By Sarah Hidey
As if Black Friday weren’t bad enough, this year Black Thursday was added to the mix. Consumerism, materialism, fighting for spots in line—not the type of holiday spirit that most of us are looking for.
When I think of the holidays, I think of giving, sharing, philanthropy. Wouldn’t it be great if our shopping habits reflected this spirit? You are in luck! We can ALL help give back through our purchasing decisions!
During the holiday season, I love shopping for my family and friends. There’s something so fun about picking out just the right earrings for my mom or scarf for my sister. And for me, it’s even better if the scarf is purchased at Ten Thousand Villages, supporting women entrepreneurs in developing countries, and if the earrings are from the Women’s Bean Project , supporting the employment of chronically impoverished women. I absolutely LOVE shopping at social enterprises and nonprofits that sell incredible, sustainable products that support social causes around the world. My family and friends are never surprised that the gifts they usually get from me have a double value—not only is it the gift for them, but an element of philanthropy too. It’s a combination of Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.
As you prepare for the holidays, I would like to share a few of my current local favorites with you:
- Women’s Bean Project (WBP): One of our favorites at JVA! WBP employs chronically impoverished and unemployed women through a transitional job in gourmet food and handcrafted jewelry manufacturing—enabling them to receive immediate income, and helping them earn the job readiness, interpersonal and life skills needed to overcome barriers to long-term employment. December 6–8 is their annual holiday fair where you can sample their products, buy some amazing jewelry and enjoy music and camaraderie (Santa Claus is even making an appearance!).
- Given Goods Company: Given Goods selects the best products from social enterprises around the world and sells them ALL on their site. Although based in Colorado, I first met them at SOCAP this September where I purchased an inspiring poster that is hanging in my office and some notebooks handmade by women in Africa for a coworker. Candles, notebooks, scarfs, bags, art work—you can find a little bit of everything on this site! For Cyber Monday, Given Goods is offering 20% off, free shipping and an additional $1 donation per purchase to San Francisco food banks.
- Earthlinks: The EarthLinks Workshop Program is a micro-economic development project where people who are homeless and low income work in a garden and workshop, then create and sell products from what is harvested. The products are incredible: Bee Works spa products, earth-friendly pet products, jewelry and other great gifts. Earthlinks will be selling some of their items at JVA’s Holiday party on December 12. Be sure to RSVP and join us for this fun evening of celebration.
- The Restoration Initiative (TRI):TRI sells jewelry from India—earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces. TRI was founded in 2011 out of a deep desire to restore hope to oppressed individuals by providing opportunity for skill-based jobs and sustainably funding safe homes in India for at-risk children. All profits support these initiatives. Several of my family members can look forward to some darling gifts from TRI this year! Purchase online today and receive a 30% Cyber Monday discount. Use coupon code MONDAY at checkout. TRI will also have a table at JVA’s holiday party!
- MissionWear: MissionWear hires women with obstacles to employment to create reusable products: laptop bags, totes and messenger bags among other great products, all made from upcycled materials such as marketing banners, denim, T-shirts, burlap coffee bags, as well as other scrap fabrics from interior designers. I LOVE the tote I purchased from them this weekend! You’ll learn more about MissionWear in an upcoming social enterprise spotlight blog. We were thrilled to have the founder, Beth Massey, sit on our Lessons Learned Panel at our November Social Enterprise Academy.
- Hope Tank: A Charitable Boutique: Hope Tank is a boutique carrying diverse and unique products made by people with a commitment to philanthropy and charity. There is a gift for every single person in your life at Hope Tank: your baby nephew, sister, dad, best friend. We highlighted Hope Tank in our Social Enterprise Spotlight Blog a few months ago. Check out the blog to learn more about the incredible products you can purchase that make a difference in our community!
My other favorites (both local and international) include Sevenly, the Global Bag Project, ShareBrands, 31 Bits and so many others.
What are your favorite nonprofits or social enterprises that you like to support over the holidays?