LL Bean sharpens focus on outdoor philanthropy
FREEPORT, Maine (AP) — L.L. Bean’s renewed focus on the outdoor fun proclaimed in its “Be An Outsider” campaign is being reflected in the retailer’s corporate giving.
The Maine-based retailer is doubling its charitable giving to $4 million and channeling the new gifts to outdoors-oriented nonprofits, part of a trend of companies sharpening their philanthropic focus at a time when corporate responsibility is high on the minds of consumers.
“Our mission statement is selling goods and services that enable people to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. If there is no outdoors, then you don’t have a great business model,” L.L. Bean Chairman Shawn Gorman, great-grandson of the founder, told The Associated Press.
Nationwide companies are sharpening their philanthropic focus at a time when more consumers are concerned about corporate social responsibility.
L.L. Bean has donated more than $30 million over the past 10 years without much fanfare, but the company is ready to be more public about it. “This next generation, my kids’ generation, they want to know that they’re doing business with a company that’s doing good,” Gorman said.
The board voted last month to allocate $2.8 million to the newly created L.L. Bean Outdoor Access Fund. That includes a commitment of $3 million over three years to National Park Foundation, $1 million to The Trust for Public Land, and smaller donations.
The remainder, $1.2 million, is allocated to the company’s traditional Community Fund, most of which goes to Maine nonprofits.