Our business is built around revitalizing communities, and we care deeply about leaving a positive impact. We wanted to come up with a program to give back to our communities in a way that resonates with our employees. Thus, 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 this calendar year to employee chosen programs. We left the definition of “community” up to the individual employees to interpret for themselves, as they may consider their community to be the world, the nation, the state, or their local neighborhood.
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 to this wonderful program that helps these beautiful animals.
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 Downtown Languages for the Giving Gorilla program again this year. This nonprofit program strives to assist our immigrant population with language, literacy, computer and civics education. They do this at a nominal cost to the students. Our own daughter-in-law attended the language classes while her Air Force husband was deployed overseas. In addition to benefiting from the classes, she met other individuals who were new to the United States. This common bond has resulted in close friendships that she maintains even when not in Eugene.
The students of Downtown Languages (DTL) is multicultural. In any given session over 10 nationalities may be represented. Age ranges from 3 months of age to 75 years old, with a mix of male and female students.
I would like to nominate One Mission, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that brings a little joy to kids during their fights with cancer. This is no ordinary donation, though! Gorilla Capital will be sponsoring me to shave my head in solidarity with those who have no choice but to lose their hair from treatment. This event is called a “Buzz Off”. Here is a link to my personal page for the head shaving
One Mission uses donations for decorating hospital rooms, financial relief programs such as paying for hospital parking, and holding birthday or holiday parties for the patients and their families. They provide art and music therapy, offer stress management programs like caregiver relaxation or yoga for kids, and do simple things too like just a movie night with popcorn. It’s so important to take care of those fighting the fight, to bring smiles and brighten spirits during such a challenging time. I believe this organization has already, and can still, make a huge difference.
The hair will be donated to Wigs for Kids. The wigs they make are given at no charge to the recipient, and for kids fighting all kinds of illnesses – cancer, alopecia, burns, etc.
I would like to nominate International Animal Rescue to support this year with the Giving Gorilla program. IAR works to protect many animal species, including the orangutan. Humans share 97% of our DNA with these gentle creatures, and they are losing habit faster than you can imagine. The species is critically endangered, and could go extinct in less than a decade. They specialize in rescuing young orangutans that have been captured from the wild and sold as pets, are being kept illegally, or have been orphaned due to habitat loss. The baby orphans go live at IAR’s Orangutan Rescue Center where there is a three-year long orangutan school where they can learn to be wild again. Baby orangutans are much like human babies, where they are entirely dependent on their mothers for everything until they are 2 years old.
Another reason I really like the IAR is they also actively work on landscape conservation. The biggest threat to the orangutans is loss of habitat due to palm oil harvest. Palm oil harvest is one of the most unsustainable industries in the world and is causing mass deforestation all over the world, not just in Indonesia and Malaysia. Land is cleared to make room for palm oil plantations. Aside from donating money or becoming actively involved in this plight, the next best step (in my humble opinion) to making an impact is in the way we consume palm oil products. Next time you buy one of the following, take a moment to read the ingredients on the back to see if “palm oil” or one of the other names for palm oil is listed:
- peanut butter and nutella
- vegan cheese
- soap, shampoo, lipstick, detergent
- ice cream
- pizza bases
- instant noodles
- chocolate and cookies
Ingerdients: Palm Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein
You can see a full list of alternative names for palm oil here: https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/which-everyday-products-contain-palm-oil#
I would like to nominate Head Start of Lane County for my Giving Gorilla recipient this year. This program is in desperate need of donations and I specifically want to support their Family Services program. For example, they have employees who do home visits to assess the families and their needs. Some families need just as little as a heater or a baby gate, so our donation would do a lot of good. Also, on the giving trees that they put out for Christmas, the names that don’t get picked for gifts, those kids just go without. We are lucky our children have so much, and I appreciate Gorilla giving me the opportunity to do more to support other children.
Head Start promotes school readiness for children ages 0-5 by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services. This program is specifically for families who have a foster child, TANF benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), experiencing a housing hardship, or the family’s income is under the federal poverty line (FPL).
I would like to nominate Pearl Buck Center. Pearl Buck Center, a non-profit headquartered in Eugene, offers people with various abilities and their families quality choices and support to achieve their goals. They have several programs that they offer within our community such as: preschool, adult day services, production facilities, supported living, and community employment. Its a tough decision to decide which program to support within Pearl Buck Center, but I’m choosing the Preschool/Parent Support Services program. Because these kids don’t qualify for any government assistance because they don’t have disability technically. But they are at a huge disadvantage because their parents aren’t able to adequately teach them life skills.
Preschool: When adults with developmental disabilities have children, they often have children with normal abilities, however the parent is not able to provide the intellectual stimulation the child needs from ages 0-5 and the child can be severely behind in abilities when entering kindergarten. Since the child is labeled “normal” by the government, the child does not qualify for any support. This is where Pearl Buck Center comes in and provides intellectual stimulating environment from ages 1-5 for free to the parents. This significantly improves the child’s chances of not getting left behind when they enter kindergarten.
Adult Day Services: The Life Enhancing Activites Program (LEAP) aims to broaden creativity, stimulate intellect and to promote healthy living through a variety of small group activities. The program includes community integration to build social skills and to encourage participation in the community. Our staff has extensive experience with a wide range of disabilities and strives to bring out each individual’s potential.
- Arts and crafts
- Music and dance
- Enjoying movies
- Reading and story-telling
- Cooking club
- Recreation and games
- Community outings, including visiting local businesses and parks
Supported Living: This program aims to help build a healthy and safe lifestyle through regular visits by our staff. Depending on each person’s preferences and needs, we help to build skills needed to successfully thrive in the community independently.
- Securing an apartment or home
- Household cleaning and maintenance
- Meal planning and preparation
- Grocery shopping
- Doctor visits
- Medication management
- Money management
- Activities and outings
Community Employment: Pearl Buck partner’s with local businesses to help find jobs in the local community for adults of various abilities. Pearl Buck will assist in the training of the employee and provide guidance to the employer as to what type of job will work best for both the client and the adult. Pearl Buck also helps it’s participating adults with building their resume and enhancing their interview skills.
Production Services: Pearl Buck partners with various local outstanding businesses, such as Mountain Rose Herbs, Glory Bee Foods, and Red Ape Cinnamon, to provide manufacturing services for these businesses. Pearl Buck has a full onsite manufacturing floor and has several clean rooms where they can properly handle food. They find ways that work for their employees to fill product, put labels on containers, package and ship product for the business partners. They also have new computer design and laser etching equipment so they can produce awards, plaques, name tags, name plates, etc for businesses throughout the state.
I would like to nominate the Churchill Equestrian Team for a 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 you!) 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.
I would like to nominate the Triangle Lake Robotics team for 2019’s Giving Gorilla program. They were also recipients of a 2018 Giving Gorilla sponsorship. Their 2019 program just started and they are busy designing and building their robot(s) 6-7 days a week. Following the announcement of the tasks, they are given 6 weeks to build at least one, but hopefully two robots that can perform the tasks outlined in the challenge. One robot will be the competition robot that cannot be touched after 6 weeks, while the other is a practice robot to train the team members on driving and maneuvering the bot. Each team is given equal budget constraints and timeline for their robot to keep things fair. The team is tasked with building a robot to achieve different tasks from year to year. Their program resonates with me because they’re constantly forced to challenge the status quo and innovate year after year to excel in their matches with a very short timeline and strict deadline. All of those skills are great to develop before entering the “real world”. As a small school graduate, I sympathize with clubs and teams struggling to earn enough
Gorilla Capital also proudly supports the following programs and events annually in Eugene:
Since its inaugural year 10 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.
This is serious stuff folks. For the last 5 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! In May this group of women clinched their 6th title in as many years. How long can the streak last? They’re not getting any younger out there…