newly established nonprofit organization Holdfast Collective the recipient of all the company’s profits moving forward.
Founded 25 years ago, Alabama Rivers Alliance works tirelessly to protect and preserve our state’s valuable watersheds. As a longtime grant recipient of Patagonia, the Alliance was thrilled about this news.
“This innovative shift in thinking of Earth as the shareholder is exactly the kind of transformative action we need if we are going to address the climate crisis upon us. Whatever one’s belief is about how we got to where we are today, investing in the protection of the water, land and air that we all rely on has never been more important.”Cindy Lowry, Executive Director, Alabama Rivers Alliance
As you may have guessed, Chouinard is not your average billionaire. The lifelong environmental advocate has been giving back for decades, and this recent move is reflective of his immense dedication to bettering our planet.
“I had the privilege of meeting Yvon Chouinard several years ago at an awesome conference they hosted for their grantees. He truly was a down-to-earth and approachable, regular person. He kind of reminded me of my grandfather, who was a blue-collar working man who lived on a little farm in rural Alabama. Yvon’s testimony about how he has stayed true to his values throughout the booming success of his company is really inspiring to me and our team at the Alabama Rivers Alliance.”Cindy Lowry, Executive Director, Alabama Rivers Alliance
Patagonia 🤝 Alabama Rivers Alliance
Lowry said that Patagonia has been providing grants to the Alabama Rivers Alliance and many other Alabama grassroots environmental groups for more than a decade through their 1% for the Planet competitive grants program.
“This funding has made a huge difference for small organizations like ours. Patagonia doesn’t just give money. Beyond the financial support through grants, Patagonia also provides valuable organizational development support through workshops and webinars…when they invest in your organization, they invest in your success all around!”Cindy Lowry, Executive Director, Alabama Rivers Alliance
Lowry also notes that one of the greatest challenges to many environmental problems is finding the money to fund their solutions as many critical issues compete for limited government funding. This decision makes a huge difference and has an invaluable impact on environmental efforts.
“It is well documented that those suffering the most from pollution, flooding and climate-related disasters are communities of color and low wealth, so when a family and a company with this much wealth makes the decision to give it all up for the protection of the Earth, it feels like there is hope for making the huge shifts we must make to meet the challenge of the climate crisis.”Cindy Lowry, Executive Director, Alabama Rivers Alliance
How you can help
“We need more people who care about having a healthy environment, healthy people and an economy that reflects those values to be actively talking about all of these issues and how they intersect with elected officials, and even with friends and family members.”Cindy Lowry, Executive Director, Alabama Rivers Alliance
Ready to join the effort to protect Alabama’s environment? You can make a bigger impact than you think. Here’s how Alabama Rivers Alliance encourages you to get involved:
- Sign up for Alabama River Alliance emails—Receive regular updates on critical issues facing water in Alabama, best practices on how to make a difference and action alerts for when and how to get involved.
- Become a member—Join Alabama River Alliance and/or your local watershed or community-based organization to take action.
- Attend a premiere—Get involved + meet local organizations working to protect Alabama’s natural resources at the World Premiere of the 2022 Southern Exposure Films, September 30 at The Altamont School in Birmingham. Learn more about the event.