As you drive out of the gate at vacation rental Circle L Ranch, just across the street is an industrial tank with a rustic wooden sign casually slung around one of it’s posts. It reads, “Community.” It struck me as a sweet reminder that while most homes in the Valley are located on multiple acres, there is no less a sense of community here as in a tight suburban neighborhood.

I also considered that the placement of the “Community” sign, being directly across the street from a vacation rental often occupied by visitors, might be a gentle reminder from a neighbor to our guests that while they enjoy their home away from home, to keep in mind that they are kindly being welcomed into a ranching community, in hopes that quiet hours may be observed. (Only recently did I realize that the sign simply, and admittedly obviously, designated the tank as belonging to the community.) Nonetheless, this “Community” sign has allowed me to ruminate regularly on the concept and importance of community.

Community Sign

The business ethos at Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals has long been one that revolves around community and social responsibility. To begin with, the carbon footprint of a stay in a hotel is 50% greater than that of a stay in a vacation rental home.  Simply in offering an alternative to a stay in a hotel, we’ve created an opportunity to travel with less impact on the planet. Further, the decision to use eco-friendly products whenever possible, albeit a bit more expensive, has been paramount to Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals.

  • Our luxurious bathing amenities are made in the USA by William Roam, a company with a tenacious commitment to protecting the earth.
  • Our new coffee and tea trays have been hand crafted by a local carpenter using primarily reclaimed wood.
  • All hand soap, sponges, trash bags, laundry detergent and dish soap are sourced from recognized eco-friendly companies.

To echo this commitment to social responsibility in a broader, more universal scale, we’re happy to announce that we’re in the process of joining 1% For The Planet. Their mission is to “build, support and activate an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet” and have invested more than $100 million in positive environmental change. Beginning this year, 1% of our revenue will be donated to this colossally compassionate organization. Bonus: The company was founded by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia and Jack Johnson is one of their biggest advocates! How cool is that?

one-percent-for-the-planet

As a small business working within a small and very special community such as the Santa Ynez Valley, we’ve begun to see possibilities of how our ethos and social contributions can extend beyond the limits of our own company. In an effort to increase our involvement in community-related issues and activities, we’ve decided to begin this New Year with a pledge to contribute quarterly to local philanthropies.

Our contribution for the first quarter of 2015 was a grant to People Helping People. People Helping People is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of community members by “addressing emergency and basic needs, furnishing comprehensive integrated family and individual support services, and acting as a catalyst for positive community change.” They provide health services, domestic violence prevention services, connect eligible families with Cal Fresh, and facilitate applying for MediCal through their several Family Resource Centers throughout the area. They are an extremely deserving organization and we are happy to contribute to their many causes.

people-helping-people

Also, we value the insight of both our homeowners and loyal guests, if you are involved with or supporters of any local, esteemed organizations, please share with us! It is our hope that the essence of a shared community permeates not only our own company, but our community, society, and humanity as a whole. Because, that’s what this whole living “business” is all about.