Category Archives: Non-profits

US National Parks Affected by Obama Administration’s Budget Cuts; Social Media Supporting Cause

According to the National Parks Conservation Association, every $1 invested in National Parks means $4 for the US economy. But the nonpartisan group said that the Obama Administration’s 2011 budget request for national parks will “barely cover costs to pay the bills, let alone restore the operational needs to serve park visitors and protect America’s wildlife and heritage for their second century.” That means not only are parks at risk, but economies that depend on them as well.

Here at Under Solen, we’re avid media consumers, and that includes newspapers, but often, some of news topics we find most interesting come to us via social networks, which is exactly how we were alerted to this budget shortfall.

Here were some of NPCA’s top retweeted posts.

Americans are visiting #nationalparks at rate not seen in years, stimulating local economies http://bit.ly/dzoXF1

Every $1 invested in #nationalparks means $4 for the US economy. Ask Congress to fund them http://bit.ly/dzoXF1

current budget reduces or eliminates nearly $100 million in #nationalparks programs http://bit.ly/am1T0C

The NPCA is calling on President Obama to to keep his campaign commitment to restoring national parks, and to raise awareness about the budget shortfall, capitalizing on its social networks and spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and beyond.

“We’re using social media to spread the word as quickly as possible with our community that the President’s budget request does not reflect his campaign promise to address the national parks’ funding shortfall. National parks mean green jobs and bring real revenue to local economies. We believe there has never been a better opportunity for Congress to invest in our parks and our people than now. Our goal is to create a groundswell of support to convince our leaders to invest in the national parks. Using the internet as part of a comprehensive strategy, we can reach more people faster than ever before,” said NPCA Media Relations Manager Lindsay Bartsh.

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Filed under Non-profits, Outdoors, Social Media, video

A Big Company Doing Something GOOD: Pepsi Refresh Project

Big corporations have the power to do big things, and Pepsi is the latest company to create an initiative that appears to be focused less on advertising and more on positive change. Teaming up with GOOD Magazine, on Monday, Pepsi launched the Pepsi Refresh Project, a grant program that will allot at least $20 million through the end of the year for donations to individuals, businesses and nonprofits working with everything from health to arts and culture to the environment.

Pepsi accepts 1000 new ideas for grants every month. Visitors to the refresheverything.com site can vote daily on which ideas they think are best. There’s a lot up for grabs; grants will be made in $5,000 to $250,000 bundles. Anyone that has an idea that just might change the world, it looks like this project just might be what you were looking for.

In the past branding might have been about getting people to put a Pepsi in their hand and recommend it to their friends, but now it’s about engaging communities to raise awareness about great causes. Pepsi will be using the power of social media to spread the word. In fact, Pepsi has partnered with some of the biggest names in the online industry to promote the project including Hulu, AOL and MTV.

Some may question the intentions of a major brand like Pepsi, but the people at GOOD are convinced that the initiative a positive thing. “That a major brand like Pepsi is taking a stand and saying that purpose and progress are core to its identity is critical,” said GOOD Founder and CEO, Ben Goldhirsh in a recent blog post. The New York Times calls that cause-related marketing or pro-social marketing, “by which corporations seek to back up their talk about benefiting society.”

As for the social media side of things, this initiative emphasizes the increased role that consumers are having in today’s branding and advertising campaigns. In fact, they’re no longer just consumers, but an active and engaged audience that can turn a simple campaign into a movement.

Go take a look at some of the many projects that have been submitted for grants… there’s some REALLY good stuff in there — a multimedia Afghan photo exhibit, an interactive website to learn about human trafficking, a cross country bike trip to build affordable housing, and beyond! — which gives us great hope that although this is certainly getting Pepsi a lot of good PR, it’s about something bigger and better.

What do you think? Is the Pepsi Refresh Project a vehicle for positive change or just another advertising campaign?

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Filed under contest, Impact, Non-profits, Social Media

Businesses Step Up To Help Haiti

Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps

An earthquake, registering 7.0 on the Richter Scale, rocked the island of Haiti last week. Within 24 hours of the disaster, aid organizations, individuals and businesses responded in full force. And now, a week later, the outpouring of support isn’t waning. With more than $2.5 million donated via text message to relief organizations working in Haiti, social media networks have been abuzz with news and action alerts, so we compiled a list of several businesses in our community that have stepped it up to help Haiti.

Mountain Hardwear is organizing a collection drive for tents and sleeping bags (or money to purchase the same and help with shipping) to aid the tens of thousands of displaced and injured people in Haiti. Along with clean water, food and medical supplies, temporary shelter is desperately needed. Used tents as long as they are functional, and lightweight sleeping bags are fine and of course new tents and sleeping bags from any of our outdoor industry friends would be ideal.

Oregon Wineries are donating, putting on special events to raise money and helping to spread the word via their social media channels.

ExOfficio employees sorted through customer returns, overstock and unsold inventory to supply World Concern with clothing for earthquake victims. Altogether, ExOfficio donated nine pallets or an estimated $429,000 worth of product. Four pallets will be immediately shipped to Haiti, along with food, water, and medical supplies.

Klean Kanteen donated 4,500 water bottles to be used at water treatment and desalination sites.

The Lizard Lounge in Portland, Ore. donated 10% of all profits from their January sale over the weekend to MercyCorps to help with relief efforts.

Portland Pedal Power, a company dedicated to human powered transportation of products in downtown Portland, donated all of their tips in the days following the quake to MercyCorps’ relief efforts.

This incredible response in a time of crisis is humbling, and needed. But remember, many countries like Haiti need our support on a regular basis, so let this week be your jumping off point to lead a more mindful life and give when you can to those who need it.

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Filed under Impact, Lifestyle, Non-profits, Things we like

Friday Faves: Protecting Wild Places and Helping Haiti

James Balog of the Extreme Ice Survey will speak next Friday at The Conservation Alliance's breakfast in Salt Lake City. The Extreme Ice Survey is the most wide-ranging glacier study ever conducted using ground-based, real-time photography.

This week at Under Solen, we’ve been gearing up for next week’s Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City. While all of our heads will be swimming with meetings, happy hours and gear, we’re hoping to keep our eye on the the thread that holds all of this together — protecting those incredible wild places that keep our industry alive and kicking.

So, we thought we’d give a shout-out to a couple great groups that are walking the walk this week.

The Conservation Alliance


Since thier founding in 1989, the Conservation Alliance has contributed more than $7 million to conservation projects throughout North America — protecting more than 49 million acres of land, stop or remove 27 dams, and preserve access to thousands of miles of rivers and several climbing areas. The Alliance is a group of outdoor industry companies that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations to protect threatened wild habitat, preferably where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. The Alliance was founded in 1989 by industry leaders REI, Patagonia, The North Face, and Kelty, who shared the goal of increasing outdoor industry support for conservation efforts.

Mark your calendars for their awesome breakfast at 7a.m. on Friday at the Marriot. We know it’s early, but this will give you the inspiration you need to get revved up for a day at the show. Look forward to founder and director of The Extreme Ice Survey, James Balog to give a stunning look at the impact abrupt climate change is having on the world’s glaciers.

And make sure to stop by participating booths to support the Alliance! Whether you’re looking for some wild inspiration, a rockin’ party or some sweet gear that benefits a great cause – they have packed line-up.

The Epicocity Project and iLCP Flathead RAVE

Grizzly bear captured on film by iLCP photographer Joe Riis ©iLCP Flathead RAVE

The Epicocity Project’s thought-provoking new film — Flathead Wild — will premiere at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Nevada Theater in Nevada City, Calif. Saturday, Jan. 16 before going on tour.

Proposed mountaintop removal mining in southeastern British Columbia, Canada is threatening one of America’s most endangered rivers and one of North America’s wildest remaining valley — The Flathead. Flathead Wild follows the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) as they descend on the Flathead River Valley, along with local conservation groups, to take breathtaking and iconic images of the threatened ecosystem. These images then act as tools for the Flathead coalition to help tip the scales in favor of protection and conservation.

Flathead Wild is also now available online. Help Epicocity spread the word by linking to the film on your blog, Facebook and Twitter and send it to your friends and family!

Helping Haiti

And we wanted to once again highlight how we can help folks in Haiti. Earlier this week, an earthquake registering 7.0 on the Richter scale hit Haiti. Centered just outside of the populated capital, Port-au-Prince, the quake’s effects have been devastating. Within less than 24 hours the outpouring of international support has been impressive.

So how can you take part? Here’s just a small collection of what’s out there.

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Filed under Adventure, climate change, Friday Faves, Impact, Non-profits, Outdoors, Rivers

Epicocity Project’s New Film — Flathead WILD — Premiering At Wild & Scenic

The Epicocity Project’s awesome new film — Flathead Wild — will premiere at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Nevada Theater in Nevada City, Calif. Saturday, Jan. 16.

Proposed mountaintop removal mining in southeastern British Columbia, Canada is threatening one of America’s most endangered rivers and one of North America’s wildest remaining valley — The Flathead. Flathead Wild follows the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) as they descend on the Flathead River Valley, along with local conservation groups, to take breathtaking and iconic images of the threatened ecosystem. These images then act as tools for the Flathead coalition to help tip the scales in favor of protection and conservation.

Flathead Wild is also now available online. Help Epicocity spread the word by linking to the film on your blog, Facebook and Twitter and send it to your friends and family!

© Joe Riis, iLCP Flathead RAVE

“Change is inevitable, but we have the opportunity here to protect an irreplaceable wildland and natural resource. If we let the Flathead fall to mining pressures — we will never be able to bring it back,” said Ryland Nelson, the Southern Rockies program coordinator of Wildsight. “With a free-flowing, pristine river and the highest concentration of inland grizzlies in North America, the Flathead Valley is one of the most biologically important places on earth — we have to act now for our environment, wildlife and present and future generations.”

© Christina Mittermeier, iLCP Flathead RAVE
It’s up to us to save this wild place. We have to act now — not tomorrow, or a year from now — we have to take action now. Please pass this video on to your friends, family, everyone! Here’s the link: http://www.vimeo.com/7775085. Write a blog about it, post it on Facebook and Twitter. We can do it! Let’s save the Flathead!

PHOTOS © iLCP Flathead RAVE

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Filed under Adventure, Impact, Non-profits, Outdoors, Rivers

Winter Trails This Weekend: Learn How to Snowshoe/XC Ski

If you don’t have plans for this weekend yet, take a moment to check out Winter Trails. The initiative, founded by partners American Hiking Society and Snowsports Industries America, was created to offer children and adults new to snow sports the chance to try snowshoeing and cross country skiing for free. We’re all for getting more people out on wintry, white trails!

It all takes place on Saturday January 9, 2010; if you want to take part you can find an event near you by going to the Winter Trails website.

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Filed under Events, Non-profits, Outdoors

Passports With Purpose: Building a School in Cambodia

It’s always inspiring to take part in a powerful movement. I was blown away in the last month and a half by the amount of response to Passports With Purpose, the online fundraising campaign powered by travel bloggers. With an original goal of $13,000, PWP surpassed expectations and raised over $26,000, allowing them not only to build a school in rural Cambodia with American Assistance for Cambodia, but also providing students with a school nurse, clean water, school supplies and at least one complete meal per day.

A big congrats goes out to Peter Carey who scored come good looking Horny Toad jackets.

Here’s to another successful PWP next year!

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