In 1973 a young man stopped by our offices to make a pitch. He called himself, ambitiously, "Friends of the Ventura River," and his plan was to restore the filthy trickle near our headquarters to its former, wild self. A lone activist with monumental goals, he envisioned fish life, shore birds and untainted riffles in a channel ruined by pollution. He gave us hope. We gave him desk space.
By 1985, we formalized our support of environmental activism by committing 10% of our pre-tax profits to grassroots environmental groups. Later, we changed our pledge to at least 1% of sales or 10% of pre-tax profits – whichever is more. We give at the grassroots level to innovative groups overlooked or rejected by other corporate donors. We fund activists who take radical and strategic steps to protect habitat, wilderness and biodiversity. We have given over $38 million in grants and in-kind donations to more than 1,000 organizations since the program began.