I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I never wanted to succeed alone and I never wanted to succeed while the community supporting my success languished. When I started Maroon Bell Outdoor I wrote two things into my business plan: first we would be a for profit company and second we would support a small number of non-profits doing work in areas we truly believed in. I decided to give 3% of top line sales back to four non-profits and then as time went on become involved in their initiatives, essentially creating a bonded partnership. A lot of folks told me not to tie myself to a percentage and more told me to switch organizations once a month and move the funds around. While I appreciated the advice, which is sound business direction, I disagreed for a couple of reasons; first, I knew if I built a stated giveaway percentage (3%) into the foundation of the company then it would always be knit into the fabric of our mission, forever. I also wanted the 3% to be seen as a fixed expense, something we will pay no matter what happens. I never wanted my promise to hinge on our own economic booms or storms. The goal is to stand with our non-profits in any environment.
Secondly, sporadically swapping one non-profit for another was not in line with my vision for supporting the long-term viability of the institutions. I wanted to make a lasting mark and material change in the organizations I partnered with. My goal is to see these operations grow with Maroon Bell Outdoor and when we are a fortune 500 company have these organizations right there with us.
The individuals running these local programs, CC Edwards (Denver Police Brother Hood), Ford Church (Cottonwood Institute) and Frank Anhelo (Project Worthmore) decided a long time ago that they would dedicate their lives to helping the people in our communities and our world achieve their own greatest potential. Because of that we will support them, forever.
In addition to these three local non-profits I also partnered with Protect Our Winters, which is a national organization, fighting in DC for legislation tied to climate change and our environment. We are a 1% for the planet member and we work closely with Mile High Workshop in Aurora to handle a large percentage of our supply chain-manufacturing cut and sew activities. Mile High Workshop has a 90-day program helping folks who are coming out of homelessness, incarceration and addiction to learn a trade, cut and sew.
The overarching theme I have adopted into my life over the last 10 years is the idea that we all have an infinite number of decisions to make each day, but when the day starts we all have to make the same decision; today, am I going to fight for myself? This decision looks different for everyone and sometimes it simply means getting out of bed in the morning. The point is, when you choose to fight for yourself, no matter the circumstances you take control of your destiny. My non-profit partners are dedicating their lives, in different areas, all over our community, to showing folks that no matter where they are in the world, no matter the circumstances, if they are willing to fight for themselves, the non-profits will fight with them. Maroon Bell Outdoor has joined that fight and together, like ships in a harbor we will all rise together.
Over the next month I will be spotlighting each of our four non-profits in this blog, so check back and read about the amazing work these groups are doing to change the game. You can also read a synopsis of the non-profits on our website at www. MaroonBell.Com.