Our business is built around revitalizing communities, and we care deeply about leaving a positive impact. Therefore we wanted to come up with a community philanthropy program to give back to our communities in a way that resonates with our employees. As a result, in 2016, The Giving Gorilla was born.
Each month Gorilla Capital will make a monetary donation to 1-2 charities, organizations, or programs nominated by our employees. We will donate up to $5,000 each calendar year to employee chosen programs. We left the definition of “community” up to the individual employees to interpret for themselves; they may consider their community to be the world, the nation, the state, or their local neighborhood. To date we have supported over 60 deserving organizations through The Giving Gorilla program.
2022 Giving Gorilla recipients
I would like to nominate the 15/10 Foundation for the Giving Gorilla this year. This charity was founded by Matt Nelson, the creator of the WeRateDogs Twitter and Instagram accounts. Through these two social media outlets, they raise money each week to help families pay for their dogs’ medical bills. After adopting a senior dog with medical and behavioral issues, Matt saw a void in the animal welfare world. No other charity was devoted to sponsoring shelter dogs with behavioral or medical issues that would otherwise make it unlikely for them to be adopted. So he started the 15/10 Foundation, named for the highest rating any dog has ever received on WeRateDogs. Although a relatively new organization, they have already successfully had 15 dogs adopted and are sponsoring 3 more. If you want to have your heartstrings tugged – go to their website and read the stories of the dogs they are saving.
I’d like to nominate Brave Beginnings, an organization that provides funding to NICUs across the nation. The funds are to ensure the NICUs are better able to equip their facilities with lifesaving equipment critical to the first hour of life (known as the “golden hour”). 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely in the United States. Sacred Heart at Riverbend is a former recipient of their grants and has one of the best NICUs in the country (so I’ve heard). I am forever grateful to organizations like Brave Beginnings for giving to our local hospital so that my two children had the best care possible during their NICU stays – one in 2018 and one in 2021.
I would like to nominate Springfield Young Readers for my Giving Gorilla recipient this year. Springfield Young Readers (SYR) is a project of The Dolly Parton Imagination Library – a program that gives books to children in the community from birth to 5 years old, no matter the family’s income. Each month a child enrolled in the program gets a free age-appropriate book, free of charge! This program bring books into the homes of young children, inspires a life-long love of reading, fosters critical strong early literacy skills, and nurtures positive family interactions. The imagination Library began in 1995 and has been in Springfield since 2018. Of course, a providing a program like this does cost money, and the project must secure a certain percentage of the operating costs in order to be a part of the Imagination Library program, and must raise $1.25 for every book delivered to continue the program ($25 per year per child in the program). I would love that this program continues in my community long after my children age out of it.
I would like to donate to Circle of Friends, a Eugene non profit. Circle of Friends School is a female-founded 501(c)(3) in Eugene, Oregon serving youth with complex needs and those who love them. Every person has value.
Youth with severe impairments and challenges are just like anyone else – they deserve opportunities. Through resources, support, training, and a community built on compassion, Circle of Friends is here to break the cycle of isolation for these individuals and the people who love them. They are building a community that is founded on inclusion and opportunities.
They currently host events as a gathering place for children, youth, and their families to break the cycle of isolation and provide essential support to those on this unique journey. Through respite care events, day camps, summer programming, and family-friendly events, Circle of Friends is building up natural supports and friendships that will keep our families strong.
Circle of Friends is working towards creating an alternative educational placement that provides year-round programming to youth grades Pre-K to 8th, Circle of Friends will provide appropriate support and individualized learning opportunities that maximize youth participation, amplify youth voices, expands mobility, and fosters independence in a supported community of professionals, volunteers, and parents.
I want to nominate Food for Lane County. 92% of all donations go directly to hunger relief in Lane County. I feel with the economy/grocery prices right now this is a great way to help our local community. FOOD For Lane County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit food bank founded in 1984 and dedicated to reducing hunger by engaging our community to create access to food. We accomplish this by soliciting, collecting, rescuing, growing, preparing and packaging food for distribution through a network of 170 social service agencies and programs; through public awareness, education and community advocacy; and through programs designed to improve the ability of low-income individuals to maintain an adequate supply of wholesome, nutritious food. These programs include emergency food boxes, shelters, meal sites, rehabilitation facilities, nutrition education, gleaning and community gardens. We serve a diverse population of people living on limited incomes including children, families, seniors and single adults.
I would like to nominate Brightside Animal Center in Redmond, Oregon for my Giving Gorilla this year. They help our local animals while providing a good resource for repurposing items left behind in our distressed home purchases. I always donate furniture and clothing to shelters and Goodwill. BrightSide is a high-save shelter dedicated to providing sheltering, placement and prevention services to reduce animal homelessness and unnecessary euthanasia. They have one of the highest save rates in the country at 95%. Part of the reason for their success is they have dedicated counselors who interview the person wanting to adopt an animal. Once they understand their lifestyle, BrightSide provides the adoption applicant a list of pets that would be best suited for them (instead of allowing them to adopt a pet that may not be a good fit, and thus increasing the chances that pet gets returned to a shelter).
I would like to nominate the Wounded Warrior Project for my Giving Gorilla organization in 2022. Veterans are often a forgotten class of our society that have fought for our freedoms, protect our people in times of war or during threat, and help continue our rights afforded to us by our constitution in the greatest country on earth.
Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) began in 2003 as a small, grassroots effort providing simple care and comfort items to the hospital bedsides of the first wounded service members returning home from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. As their post-service needs evolved, so have their programs and services. Today, through direct programs in mental health, career counseling, and long-term rehabilitative care, along with advocacy efforts, they improve the lives of millions of warriors and their families.
I’d like to nominate the Springfield Ronald McDonald House at PeaceHealth; a charity that provides services to families with children that are ill or injured in the hospital. The program offers a little bit of hope, and relief, for families having to endure the stress and trauma of caring for sick little ones.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon & SW Washington provides access to medical care, a home away from home, and a community of support for seriously ill or injured children and their families. At our four Oregon Ronald McDonald Houses we are always ready to care for families traveling to receive the lifesaving and life-changing medical care their child needs. We are honored to care for these seriously ill or injured children and their families all across Oregon and to provide a home away from home – all at no cost to them. Our Houses are built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child — not where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night.