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.