Small Business Member Spotlight: Outpatch
Outpatch is a Vermont-based and veteran-owned company with the goal of using the tourism industry to increase funding to local nonprofits. Launched in February 2021, they sell stick-on patches that represent specific communities and donate 50% of the proceeds to nonprofits supporting those communities.
Founder Henry Rosario left the Army in 2017 to pursue humanitarian service. After exploring the field, Rosario realized that humanitarian funding could be improved by getting more resources to local changemakers: “The most inspirational leaders doing humanitarian work were individuals actually part of the communities they were helping, local changemakers that not only possessed the contextual knowledge to be effective in times of crisis, but were also invested in the long-term success of any community building effort.”
Moreover, Rosario noticed “these local individuals and organizations weren’t being funded sufficiently by donors. Instead, most private aid dollars pass through international organizations and are filtered down to local actors after much dilution (if at all).” To create a better way to empower these changemakers, Rosario set out to develop a financially sustainable funding stream for smaller, locally based nonprofits through the sale of stick-on patches.
Why patches? In Rosario’s words, “Because they are an immediately identifiable, physical manifestation of a part of our identity. They remind us where we’ve been, what we’ve seen, and what we’ve accomplished. They signal to the world what communities have shaped us and to a greater and lesser extent, what communities we are bound to.”
Rachel Willis, head of Outpatch growth, served in the Army with Rosario and joined Outpatch after reconnecting with him during the pandemic. Willis joined with the goal of directly engaging communities and finding local artists to design meaningful patches. Willis says “We’re working to empower conscious travelers to give back to the communities they visit, impact local communities by donating half our proceeds to our nonprofit partners, and amplify the vision of unseen and underappreciated individuals supporting our communities.”
Outpatch currently supports nonprofits in Vermont, Virginia, and Colorado with their travel patches and will soon be launching in New Hampshire, Hawaii, and other US states throughout the summer. They also run a line of Humanitarian patches which are honoring pride, supporting peace, championing environmentalism, promoting feminism, fighting poverty, and raising funds for disaster relief in various humanitarian crises all over the world.
Outpatch was founded on the premise that the people most capable of addressing issues affecting communities are the people living in them. Our goal is to get these local changemakers the funds they need with the help of conscious travelers that care about giving back to the communities they visit.
We are proud of our low-profit LLC (L3C) status which allows us to operate as a for-profit structure with a charitable purpose. What this means in practice is that what we sell is directly linked to our mission of increasing direct funding to local nonprofits. Businesses should better the world and that’s what we intend to use ours for.