While the company has from its start dedicated 1 percent of annual profits to help address poverty and build community development programs, and subjects itself to a set of rigorous social and environmental standards as a Certified B Corp., the new program formalizes partnerships and programs supported by the company's revenue contributions.
Cotopaxi co-founder and CEO Davis Smith said the new effort represents an elevation of the company's work to make a positive impact on the broader world.
"When we launched Cotopaxi five years ago, it was our dream to build a brand that would inspire adventure and move people to do good,” Smith said in a statement. “Launching our own foundation will allow us to take an even greater stand in championing the causes at the core of our mission.
"At this stage of our maturity, Cotopaxi is thrilled to take this next step toward doing its part to equalize opportunity and build complete communities.”
According to a Cotopaxi press release, the company will give a portion of its revenue to the foundation to support initiatives and humanitarian partners such as the International Rescue Committee, United Nations Foundation and Escuela Nueva, which provide health, education and financial assistance in Latin America and the U.S. The foundation will also launch its own programs and events through the Cotopaxi Questival adventure race series to facilitate social innovation challenges and large-scale volunteering.
In an interview last year with the Deseret News, Davis highlighted that experiences from his childhood, including spending time in Latin America and seeing firsthand what poverty and struggle looks like, illuminated his path forward.
"I grew up loving the outdoors but also had a deep passion and empathy for people," Smith said. "I saw over and over again, my entire childhood, how lucky I was. The people I saw every day were just as smart as me, just as hardworking and just as ambitious, but had no opportunity. From that time, I knew I wanted to play a role in changing things for the better."
Besides being a champion for the causes it supports, the company is also building a global reputation and customer base for thoughtfully designed and constructed outdoor gear, including clothing, backpacks, bags, tents and more.
Cotopaxi co-founder, oresident and Chief Operating Officer Stephan Jacob told the Deseret News last year that there have been easier, cheaper directions to take at nearly every juncture of building Cotopaxi's products and market reach, but the company has stuck to the harder path which as it turns out may also prove to be the most sustainable and successful option.
"It's a commitment we've made as a brand … doing good is intrinsic, inseparable," Jacob said. "We've shown that you can build a sustainable, profitable, at-scale business that still does things the right way and you don't have to compromise."