History & Legacy
20+ years of programs that matter
How we got here
In 1998, Lisa Craig Gautier co-founded Matter of Trust with her husband, Patrice Olivier Gautier (VP of Internet Software & Services at Apple, Inc.). Our ecological nonprofit received 501(c)(3) public charity status in May of 1999.
“When my husband and I started our family, we were happy to take on the responsibility for bringing our kids into the world; and we felt a stronger desire to love the planet we are all passing on to future generations. Thankfully, each day, our staff meets hundreds of others who feel the same way. It provides a delightful atmosphere for the hopeful child in all of us.” – Lisa Gautier
Because Matter of Trust works with youth as well as adults, we concentrate on the positive. Every day we intentionally work on what we all want in the environment now and in our future. Our programs include a flagship model eco-factory, a showcase eco-home with urban edible garden, an online platform for humanity adding solutions, a services and free materials exchange, a research library and much more.
The charity mimics Mother Nature wherever possible; integrating systems, recycling resources, promoting renewables, and balancing shortages with abundance. We create fun exhibits, public installations, media and tools, providing information, education, inspiration, and transformation. The results are worthwhile, commonsensical, and often enchanting.
First, we started by linking surplus with needs. We began matching nonprofit wish lists with in-kind donations online through our free Excess Access program (now expanded into our Free Exchange on TheHumSum.net).
Members signed up and described their missions before posting items they wanted to get or give. This introduced us to thousands of grassroots organizations, recyclers, greening businesses, and exciting new projects, and continues to today. From the beginning the collaborating on ideas began to flow as easily as the connecting of wishes and donations.
In 2000, we launched our Clean Wave program, collecting hair, fur, and fleece clippings to make petroleum spill clean-up booms. “You shampoo because hair collects oil.” Through this program we get to meet hundreds of thousands of salons, pet groomers, farmers. We were very involved in the Cosco Busan Oil Spill (2007) and BP Horizon (2010) in the Gulf of Mexico. Mostly, we work with cities, harbors, armed forces and industries to promote this waste fiber recycling system for green jobs mobilization which is helping to keep our waterways and storm drains clean.
The press from these two keystone programs led to many more of our own, and partnering on others we fiscally sponsor. With the help of our staff researchers, we published It’s Easy Being Green (2004, 2nd Edition 2019). We also became closely tied with The San Francisco Department of the Environment and often collaborate in local, state, federal and United Nations events and projects.
We opened a Matter of Trust Eco-Center (2013) for field trips and roundtables. And with many co-founders, we launched the Global Compost Project (2014). In 2016, we moved and expanded to have a model factory called the Matter of Trust Eco-Industrial Hub promoting clean air, water, energy and ideal materials. The growing number of environmental innovations, at every turn, made us feel the need to consolidate and create a framework. Thus was born the Humanity Adding Solutions network – TheHumSum.net (2018). In 2019, Matter of Trust opened its exhibition Eco-Home and edible urban garden to showcase how renters can impact climate.
People ask why we only concentrate on the positive. It’s simply because the abundance of good eco-news keeps us so busy! Daily, we see great innovations and the key is also being open to complementary ideas and connecting the right people at the right time!
In 2020 we launched our Clean Wave satellite waste fiber felters program. Beginning with partners up and down California, then in Texas, Oklahoma, NY and beyond the US into Santiago, Chile and Athens, Greece.
As enthusiastic implementors, we are comprised of our board, advisors, staff, contractors, apprentices, interns, and volunteers. Our dedicated teams range from wise senior-citizen advisors to dynamic students and from full-time pro-bono directors to dedicated part-time veterans, work-from-home parents, and disability survivors.
We are always evolving and welcome new ideas, partners, and contributors. We hold a very optimistic view and are very fond of this Earth that we call home. We respectfully consider the health of this lovely planet to be an entangled matter of trust.
- We have 70+ programs to date, 20 of which are current in either research & development or active modes while 52 have been completed or closed. All are documented at MatterOfTrust.org
- Press clippings: Matter of Trust has a substantial number of press clippings and TV / radio interviews, including a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal and several appearances on national news networks as well as interviews with BBC, Le Monde, National Geographique France and other international sources.
- Social Media: Matter of Trust has a large and growing membership of over 33,300 people on our Facebook page. We are also rapidly growing Twitter and Instagram.
- All Matter of Trust programs are up to date in all forms, licenses, and requirements. We hold San Francisco City and County vendor status and current accounts with sam.gov, grants.gov and Battelle. We take pride in our mom and pop small business approach. Our staff and program partners are like a giant family, which has resulted in our long-term survival, notable productivity and our being litigation-free since our establishment in 1998. We are also very resourceful, have always been debt free, and are working on an endowment plan.
- May – Matter of Trust is incorporated. Our thanks to Paul Newman’s lawyers Nevas, Nevas, Capasse and Gerard in Connecticut for setting up our public charity with Excess Access as our first program.
- August – We launch our trailblazing online database with matching system that links surplus with needs.
The Excess Access program receives the BAA – PCCF Business Environmental Award for Environmental Enterprise by the County of Santa Clara with Supervisorial Commendation.
Clean Wave Program launch. Hair stylist and inventor Phil McCrory, officially partners with Matter of Trust to collect hair clippings and create a national waste fiber recycling system.
Matter of Trust and Jennifer Pratt research, write, edit and publish It’s Easy Being Green – A Helpful and Humorous Eco-tips book of 230 pages, printed on hemp paper with soy ink. This book has been gifted in person to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Former US Vice President Al Gore, Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, Inc. and several other notable dignitaries.
2nd edition 2019, available as a free book pdf on our website.
Matter of Trust’s Biodiesel for Muni feasibility program in collaboration with the San Francisco Department of the Environment led to the citywide bus system transfer to biodiesel.
Matter of Trust was awarded the Certificate of Honor by Mayor Gavin Newsom, the City/County of San Francisco. Honoree Lisa Gautier, President, recognized for dedication to urban environment and city dwellers around the world particularly in support of Matter of Trust’s important role in organizing widespread Community Programs during the United Nations World Environment Day 2005.
Matter of Trust’s Hurricane Katrina Relief programs for in-kind donations led to our Peace of Mind Kits – an Ecological Complement to the Disaster Kit. This program led to our inclusion in the San Francisco Mayoral Committee for Disaster Preparedness.
Oil Spill Clean Up with Hair Mats – Cosco Busan in San Francisco Bay Area.
Large-scale research project for oil soaked hair mat remediation using fungi, thermophilic compost and vermiculture with experts Ken Litchfield, Paul Stamets, UCB’s Norman Terry Lab…
Matter of Trust fiscally sponsored “The Fuel Film” by Josh Tickell which won the coveted Audience Prize at the Sundance Film Festival 2008 and was 2009 Academy Awards Qualified.
- The Environmental Protection Agency publicly stated, during the BP Horizon Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, that Matter of Trust’s Clean Wave program led the fastest growing national grassroots recycling mobilization they had ever seen. From the 2nd-6th weeks after the explosion, the charity received hair and fur clipping donations from every zip code in North America and over 30 countries according to the US Postal Service. 19 warehouses from the Florida Keys to Texas were provided in order to temporarily house the hundreds of thousands of boxes. The fiber donations from salons and pet groomers were hand stuffed by thousands of volunteers to make oil spill cleanup booms.
- Matter of Trust won the 2010 Pavitra Crimmel Reuse Award from the California Resource Recovery Association.
Earth Day – SF Civic Center. We produced Talking Fish. Artists: Grier Blumenschine, Tim Crowe, & Louis China Bay Area K-12 students Voice-over by: Jean-Michel Cousteau
Plastics in the Oceans Our two giant 16-foot reclaimed plastic fish sculptures framed the Earth Day SF Civic Center Entrance
- Matter of Trust collection of 8,000+ donated eyeglasses, part of a medical mission to Peru with Dr. Rosa Ten.
Earth Day’s A Maze – Earth Day SF
– Matter of Trust provides a large-scale living bamboo plant maze for the public in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. Thousands of visitors weaved their way through, aided by answering ecological questions with arrows for advancing if they got them right or backtracking if wrong.
Matter of Trust Eco-Center
Grand Opening at 3338 17th Street in San Francisco’s vibrant inner-city Mission District. The Eco-Center programs are informational (exhibits, tours, resource material handouts, events, eco-gift shop, eco-baby showers, kids b’Earthday parties) educational (field trips, courses, classes, camps, roundtables, panels,) and transformational (green jobs, campaigns, mobilizations).
- Matter of Trust is a presenting partner on the documentary film, Racing to Zero. Executive Producer Diana Fuller, Directed by Christopher Beaver. Patrice and Lisa Gautier, founders of Matter of Trust also hold producer credits.
- Matter of Trust orchestrates a Zero Waste Flash Mob, hosted by the Presidio Trust, at their Sunday Father’s Day picnic with 8,000 attendees. On the scenic Presidio National Park Parade Grounds, by the Golden Gate Bridge, crowds danced and sorted trash into blue and green bins. Other partners included SF Conservation Corp, CalRecycle, SF Environment, Luminalt Solar, Off the Grid and Recology.
- Matter of Trust President, Lisa Gautier, hosts A Toast to Compost in Paris during the United Nations COP21 Climate Conference Celebrations. Traveling with a large group representing cities and experts on compost, soil carbon, recycling and climate solutions, Lisa promotes our Global Compost Project collaborative .
- Matter of Trust has benchmarked hosting over 50 youth in our green jobs internship program in partnership with JVS, John O’Connell High School, Lick Wilmerding High School, Lycée Francais de SF, and SF STEM Academy.
Thermophilic Composting of Pharmaceutical Compounds We were fiscal sponsors for this project. Partners: Dr. Gary Andersen, Lawrence Berkeley Lab and SF Dept of Environment.
- In our 4th year of successful summer youth camps, Matter of Trust in partnership with Presidio Hill School, Tree Frog Treks, and many more partners, Todd Ditto, provides LEAF Academy for intensive two-week field trip filled courses on Leadership, Ecology, Action and Fellowship to middle school kids.
Matter of Trust opens its Eco-Hub, permanent location in SOMA near the SF Department of the Environment, Moscone Convention Center and Civic Center. The Matter of Trust Eco-Industrial Hub
has a model working eco-factory and exhibits which concentrate on Clean Air, Water, Energy, Ideal Materials and Green Careers.
- Matter of Trust goes into development for TheHumSum.org in partnership with the San Francisco Department of the Environment, Governor Brown of California and the United Nations Foundation as the public platform for the Global Climate Action Summit, hosted in the city of San Francisco September 2018.
- National Geographic France writes article on the Eco-Hub.
- Scientists and engineers at the Air Force Civil Engineering Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida are collaborating with Matter of Trust, Inc. to explore the use of renewable natural fibers for filtration. Official press release.
- University of Technology Sydney Australia partners with, and cites, Matter of Trust in paper stating hair is significantly better at adsorbing oil than all other materials.
Grand Opening of our Model Eco-Home and Urban Edible Garden
in Haight-Ashbury / Cole-Valley District. Here we will concentrate on exhibits showcasing how renters and city dwellers can enjoy healthy eco-lifestyles for mind, body, and soil.
- Standardizing hair mat production. 2nd research paper exploring Matter of Trust hair mats by University of Technology, Sydney.
- We have 70+ programs to date, 20 of which are current in either research & development or active modes while 52 have been completed and archived. All are documented at MatterOfTrust.org
Matter of Trust launches the Hum Sum app