MANCHESTER, Vt., March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Orvis Company, Inc. of Manchester, Vermont announced the four recipients of its annual Orvis Customer Matching Grants, two of whom are continuations from 2012. The cornerstone of Orvis' perennial commitment of 5% of its pre-tax profits to protecting nature, this year's grants are targeted to raise $430,000 or more for these projects, and are part of a more than $1 million commitment to conservation and other philanthropic causes this year.
Orvis has awarded cash grants—coupled with a challenge to raise customer contributions up to equal amounts—to the following organizations:
- Trout Unlimited, to continue its multi-year collaboration with Orvis to establish the Orvis/Trout Unlimited 1,000 Miles Campaign, which will reconnect 1,000 miles of stream passage for fish in watersheds throughout the United States over the next several years. Previously known as the Orvis/Trout Unlimited Culvert Fund, this project will open up waterways through the repair, modification and/or removal of culverts and other obstructions which prevent fish from accessing vital upstream spawning habitat.
- The Petfinder Foundation, for its programs benefitting animal shelters and providing homes for rescued dogs across America. Another repeat, this program, whose goal is to ensure that no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a loving home, was so popular with Orvis customers that it exceeded its goal twice over in 2012.
- The Stop Pebble Mine campaign will be Orvis' top conservation priority for 2013. "The Pebble Mine (in Bristol Bay, Alaska), if developed, would certainly become one of the worst environmental risks on the planet and would permanently scar, if not destroy one of America's most majestic natural resources," said Orvis CEO Perk Perkins. Orvis will partner with Trout Unlimited in their campaign to convince Washington and the EPA to block the Pebble Mine.
- The Battersea Working Dogs Programme is Orvis' first ever matching grant in the UK, where the company has more than 20 stores, mails approximately 5 million catalogs a year, and operates a UK version of its website. This initiative continues a proud legacy of placing once unwanted dogs into valuable service, training animals for police, security and rescue service as well as for medical and military assistance.
"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 four 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 2013, 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.
In addition to the company's matching grants, Orvis will donate over $500,000 this year in smaller grants to conservation organizations including The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Conservation Fund, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Bonefish-Tarpon Trust, Ducks Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse Society, Rare Conservation, Project Healing Waters, Casting for Recovery, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and others.
Over the past 25 years, Orvis has raised and contributed in excess of $14 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 the 2013 Orvis Customer Matching Grant recipients follows:
Trout Unlimited – The Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign
For the second year in a row, Orvis will make a cash grant of $90,000 to match its customers' contributions up to the same amount, to raise a total of $180,000 or more. The Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign is 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 cold-water fish, often blocking passage to vital upstream spawning habitat. Thousands of culverts around the country need to be replaced 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." Funds raised through the Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign will go toward the engineering and repair or replacement of culverts and will provide the necessary private matching funds needed to secure additional public funding. Each year TU will determine a list of watersheds that will most benefit from a concerted effort to replace culverts. In 2012, the campaign's inaugural year, five culvert projects were completed in Vermont, New Hampshire, Oregon and Idaho, and five more have been funded and will start construction this Spring in Massachusetts, Maine, Virginia, Wisconsin and Idaho. An estimated ten additional projects will be funded with the 2013 grant and fundraising campaign. Both organizations share a vision for a sustained, multi-year investment in the Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign with the goal of opening up 1,000 new miles of fishable streams across the country in the next several years
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 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. Orvis will match customers' donations up to $30,000 to support and protect these vulnerable pets, for a total campaign goal of $60,000. In 2012, this program was so popular with Orvis customers, a total of $90,000 was raised and a similar amount could be achieved again this year.
Stop Pebble Mine
Intended for location at the headwaters of Alaska's pristine Bristol Bay, the Pebble Mine would be the world's largest open pit gold and copper mine and represent one of the greatest environmental threats to nature on the planet. Bristol Bay is home to the world's largest sockeye salmon run, which sustains an entire ecosystem, including many iconic species such as grizzly and black bears, bald eagles and river otter. In a region that averages one 5.0 earthquake per year, containment of 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste behind proposed earthen dams is far too great a risk to take. A long-awaited study by the EPA is due this year, which those close to the issue expect would justify the White House taking action under the Clean Water Act of 1972, to condemn the proposed Pebble Mine and protect Bristol Bay. In addition to its own financial support, and in cooperation with a campaign led by Trout Unlimited, Orvis intends to elicit the support of its customers, matching their donations up to $50,000 for total goal of $100,000, to champion the cause and take action in Washington, DC.
Battersea Working Dogs Programme
Thanks to the growth of its UK presence, Orvis is making its first ever matching grant in the UK to the Battersea Working Dogs Programme. Each year Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London takes in thousands of unwanted animals. Some dogs demonstrate behaviors that show they would be happier in a work environment rather than in a family home. These dogs receive special training through the Battersea Working Dogs Programme. Orvis has committed to match customer donations up to £30,000 ($45,000) to enable these dogs to be trained for police, security and rescue service, as well as medical assistance.
About The Orvis Company
Founded in 1856, Orvis pioneered the mail order industry in the United States. It now operates multiple catalog titles, three websites, more than 80 retail stores in the U.S. and the U.K. including its Flagship Store in Manchester, Vermont, and serves a network of over 400 authorized dealers worldwide. The oldest continuously operated catalog company in the country, Orvis provides authentic products, knowledge and experiences that define and enhance the distinctive country lifestyle and sporting traditions, with unsurpassed innovation and expertise in fly-fishing and wingshooting. A leading corporate steward for the environment, Orvis contributes 5% of pre-tax profits every year to protect nature, support communities and advance canine health and well-being. The company's international headquarters for its mail order, e-commerce, retail, and wholesale businesses are in Manchester, Vermont. Learn more at www.orvis.com.
SOURCE The Orvis Company, Inc.