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Miracle Grants Gets Employees Involved in Giving

Jim Little  /  November 19, 2009  /  3 Min Read  /  Activism

Terra Photo Patagonia employees are given a lot of latitude: flexible work schedules, hall passes for surf and snow, no one looking over shoulders making sure we’re working. In essence we’re treated like the big kids we are and trusted to get our work done.

We’re also invited to help determine which groups receive money through the company’s environmental grants program. Miracle Grants are the most direct method.

Above: Our Creative Services department awarded its $5,000 Miracle Grant to Terra Resources Development, helping to bring healthy drinking water toBolivian villagers. Photo: Justin Bastien

Our Miracle Grants program was initiated three years ago to encourage more employees to get involved in our grant-giving process and become better acquainted with local environmental issues. Presently, only employees at our Ventura headquarters can participate, though the program will likely be expanded next year to include employees at our Reno Distribution Center.

In September, $40K was divvied up among eight work groups here at headquarters. Members of each group nominated deserving nonprofit environmental organizations (mostly local ones) as possible grant recipients, then made a case for each to their colleagues, either in writing, orally or, as our accounting department did last year, with a bit of theater, margaritas and organic peanut butter (Who knew accounting could be such fun!).


The Naples Coalition received a check for $5,000 from the Production Dept. who enjoyed Mexican food and chocolate cake at their Miracle Grants reception. Photo: Jim Little

The groups below will receive a Miracle Grant this year:

  • Terra Resource Development (, which works to ensure clean, accessible water for villagers in Bolivia.
  • Los Padres Forest Watch (, leading efforts to protect the Los Padres National Forest and other public lands along California’s central coast.
  • Ojai Raptor Center (, dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of injured, orphaned and displaced birds of prey in Ventura County.
  • Wishtoyo (, a bridge preserving the wisdom of the ancient Chumash culture and linking it to the present day environmental issues.
  • Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (, committed to aiding and rescuing marine animals and wildlife affected by natural and unnatural causes.
  • Thompson Divide Coalition (, committed to securing permanent protection from energy development for federal lands in Colorado’s Thompson Divide area.
  • South Coast Habitat Restoration (, emphasizing steelhead trout recovery projects near Santa Barbara and Ventura, California.
  • Naples Coalition (, helping to preserve the rural character of the Naples property on the Gaviota coast.
  • Native Seed/SEARCH (, promoting the use of ancient crops and their wild relatives by gathering, safeguarding, and distributing seeds of the American Southwest and northwest Mexico to farming and gardening communities.

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