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“Profits from Patagonia Are Funding Conservation — and Politics”

Patagonia, the outdoor apparel brand renowned for its environmental advocacy, is making headlines once again for its philanthropic endeavors. Following a major restructuring in 2022, the company has committed all its profits to environmental protection and combating climate change, with over $71 million distributed to various causes as of September 2022.

Under the guidance of founder Yvon Chouinard and his family, Patagonia has established a sophisticated network of trusts and organizations to ensure that its profits are solely dedicated to these causes. Through the Holdfast Collective, Patagonia has been funneling funds to initiatives ranging from conservation projects to voter registration drives.

The Holdfast Collective operates several nonprofit groups, including Holdfast Trust, Chalten Trust, Sojourner Trust, Wilder Trust, and Tail Wind Trust. These entities hold the majority of Patagonia’s nonvoting shares, valued at $1.7 billion, and oversee the distribution of the company’s profits.

Despite its substantial contributions, the Holdfast Collective has largely flown under the radar, with limited public awareness of its activities. Greg Curtis, the sole full-time employee, manages the allocation of funds, with input from the Chouinard family.

While the Holdfast Collective has made significant donations to conservation efforts, its political contributions have drawn scrutiny. During recent election cycles, the group supported several Democratic-leaning political action committees, prompting questions about its political affiliations.

Critics, particularly conservatives, have raised concerns about the Holdfast Collective’s political involvement, alleging partisan bias and labeling it as a “political organization in waiting.” However, Mr. Curtis maintains that the group’s primary focus is advancing environmental policy, irrespective of party lines.

Despite the scrutiny, the Holdfast Collective remains steadfast in its commitment to using Patagonia’s profits for environmental and political causes. Its early contributions have already made a tangible impact, supporting conservation initiatives and political campaigns aligned with its objectives.

Overall, Patagonia’s philanthropic efforts reflect its founder’s dedication to environmental stewardship and ethical business practices. By directing its profits towards meaningful causes, the company is setting a precedent for corporate philanthropy and activism.

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