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Patagonia's colossal feat

Megan Hernbroth
Sep 15, 2022
Yvon Chouinard rock climbs in a black and white photo
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard in Telluride, CO, 1981. Photo: The Denver Post via Getty Images

Yvon Chouinard's move to sell his family's stake in Patagonia — estimated at $3 billion — to a controlled trust and nonprofit could remake the climate philanthropy space for decades.

Why it matters: Holdfast Collective, the resulting nonprofit, could easily become one of the biggest, most active philanthropic organizations combating climate change.

Context: Chouinard is an active environmental advocate and has used Patagonia's reach to push causes he cares about, such as protesting the reduction of Bears Ears National Monument.

Details: Patagonia is now wholly owned by the Patagonia Purpose Trust and the newly formed Holdfast Collective, with 100% of voting shares held in the trust and all remaining non-voting shares going to Holdfast.

  • Roughly $100 million in revenue is expected to go to Holdfast annually.

Zoom out: Though it's not clear which strategies Holdfast will pursue, looking at Chouinard's past activism through grassroots organizations could provide a route for Holdfast to follow.

  • Expect Holdfast to look for groups fighting for land conservation measures and environmental justice initiatives over flashy climate tech areas like carbon capture. Most of the money will likely go toward other nonprofits rather than for-profit entities.

The bottom line: Chouinard is putting his money, his legacy and his company where his mouth is.

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