We’re often reminded to invest in our retirement, to put away money for that rainy day, to take it out of our paychecks on a regular basis. A little here and there adds up—but how often do we invest in the world we want to live in?
Meet Keith Fitzpatrick, a man who loves where he lives, and who chooses to make a small investment every day in the future of the Upper Delaware River region—an investment that adds up to a significant sum at the end of the year.
“We moved back here because we wanted our kids to grow up the way we grew up,” Keith, owner of Hillside Woodworks and a board member for the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, explains.
Keith and his wife Betsy had moved to Washington, DC for work, but in 2006, they returned to the Upper Delaware River region, fondly remembering their childhoods spent growing up in small towns, spending time outdoors and on the river as much as possible.
Keith soon started his own custom carpentry business, and, and concerned about the poorly planned development he was seeing, began donating 1% of his annual revenue to the Conservancy. “I think it’s important to give back to the community I live in—and certain areas are just gone. They’re just parking lots. When I was young, it was all trees,” Keith explains. “I feel like it’s important to protect what’s left before it’s all parking lots.”
He was drawn to the Conservancy’s mission to preserve the region’s rural character, and soon decided to join the board of directors. He now chairs the Land Protection Committee, helping to guide the organization’s work developing land preservation agreements with landowners throughout the region.
Keith’s annual donation emulates the “One Percent for the Planet” model, an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet. Founders of “One Percent,” Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, both passionate environmentalists, realized that it was smart business practice to protect the natural resources that kept them in business. They established One Percent for the Planet to encourage local businesses to choose a local conservation organization to which to donate 1% of their yearly income.
The “One Percent” model reminds us that it’s up to all of us to invest in our community to create the type of world we want to live in—by making our own contributions, or by supporting the local businesses that follow this model. It’s a small but significant contribution toward our future.
With Keith’s annual gift, he’s helping to ensure that the working farms and forests, clean waters, and wildlife habitat of the Upper Delaware will not just be here for his own children, but for generations to come.
At the Conservancy, we’re inspired by Keith’s generosity, and we invite you to join him and the larger 1% movement by investing in what makes our area so special.
For more information on the Delaware Highlands Conservancy or to make a donation, or call 570-226-3164.