L.L.Bean announced year end approval of its charitable giving program that will allocate $2 million in grants to more than 70 organizations for annual gifts, plus additional funding in smaller grants to dozens more. At its December meeting, the L.L.Bean board of directors approved gifts ranging from $5,000 to $412,000, that will be dispersed to organizations involved in the areas of conservation, outdoor recreation, health and human services, education, and culture and the arts.
“As a values-based, family-owned company, it is important for us to support organizations that work so hard to strengthen our communities and provide access to the outdoors,” said Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean’s executive chairman of the board. “In addition to our customers, employees, shareholders and vendors, our communities and the environment are our major stakeholders; we are dedicated to providing the necessary resources to positively impact the lives of our neighbors, friends and protect the outdoors.”
For decades L.L.Bean has supported the community through its Charitable Giving Program, and in just the last 10 years has provided close to $30 million in funding to nonprofit organizations.
“I am proud of our company’s commitment to support organizations that embody many of the values and traditions of L.L.Bean—integrity, service, respect, healthy living and a passion for the outdoors,” said Stephen Smith, president, and CEO of L.L.Bean. “We’re lucky to have so many groups working to encourage a healthy outdoor lifestyle, preserve our precious natural resources, and focus on the various needs in our communities.”
In the area of conservation and recreation, the focus of the program is engaging young people in healthy outdoor activities and ensuring access to recreational opportunities for all. Recipients of the 2017 community grants included L.L.Bean partners with programs focused on youth: Appalachian Mountain Club, American Hiking Society, Maine Audubon, Teens to Trails, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and the Student Conservation Association. Several organizations promoted stewardship and open access to outdoor recreational opportunities: American Canoe Association, Maine Island Trails Association, Nature Conservancy, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and sporting groups such as Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation and Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
Within the category of health and human services, the primary recipients are United Way chapters throughout Maine and wherever the company has a retail presence. L.L.Bean’s corporate gifts to United Way chapters in Maine totaled nearly $600,000. Through the extraordinary generosity of employees, an additional $1.1 million was donated to this year’s campaign. Additionally, donations were made to support local neighbors in need through Freeport Community Services, the American Red Cross, and the Cancer Community Center. In the realm of education, support of statewide organizations included the Mitchell Institute, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates and Junior Achievement as well as support for school districts within L.L.Bean communities. Donations to culture and the arts included the American Folk Festival in Bangor, Portland Stage, and the Maine State Music Theater. Further donations included a $100,000 contribution to the Red Cross to assist with recovery efforts following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Most recently, due to the extreme cold weather, a donation of coats, hats, socks, gloves and more was made to various homeless shelters throughout Maine.
In addition to donations made through the Charitable Giving Program, the company extended its annual support to the Island Explorer propane bus system in Acadia National Park. The company pledged an additional $1 million over the next five years to help provide eco-friendly, free transportation to over three million visitors to Maine’s national park.
Photo courtesy L.L.Bean