Gifts that Give Back

There are so many retailers offering opportunities to give back that it seems like a no-brainer to do all or at least most of our holiday shopping with those businesses making an effort to contribute.  Let’s put some purpose to our purchases.

I love this basket from Indego Africa.  It would actually look perfect in my family room (my hints aren’t subtle).  Indego is a nonprofit based in NYC that supports women entrepreneurs in Rwanda.  100% of the profits from this $60 basket (and all other products) go towards education and job skills training for the artisans.


For the kiddos, tegu magnetic blocks get two enthusiastic thumbs up from me.  These are fantastic for a number of reasons.  First, kids (and grown-ups) can get very creative with designs (check out some pics below) and thus it seems to provide endless entertainment.  Secondly, because of the magnets, they store neatly, which I love. Thirdly, they are well-crafted and harvested from a sustainable wood.  Lastly, the factory is based in Honduras and offers living wages and career development to their employees and has also partnered with a local school.


If your kids are older, PB Teen is donating $10 from each purchase of their faux fur hats to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


United by Blue sells a well-curated collection of clothes and accessories…Rugged watches, canvas bags, and even canoe paddles.  This is where to shop for your thick-rimmed-glasses-wearing, stubble-faced, techy husband.  For each item United by Blue sells, it will remove a pound of trash from oceans and waterways.  To date, the company has extracted over 200,000 pounds of trash.


If you are looking for something to give your mom, mother-in-law, sister…look no further.  15% of the proceeds from this beautiful bracelet go towards funding microloans given to widowed entrepreneurs in Kenya.  Visit Bird and Stone for many more options.


Another option for the ladies in your life – pink slippers from Avon.  Unfortunately, most of us have a loved one who had breast cancer so let’s continue to fund research with pink purchases!


Everyone needs a water bottle so why not gift one that donates $10 from each sale to Matt Damon’s charity,  Before you scoff at celebrity charities, provides safe water and sanitation solutions in developing nations and receives a near-perfect rating on Charity Navigator.


Lush’s Charity Pot Lotion makes a great gift for girlfriends, kids’ teachers, or anyone you know with dry hands.  100% of the purchase price goes towards a variety of different charities.  Thus far, Lush has donated $5 million to more than 400 grassroots organizations supporting humanitarian, environmental, and animal rights causes.


Subscription gift boxes seem to be all the rage right now and Sevenly offers a perfect option for gifts that give back when you don’t know what to give.  Each month, the recipient of the CauseBox receives a collection of items from companies doing-good.  In addition to that, with each box sold Sevenly donates $7 to one of the charities listed on its site.  A two-tiered giving gift!


During the giving season, don’t forget to check Charity Navigator to see if your designated charity is on the up and up.