At Grand Cru Wine Tours, we feel that it is our responsibility to give back to the communities that we live in. As a company, we have identified four charitable organizations that we have committed to giving back to. Each was selected based on the work that they provide in our communities and around the world. Helping the environment and local people is a trait each of these organizations has embraced.
How much do you think the average American teacher spends, out of pocket, on classroom supplies each year? $200? $400? According to the Schoolhouse Supplies, a charitable organization we support, teachers spend $1,200 of their own money on class materials every year. Considering the already limited income of most teachers, we feel that is far too much. Luckily, there is an easy way to help ease the financial hardship Portland’s teachers and low-income parents deal with when buying school supplies. Schoolhouse Supplies accepts donations of cash or supplies such as glue, crayons, and erasers. For $25 dollars, donors can purchase a “virtual backpack”, which provides all of one child’s school supplies for an entire year.
Because we feel that supporting the people who make Oregon’s wine industry possible is vital, we love ¡Salud!, a joint-effort between winemakers and healthcare professionals to provide medical care to Oregon’s seasonal vineyard-workers. Care is provided through mobile wellness clinics that visit workers on site, and through grants for major medical and dental expenses. ¡Salud!’s financial support comes from vineyards who donate a percent of their bottle sales or tasting fees, an annual Pinot Noir Auction and charity event, and cash donations from individuals and businesses.
We also have a strong commitment to protecting the environment. Both The Greenbelt Land Trust, and American Forests, are groups that do great work, helping to preserve the natural beauty of Oregon, and the world as a whole. The Greenbelt Land Trust is dedicated to protecting open spaces in the Mid-Willamette Valley. To date, they have safeguarded over 1500 acres, including farmland, meadows, forests, and riverbanks. The Greenbelt Land Trust strives to create wildlife corridors and connect protected areas. They also work on creating low-impact recreation areas and preserving natural resources. They have a respected reputation for success, and are always on the lookout for new volunteers. The Land Trust accepts cash donations, stock donations, and property donations.
Looking beyond Oregon, the conservation and advocacy group American Forests has been protecting ecosystems in the US and worldwide for 135 years. Focused on the impact of trees on every environment, American Forests works in urban and rural areas in many countries to plant new trees where trees have been lost. They advocate for legislative and administrative solutions to environmental issues such as climate change and forest management, and run educational programs where kids ages 3-18 study the benefits, importance, and preservation of trees. If you are curious about large or unusual trees in your home state, check out their National Register of Big Trees. To nominate your favorite giant tree, go to the American Forests website at www.americanforests.org and make your tree a star. If you would like to support American Forests, they will use your contributions to plant trees in the areas that need them most, or will happily sell you any of a wide selection of trees for you to plant wherever you think a tree is needed. We have committed to donating a tree planting for every tour we operate.
As you travel, we encourage you to look for ways to give back to the communities that you live in. Just visiting the region and buying products and services from local vendors helps the people in the area. Ask about opportunities to volunteer with a local organization as part of your stay. Alternatively, look at donating to a local group. Whatever you decide, we encourage all travelers to take a moment and learn more about the area they are visiting. Whether the location is in your backyard or half a world away, each place has a unique story to tell. Find local charitable organizations that you can help make a difference.