Each Fall, we dedicate a whole month to support a greater cause in an event we call Autumn Outreach. During this time, beyond our regular outreach efforts, we pledge 10% of the revenue from our website to an organization working hard to maintain our trails, advocate for their protection, and care for our communities.
For October 2021, our recipient is The Conservation Alliance (TCA), a coalition of more than 260 like-minded businesses who pool resources to fund and advocate for the protection of North America’s wild places. CNOC Outdoors has recently become a member of The Conservation Alliance, and we are proud to support their work during our fall campaign.
So what does that mean? It means that during the month of October, every product you purchase from us triggers a donation of 10% of the item to TCA. In turn, they take that money, pool it with funds from other members and invest in projects that aim to conserve and protect open lands in the USA. An example is this project in our neck of the woods: funding the conservation of 4,900 acres in the Klickitat Canyon through the Columbia Land Trust.
Here is some more data:
Since 1989, the Alliance has helped protect 73 million acres of wildlands and 3,576 river miles, remove or halt 37 dams, purchase 18 climbing areas, and designate five marine reserves. To date, they’ve awarded more than $27,000,000 in grants to 211 organizations and continue this momentum every year!
Their current work includes preventing further oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; visit Take Action for the Arctic Refuge to learn more and get involved.
Picture by Malkom Boothroyd
We asked Ally from The Conservation Alliance about their work and plans for the future.
What is The Conservation Alliance?
We’re a coalition of like-minded businesses working to fund and advocate for the permanent protection of wild places in North America. Our member companies contribute annual dues to the Alliance based on their revenue, and one hundred percent of these dues get passed through as grant funding to organizations working on community-based campaigns to protect wild habitat and outdoor recreation. We support approximately 50 organizations per year, which are selected through a member nomination and voting process, with careful vetting by our organization and board. In addition to our grant program, we leverage our business coalition to advocate for the projects we fund, bringing the power of our 260 member businesses, thousands of employees, and billions of dollars of economic impact to bear for the protection of wild places. Founded in 1989 by outdoor industry leaders REI, Patagonia, The North Face, and Kelty, the Alliance has expanded to include values-driven businesses in the craft beverage, tech, renewable energy, and hunt/fish industries.
What does The Conservation Alliance do and what are your goals?
We fund and advocate for grassroots and community-based organizations that are working to protect North America’s wild places. Our goals include growing our grant program to $10 million and continuing to expand our business coalition beyond the outdoor industry to include values-driven member companies from sectors such as hunt/fish, craft beer, food/beverage, tech, renewable energy, and financial markets.
Want to support the TCA? Head over to our store, get some new gear and we will send 10% of that to the TCA.
What was the motivation behind starting The Conservation Alliance?
Our founding members understood that the outdoor industry relies on having places for its employees and customers to recreate. With this understanding comes a profound responsibility to help protect places so that land and water, people, and wildlife can thrive together. Now, we serve as a connector between the conservation movement and private business, and we see an incredible opportunity to deepen our connections within each sector while helping to bring the two closer together.
What have been The Conservation Alliances biggest wins recently (what impact have donations had)?
We've awarded $2.2M in grant funding in 2021 to 52 grassroots conservation organizations. In addition, we'll award $200,000 before the end of 2021 to four conservation groups led by Asian, Black, Brown, Indigenous, Latinx, and other People of Color via the Confluence Program, which launches Oct. 4th.
We launched the Public Lands Defense Fund in 2017 and awarded a total of $777,000 in funding to help defend our public lands system during the Trump administration. Shortly after the 2020 elections, we sunsetted the PLDF to focus our attention on groups working to secure new protections for wild places.
We welcomed 24 new business members in 2020 and 31 so far in 2021 (including two new Pinnacle Members - Bank of the West and Public Lands - which have committed $100,000/year in support of conserving land and water). We've added members from the outdoor industry, financial, renewable energy, and technology sectors [like Cnoc Outdoors!]
In 2020, we began our journey to make The Conservation Alliance a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization. We partnered with Marcelo Bonta of J.E.D.I. Heart to facilitate individual, organizational, and systemic change processes. The Confluence Program is one outcome of this work. Read more about our commitments here.
We're almost constantly celebrating conservation success stories. Find all of our successes here.
Photo by Uncage The Soul
What’s planned for the rest of 2021 and for 2022 - and beyond?
We are about to launch an initiative called the Confluence Program. The goal of the Confluence Program is to intentionally connect to historically racially marginalized people for the protection of natural places. By the end of this year, The Conservation Alliance will award four multi-year grants to groups led by Asian, Black, Brown, Indigenous, Latinx, and other People of Color working to protect a natural place. Each grantee will receive $50,000 in 2021 and another $50,000 in 2022 for their effort to protect land and/or water and elevate the voices and perspectives of the people working to protect that place.
In 2022 and 2023, we will work to build trust and meaningful relationships with the four Confluence grantees through resource-sharing and communications support. We will shape the relationship-building phase of this program to meet the specific needs of each group. Learn more about the Confluence Program here.
In addition to this new program, we will continue working to grow our grant and advocacy programs, continue engaging with our member companies through cause marketing and other collaborations, and deepen connections with all of our partners and audiences working to protect wild places.
What are the primary ways that outdoor companies and enthusiasts can promote the work you do?
We regularly share our successes, calls to action, and priority campaigns with our member companies via email, blog stories, social media toolkits, and congressional sign-on letters. Our member companies can support us by taking action through sign-on letters or letters to representatives, sharing our social media toolkits with their audiences, and sharing any of our content. We also regularly participate in cause marketing initiatives, where the sky's the limit! Reach out to us any time and we’ll be happy to bounce ideas.
Enthusiasts can support our work by following us, our grantees, and our member companies on social media, subscribing to our email newsletter, checking out our website and blog, and participating in calls to action. We also love it when outdoor enthusiasts directly support our member companies or grantee partners.
How will the funds from CNOC Outdoors Autumn Outreach initiative be used?
One hundred percent of funds raised through the Autumn Outreach campaign will go directly to our general grant fund, supporting more than 20 grassroots conservation organizations during our winter grants cycle. Any additional funds that CNOCs Autumn Outreach (or anyone) donates can be used for further grant funding, other initiatives like the Confluence Program, communications/marketing, and general organizational operations.
What is one of your favorite, recently visited wild places?
A few members from our team just returned from a trip to Gunnison, Colorado, to learn about the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative (GPLI). Along with Conservation Alliance grantee, The Wilderness Society, we convened a group of 30 people that included regional member companies, representatives from local, state, and federal legislative offices, and others who are part of the grassroots effort to manage Gunnison county’s public lands for the best interests of the land and water, wildlife, and people. We spent a few days camping out, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and discussing how best to support this community and get the coalition’s proposed legislation passed into law. Not only was the landscape spectacular (hello, changing aspens!), but the stories about how a county with a population of 17,000 people has come together to decide its own best path forward was an inspiring example for all of us.
What else should people know about The Conservation Alliance?
The collective nature of our organization is our greatest strength. The Conservation Alliance brings the power of its member businesses, thousands of employees, and billions of dollars in economic impact to bear for the protection of wild places. Together, we can help land and water, people, and wildlife thrive together.
Photo by Uncage the Soul
We are excited to partner with The Conservation Alliance, and show that even small, local brands can have a big impact just like the big companies. So help us make an impact, place an order and we will send 10% to TCA to support more open land and conservation.