Orvis Announces 2012 Commitment Projects


Written by: Phil Monahan

Commitment

Through matching grants, Orvis and its customers work together to protect
nature, support communities, and advance canine well-being.

The Orvis Company has announced five new recipients of its annual Customer Matching Grant program, the cornerstone of Orvis’s perennial commitment of 5% of its pre-tax profits to protecting nature. This year’s grants include more than $200,000 in direct funding, as well as an aggressive promotional campaign designed to solicit an equal amount or more in customer donations to these programs.

Orvis has awarded cash grants—to match its customers’ contributions up to equal amounts—to the following five organizations:

  • Trout Unlimited, who will partner with Orvis in a multi-year initiative to establish the Orvis/Trout Unlimited Culvert Fund, which will reconnect stream passage for fish in watersheds throughout the United States through the repair, modification and/or removal of several of the nation’s most obstructive culverts each year. 
  •  The Petfinder.com Foundation, for its programs benefitting shelters and providing homes for rescued dogs across America.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Foundation for its on-the-ground restoration projects to improve water quality and provide essential habitat for oysters, blue crabs, and other important species of the Bay watershed. 
  • The National Wildlife Federation and Greater Yellowstone Coalition for their efforts to provide vital winter range for the American Bison herd of Yellowstone National Park.

“I am always gratified, but never surprised by the willingness of our customers to contribute meaningfully to our conservation efforts,” said David Perkins, Vice Chairman of Orvis. “Together over the years we have achieved some remarkable results, and that’s why our commitment of 5% of pre-tax profits is not only a commitment to protect nature, but is a commitment to our customers. Each year, we carefully select partners whose programs meet our common goals, and we highly commend these five outstanding programs to our customers and to the general public, through these matching grants and the year-long, multi-channel promotional campaigns we have committed to them.”

Throughout 2012, 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. Each partner organization will also feature the grant program in their marketing channels. 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.

Over the past 15 years, Orvis has raised in excess of $10 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. A brief synopsis of each of this year’s grant recipients follows:

Trout Unlimited – The Orvis/TU Culvert Fund
With an initial cash grant of $90,000 to match its customers’ contributions up to the same amount, Orvis is partnering with Trout Unlimited to create a new multi-year fund—the Orvis/TU Culvert Fund—dedicated to repairing or modifying culverts throughout the United States. 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. Thousands of culverts around the country need to be removed or modified. Compared with dam removal, these relatively low-cost, high impact projects, according to Trout Unlimited President and CEO Chris Wood, “make fixing a culvert so that fish can pass one of the best investments we can make in trout recovery.” The Orvis/TU Culvert Fund will go toward the engineering and removal of culverts. Each year TU will determine a list of watersheds that will most benefit from a concerted effort to replace culverts. Orvis is donating $90,000 in customer matching funds to establish the new fund in 2012. Both organizations share a vision for a sustained, multi-year investment in the Orvis/TU Culvert Fund, with the potential to impact dozens of culvert projects nationally.

Each of the other four recipients have won a $30,000 matching funds grant, with which Orvis will match its customers’ donations up to $30,000 for each program, thus doubling customer contributions and raising up to $60,000 or more for each of these organizations:

Petfinder.com Foundation
Each year, five out of every ten dogs in shelters across the United States are euthanized for the simple reason that no one is there to adopt them. Nationwide, there were an estimated 8 million new pets added to the shelter system this year. The Petfinder.com 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 by saving lives 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.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation – Oyster Restoration Project
Spanning six states (New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia), plus the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay watershed occupies 64,000 square miles and directly affects the lives of some 17 million Americans. This rich ecosystem—containing one of the largest estuaries in North America—must cope with the environmental impact of agriculture, development, and some of our most densely populated urban areas. The leading threats to the health of the Chesapeake Bay are nitrogen and phosphorous pollution, which promote excess algae growth and results in low-oxygen “dead zones,” and sediment pollution, which smothers oysters. Oysters restore water quality by removing excess nitrogen that can deplete the oxygen needed to support life in the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay once supported a large enough oyster population to filter the entire Bay’s volume every day. Today, the reduced oyster population requires nearly a year to complete the task. CBF’s Oyster Restoration Program will plant 25,000,000 oyster “spat” in the Bay in 2012. This will enhance the Bay’s filtration capacity, helping to provide cleaner water, which will benefit the wild fish and bird populations that live there.

National Wildlife Federation – Yellowstone Bison Project
The American bison once roamed North America in vast herds—some estimates put the population at some 60,000,000 animals—before succumbing to overhunting and the ravages of American westward expansion during the 19th century. By the mid-1880s, these majestic animals were approaching extinction. Fortunately, conservation efforts were underway by 1900, beginning the buffalo’s long march back from the brink. Although most American bison are raised in captivity today, there is still one large, continually wild herd in America: the bison of Yellowstone National Park. This group of more than 3,000 animals roams freely, spending summers in the green upper elevations, and, when winter arrives, moving downslope to find available grazing land. This often results in encroachment on land that has been leased by cattle ranchers, who seek to eliminate contact between their cattle and the wild bison herd because it is thought by some that bison can transmit brucellosis—a disease that can cause stillbirth—to cattle. The National Wildlife Federation has helped minimize these conflicts since 2002 by retiring grazing allotments totaling nearly 600,000 acres. With the help of the Orvis grant, NWF has turned its attention to the 7,200-acre Slip and Slide retirement, which has been a significant source of seasonal grazing conflict along the northern border of the national park for more than a decade. Once this retirement has been purchased, the bison herd—along with other wild animals, including elk, mule deer, grizzly bears, and wolves—of Yellowstone will be free to roam outside the park bounds in the Gardiner Basin in the winter months.

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