In January 2008, The Conservation Alliance launched the Legacy Fund Campaign, a campaign to raise a $3.5-million endowment, earnings from which will cover the majority of our operating expenses. The Legacy Fund will ensure permanence for The Conservation Alliance, and allow us to maintain our commitment to contribute 100 percent of our members' dues to conservation organizations. Last week, we reached our $3.5-million goal when The North Face made a $750,000 commitment to complete the fund.TNF President Todd Spaletto (left) made the announcement at The Conservation Alliance Breakfast in Salt Lake City.
But, we didn't stop there. Our original endowment goal was a great start, but the Legacy Fund remains open for contributions from anyone who wants to give something back in support of the outdoor industry's collective effort to protect wild places. Peter Metcalf, Black Diamond Equipment Founder, active conservationist, and industry leader (below), kicked off Phase II of the Legacy Campaign with a bang. Peter and Kathy Metcalf made a personal commitment of $75,000 to the Legacy Fund, and an additional $50,000 from Black Diamond Equipment.
Announcing their commitments, Spaletto and Metcalf both spoke eloquently about the reasons for their generous gifts. Below is a reprint of Peter's comments, which touched so many in the audience.
"As I look out at all of you, here at 7am before a big day of work, I am reminded that we are much more than just an industry. We are a community, the "Outdoor Community", a community whose passion runs so deep that collaboration trumps competition relative to the great issues of life.
This is a community that has three defining qualities to it.
a. A love for an outdoor sport – rich in adventure, athleticism, and commitment.
b. A community of fellow passionate individuals with whom we share epics, trust, experiences and fear. We are all connected by the bond of these shared experiences – whether they are big air, big hydraulics, or big drops.
c. The third defining element is that of the sublime places where we ply our craft, lay down our sleeping bags and brew our morning coffee. You do not need to believe in any religion to know something supreme has crafted these places and they inspire us to fight for their preservation and stewardship. Places like this help us keep our lives in perspective and remind us of our humanity.
That is why we are all here this morning.
But we are an industry, as well as a community; which means there is a fourth defining reason for the importance of these wild place places in our lives. They are the source of our Economic sustenance and our families' economic well being. We have forged our careers in this special industry, and they provide us with a lifestyle that is the envy of many.
It is our companies, which all of us here define, who give their financial support to fund The Conservation Alliance and the Alliance supports an amazing ecosystem of grassroots organizations fighting THE good fight on behalf of all of us. If we as individuals can make a one-time contribution or multi-year pledge to the Alliance's endowment, there is the opportunity for us to create a situation where 100 percent of the our company's annual giving goes NOT to operating budgets but instead to the environmental groups battling to save those last iconic places on earth.
So let me share and merge two inspiring quotes that crystallize why we should act and why YOU must act.
The first is from the 1970's author of the Whole Earth Catalog and futurist, Stuart Brand.
"Natural systems are priceless in value and nearly impossible to replace, but they are cheap to maintain. ALL you have to do is defend them… "
And because we know the "ALL" in "defend" is spelled in bold capitals, I am combining his insightful words of wisdom with a call to activism by the well known anthropological author Margret Mead who wrote:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
May all of you here this morning, rise up and take your proper place as a "not so small group of thoughtful committed citizens" just as those, in the small, defiant, grassroots conservation groups are doing that The Conservation Alliance supports.
It is a lasting legacy that you can leave for your children and this industry.