Rivian Forever fund is a philanthropic endowment for nature

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From the surprise debut of the Rivian R1T pickup at the 2018 LA Auto Show (see the video down below for more on that), the automaker has never relented from promoting its vehicles as means to adventure — the kind that gets off the paved road and revels in wilderness playgrounds. Rivian founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe wants to ensure the natural landscapes of those playgrounds continue to exist, so he's announced the Forever fund. In his words, the fund's "mission is dedicated to addressing our planet’s climate crisis and preserving the critical biodiversity needed for our planet’s long-term survival." That addressing will be paid for by "putting 1% of Rivian's equity into Forever."

Scaringe didn't say how often that equity transfer would happen — annually or some other timeframe — but he did characterize the pool as "a substantial and growing financial platform," so this shouldn't be a one-time shot. Notice, this isn't a matter of profits, which Rivian warned in its SEC IPO filing might not happen for a while, if ever. This is about equity, which is "the amount of money that would be returned to a company’s shareholders if all of the assets were liquidated and all of the company's debt was paid off in the case of liquidation," according to Investopedia. No matter its profit issues, we don't expect Rivian to have an equity issue for a while, if ever.

Those monies will pay for initiatives that preserve land and sea, and educate producers and consumers on sustainability. The primary focus will be "high impact climate initiatives" for the wildlands, waterways, and oceans necessary to pull carbon from the atmosphere. Beyond that, Forever will fund programs and involve Rivian employees in projects that help everyone learn how take less than Earth can give.

It's not clear when Forever will be up and running, either. But if Rivian does manage to create "a virtuous cycle of impact" for the good lands and badlands that so many of us enjoy escaping to in today's ridiculously capable vehicles, then every adventurer and every 4x4 maker will profit.

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