Freeport, Maine - Today L.L.Bean announced year end approval of its Charitable Giving Program that will allocate $1.9 Million in grants to nearly 80 organizations for annual gifts, plus additional funding in small grants to dozens more. The program was approved by the L.L.Bean Board of Directors at their December meeting and represents an increase over last year’s charitable program.
The gifts, ranging from $5,000 to $225,000, will be dispersed to organizations involved in the areas of conservation and recreation, health and human services, education, and culture and the arts. L.L.Bean’s corporate gifts to United Ways in Maine total $547,000; through the generosity of employees an additional $1.1 million was donated to this year’s campaign.
“Encouraging outdoor recreation and conservation is the foundation of our company, and we believe in the value of supporting organizations whose missions align with that heritage,” said Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean’s Chairman of the Board. “In addition to funding outdoor groups, it is essential to support the work of those community entities that serve human needs.”
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.
“L.L.Bean’s mission is to introduce families and youth to healthy outdoor activities,” said Chris McCormick, President and CEO of L.L.Bean. “We also value the work of organizations to improve the quality of life for everyone in the community, and we are fortunate to have so many strong nonprofit partners spearheading these efforts.”
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 2014 Community Grants include long-time L.L.Bean partners with programs focused on youth: Maine Audubon, Teens to Trails, Maine Huts and Trails, and Student Conservation Association. Several organizations promote stewardship and open access to outdoor recreational opportunities: Maine Island Trails Association, Nature Conservancy, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and sporting groups such as Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse Society and Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. New to the program are the Carrabassett Valley New England Mountain Bike Chapter for its work to establish a regional mountain bike center hub for the region, and a collaborative effort between Mollyockett Trout Unlimited and the Maine State Department of Conservation to create handicap accessible fishing access on Sebago Lake near the State Park.
Within the category of health and human services, the primary recipients are United Ways throughout Maine as well as local efforts to support those neighbors in need through Freeport Community Services, the American Red Cross and the Cancer Community Center; in education, through statewide organizations that include the Mitchell Institute, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates and Junior Achievement as well as support for school districts within L.L.Bean communities; in the area of culture and the arts the company donates to the Bangor Folk Festival, Maine State Music Theater and Portland Museum of Art.
Beyond the Charitable Giving Program, the company also continues to provide $200,000 in annual support to the Island Explorer propane bus system in Acadia National Park providing eco-friendly, free transportation to four million visitors to Maine’s national park.