Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Outdoor Gear Exchange, and Patagonia have been selected as the winners of The Conservation Alliance Outstanding Partnership Award for 2013. The award recognizes member companies who go above and beyond in building relationships with Conservation Alliance grantees.
All Conservation Alliance grantees from the past two years were invited to nominate member companies for recognition. Five grantees nominated seven different member companies. Each nomination described how the company engaged in a meaningful partnership to help the organization succeed in its conservation work.
"The Outstanding Partnership Award brings to light the commitment our member have for the work of our grantees," said John Sterling, Executive Director of The Conservation Alliance. "We are thrilled to celebrate the direct interaction between our members and the conservation groups in their communities. By telling their stories, we hope to encourage more of these partnerships."
Grantee Canadian Parks & Wilderness nominated Mountain Equipment Co-Op for a partnership that has spanned more than 20 years and includes annual grants, year-round advertising space in MEC stores, and a joint social marketing venture called "The Big Wild."
"MEC is CPAWS' most important corporate partner," said Ellen Adelberg, Director of Communications and Marketing, CPAWS. "MEC's contributions to CPAWS now exceed $1 million and we benefit tremendously from MEC staff's generous sharing of expertise in areas such as promotion and customer relations."
Outdoor Gear Exchange, a retailer based in Burlington, VT was nominated by grantee Vermont Land Trust for their role in supporting the successful Bolton Valley Conservation Campaign, which helped to secure the funding needed to purchase and conserve 1,100 acres of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry land. Later this spring, the parcel will be transferred to the State of Vermont as an addition to the Mount Mansfield State Forest.
"When we announced our decision to work with a group of community volunteers to protect the Bolton Valley property, the response from the leadership team at Outdoor Gear Exchange was immediate," said VLT Executive Director Elise Annes. "Co-owners Marc Sherman and Mike Donohue not only nominated VLT for Conservation Alliance grants, but also they determined that nearly every event and program Gear Exchange did with the community over the next seven months would benefit or promote the Bolton Valley Conservation Campaign in some way."
Patagonia, Inc., a founding Conservation Alliance member, was nominated by grantee Los Padres Forest Watch. Since LPFW's inception in 2004, Patagonia has been an active partner by: providing grants; holding fundraising events; lending work space; and donating Patagonia employee volunteer hours for restoration projects.
"Hands down, Patagonia has been the most supportive and influential company in the development of our organization," said LPFW Executive Director Jeff Kuyper. "As a direct result of Patagonia's support, we've grown into a powerful and effective organization with three full-time staff and a great list of accomplishments for our local forest. We wouldn't be where we are today without their stellar support – our victories are their victories and we count everyone at Patagonia among our closest supporters and friends."
In addition to the three winners, nominees included: Columbia Sportswear; Eastern Mountain Sports; prAna; and The Timberland Company. Each nomination described a story of deep involvement between the company and the grantee. The winners were chosen by The Conservation Alliance Outreach Committee.
"The Outreach Committee had a difficult task before them. Determining the winners of this award was not easy, as each and every nomination was incredibly compelling," said Sterling.
Beginning on Friday, May 10, The Conservation Alliance will profile an Outstanding Partnership story on the Alliance blog (www.conservationalliance.com/blog). The Outstanding Partnership Award is an annual initiative.