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Our Earth Tax – Patagonia Environmental + Social Initiatives 2015

Patagonia  /  September 9, 2015  /  4 Min Read  /  Our Footprint, Activism, Community


In the conventional model of philanthropy, the big funders—corporations and foundations—mainly support big professional environmental groups. The large national organizations (those with budgets over $5 million) are doing important work but they make up just 2% of all environmental groups, yet receive more than 50% of all environmental grants and donations.

Meanwhile, funding the environmental movement at a grassroots level—where change happens from the bottom up and lasts—has never been more important. But these groups continue to be woefully underfunded.

The funding paradigm is out of balance. We aim to change it.

Above: Patagonia Environmental & Social Initiatives 2015. Pick up a printed copy at your local Patagonia store or read the digital version. Cover photo: Donnie Hedden

Patagonia gives 1% of sales to grassroots environmental organizations. We call it our Earth Tax.

We support community-based organizations—often edgy and off the beaten path—working to create positive change for the planet in their own backyards. These individual battles are the most effective way to raise more complicated issues in the public mind, particularly those of biodiversity, ecosystem protection and climate change.


Nfs_1For 130 years, the Pacific Northwest’s iconic salmon and steelhead populations have been in steady decline. To address this problem, the Native Fish Society have built a network of place-based, volunteer River Stewards across the Northwest and equipped them with scientific understanding and tools to organize their communities and protect their homewaters. Through support from Patagonia, last year they were able to expand the capacity of the River Steward program, providing more on-the-ground support and training to River Stewards across the region. Photo: Mark Sherwood


Since 1985, we’ve donated more than $70 million in cash and services to grassroots environmental groups. These grassroots groups often have less than five paid staffers. Some are entirely run by volunteers. Instead of giving a few million dollars to a handful of causes, we give modest grants up to $12,000 each to thousands of groups for whom this money makes a world of difference.

Over the years, we’ve supported more than 3,400 grassroots environmental groups around the globe. These groups are working to …

  • Take down dams
  • Restore forests and rivers
  • Find solutions to and mitigate climate change 
  • Protect critical land and marine habitat
  • Protect threatened and endangered plants and animals 
  • Support local, organic and sustainable agriculture

This past year alone, we proudly gave …

  • $6.2 million in environmental grants, to … 
  • 741 grassroots environmental groups, in … 
  • 18 countries.


Ptacek_n_0010_2Amy and Dave Freeman of Save the Boundary Waters on the first leg of Paddle to DC: a 2,000-mile, 100-day canoeing and sailing expedition from Minnesota to Washington, D.C. The goal was to visit communities along the route, highlight proposed sulfide-ore mines near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and collect signatures in opposition on a floating petition—their 20’ Wenonah Minnesota III canoe. Patagonia employee Nate Ptacek produced a video about their trip during an environmental internship. Photo: Nate Ptacek


This past year, more than 500 employees were directly involved in awarding grants. For projects located near Patagonia retail stores, the grant proposals are reviewed and awarded by store employees. Grant proposals for projects not located near one of our retail stores are reviewed and awarded by employee Grants Councils at our headquarters in Ventura and offices around the world.

To learn more about Patagonia’s environmental grants program, or apply for a grant, please review our Grant Guidelines. To learn more about how your company can join Patagonia in committing 1% of sales to groups making positive change in their communities, visit 1% For The Planet.

To see the full breadth of our environmental and social initiatives for 2015, we invite you to read our digital booklet here or pick up a printed copy from a Patagonia store near you.



How to read the digital booklet
1) Click to open in full screen

2) Double-click to zoom in/out
3) Click and drag to navigate while zoomed
4) Press ESC to exit full screen


We guarantee everything we make.

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We take responsibility for our impact.

Explore Our Footprint

We support grassroots activism.

Visit Patagonia Action Works

We keep your gear going.

Visit Worn Wear

We give our profits to the planet.

Read Our Commitment
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