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.
2020 Giving Gorilla recipients
I was researching some organizations around the area. I drive by this little community every day to work, called Emerald Village. It looked super cute and then I googled them and realized it is set up by an organization here in Lane County that supports homeless families and persons that are truly looking to turn their life around – SquareOne Villages. Coming from San Antonio, where the homeless population is DEFINITELY smaller than Eugene, has helped me realize there are ways to help the homeless that truly want help. I believe this organization has created an amazing method to not just help, but educate their “tenants” on how to build/flourish in the community.
SquareOne Villages is a non-profit organization creating self-managed communities of cost-effective tiny homes for people in need of housing.
When my sister died of cancer, we set up an enrichment fund for her beloved chimps at the Oakland Zoo. She did so much for animals in her life and I would love to nominate this wonderful program that helps these beautiful animals again this year.
From a conservation standpoint, Oakland Zoo is partnered with Kibale Fuel Wood Project which works to protect the Kibale National Park in Uganda. It has one of the densest populations of chimpanzees. The project assists families in using sustainable stoves to lessen deforestation, plants trees in the community, and does outreach and education. The Oakland Zoo sells “Beads for Chimps,” beads and jewelry made by women living near the Kibale National Park. Oakland Zoo also partners with the Budongo Snare Removal Project, spearheaded by the Jane Goodall Institute to remove bushmeat snares from the forests where chimpanzees live. These snares loop around a limb and as the chimpanzee tries to get free, it tightens. Many chimpanzees, even if they are rescued, are permanently injure or lose a limb from this trauma.
I would like to nominate the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
They are an organization with a top rating of 100% by Charity Navigator and 93% of every dollar goes directly to the program.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation builds mortgage-free smart homes for our most catastrophically injured veterans. Each home is designed to address the unique needs of each individual. Smart homes host a myriad of features such as automated doors and lighting, wider halls and doorways, special showers to accommodate wheelchairs, automatic door openers, cabinets, counters, and stove tops that can be raised and lowered, back-up generators, and central heating and air conditioning systems that can be controlled by tablets. These homes help our most severely injured veterans to reclaim their day-to-day independence.
They also aim to pay off the mortgages of fallen law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty that leave behind young children. The Foundation’s goal is to ensure stability and security to these families facing sudden, tragic loss and provide a mortgage-free home to surviving spouses with young children.
Being in the “home business”, a home is something we often take for granted. Supporting our men and women of service and those that have been left behind and/or severely injured in the line of duty in protecting our freedoms and safety is crucial.
I would like to again nominate Lifting Hands International for the 2020 Giving Gorilla Program. I first nominated them in 2018. This grassroots nonprofit was founded by the sister of a good friend, Hayley Smith, who was moved by the plight of refugees she met while in Jordan and Greece. As we know from the media, and as Hayley has experienced firsthand, the current refugee crisis is acute. With only one paid employee and an army of volunteers, LHI works to help refugees In Jordan, Lebanon and Greece. I would like the Gorilla donation to be directed to their efforts to give refugee families in Jordan milk goats. From the Helmick family experience with goats, this will not only help to feed the family, but provide them with a charming pet companion.
Normally in May we are enjoying Greenhill’s Annual Bark in the Park fundraiser as the Mile Marker Sponsor. But due to the Covid-19 circumstances, the physical event was cancelled. In lieu of that sponsorship, we donated to Greenhill Humane Society as part of our Giving Program.
Greenhill operates solely on donations, gifts and grants. With that money they are able to be advocates for homeless pets and provide them with safe shelter while they are up for adoption. In addition, they educate the community and take necessary steps to end pet overpopulation. We chose to support Greenhill because of our dog friendly office. They offer low cost, or often free, spay and neuter services, educational tours and presentations, safe foster care for animals that are injured or coming out of a domestic violence situation, and many other great services. In addition to being a great resource in our community they are good stewards of their donor dollars. Over 83 cents of every dollar they receive goes towards their programs and services and they are a four-star rated charity on CharityNavigator.org
I would like to nominate the Relief Nursery again for my Giving Gorilla program. This is an amazing program that works to help prevent the cycle of abuse and neglect through early intervention that focuses on building successful and resilient children, strengthening parents, and preserving families.
Relief Nursery is a great community recourse for children and their parents in our community that are high risk for abuse or neglect. Below is the bio to show what they do for the children and parents. They website also has a lot of helpful parenting tools.
Relief Nursery provides a unique array of comprehensive family support services that are easily accessible to low-income parents with children up to six years of age who are at high risk for abuse or neglect. Research clearly shows that assistance in the first few years of a child’s life – before behaviors are indelibly imprinted – has the greatest success in breaking abusive patterns.
Huerto de la Familia (The Family Garden) offers Latino families a place to connect to their roots and the earth by growing their own organic food, as well as education in organic gardening, small scale farming, and small business creation. We build wide-ranging partnerships throughout Lane County in order to achieve our goals of increased health, cultural identity, leadership, and economic security for Latino families.
This local organization is important to me because one of the many disadvantages minorities have is access to high quality, nutrient dense food. By providing a space and teaching organic gardening skills, we can improve the overall health (physically and mentally) of Latinos currently in our community and future generations.
For the 2020 Giving Gorilla program I’d like to nominate: Team Rubicon
Why it’s important to me: I discovered Team Rubicon during the snow storm we had earlier this year. In March 2019, Team Rubicon deployed 26 volunteers to the Mckenzie Bridge area to assist with clearing downed trees, plowing snow, and other tasks to help residents who were trapped in their homes. Team Rubicon is comprised of military veterans, medical professionals and first responders that are highly skilled in responding to natural disasters and are utilized in under-served communities. Team Rubicon provides disaster relief to these communities while giving veterans a chance to continue to serve. Not only have they served in our local community, the organization began after the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and they’ve continued to grow and support economically challenged communities worldwide when it’s needed most.
This year I would like to nominate for my Giving Gorilla Project Drawdown, a non-profit organization and coalition, headquarted in San Francisco, CA and is the world’s leading resource for climate solutions. Their goal is to map, measure, model, and communicate about collective ways we can substantially solve the global warming crisis, with the goal of reaching drawdown. “Drawdown” is the point in time in which the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begin to decline. Its time to start making serious, meaningful changes in the way we live on this earth.
They outline 80 of the most impactful solutions on their website. The top solutions include Refrigerant Management, Wind Turbines (Onshore), Reduced Food Waste, Plant-Rich Diet, Tropical Forests, Educating Girls, Family Planning, Solar Farms, Silvopasture, and Rooftop Solar.
I would like to nominate the Churchill Equestrian Team again this year for my Giving Gorilla nomination. There are multiple reasons for nominating this organization. I believe that equestrian teams are great at building self-esteem, especially given that most equestrian teams are primarily female. I look at all of the strong equestrian people I have met throughout the years (including Ally!) and I have found that people that ride are very successful in life. Another important reason is that the Gorilla co-founder’s daughter is riding with the Churchill equestrian team. We have watched Maddie grow up from a little girl to a young adult. This company exists because of Ben and the vision that Ben and I shared. I make this nomination both for a worthy cause and for a child we have watched grow up.
Oregon High School Equestrian Team (OHSET) is a non-profit organization. It is an extra-curricular activity for high school students. Oregon High School Equestrian Teams is dedicated to promoting and organizing equestrian competition in high school athletic or activity programs. It is their main goal to provide recognition in the high schools of the equestrian athlete and to give them an opportunity to achieve that recognition in a fair, positive and educational format. The goals are to encourage team play, peer acceptance, good horsemanship and to have cooperative adult-supervised leadership for all students in grades 9 through 12. Along with helping students develop lifetime skills, teamwork, and self-discipline.
Gorilla Capital also proudly supports the following programs and events annually in Eugene:
Since its inaugural year in 2007 years ago, we have been proud to be the mile marker sponsor for the Eugene Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k. Look for the big blue mile markers along the race track and the Gorillas handing out water and bananas around mile 8! We are also proud to say that each year we have employees and/or their family running the races.
Since 2019 we have been supporting the Run with the Cops 5k, a fundraising event organized by Law Enforcement Torch Run/the Springfield Police Department and Eugene Springfield Special Olympics. We provide our large flag banners for mile markers as well as sponsor. All proceeds from the event are donated to the Eugene/Springfield Special Olympics. The event is April 5th at the beautiful and historic Dorris Ranch Middle Fork Path.
Since 2015 we have been the Mile Marker sponsor for this fantastic late-fall race. A portion of every race registration will goes to EWEB’s (Eugene Water and Electric Board) Customer Care Program to assist customers who are struggling to pay their utility bills stay warm through the winter months.
This is serious stuff folks. For the last 7 years we have sponsored the reigning champions of the Eugene Women’s Volleyball League, Team Gorilla Capital. The team includes 2 of our employees and as well as the interior designer for our office space! This team was already in place years before Gorilla Capital was the sponsor, and in May this group of women clinched their 9th title in as many years. How long can the streak last? They’re not getting any younger out there…