Gifts that Give Back to Support Fight Against COVID-19

In unprecedented times of COVID-19, now more than ever your purchasing power matters. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, many social enterprises, business and nonprofits are offering ways that you can use your purchasing power to help give back by either providing medical masks, supplies or your own facemasks to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Here are a few of my favorites.


Anchal [on-chal] believes design can change lives. As a non-profit social enterprise, Anchal uses design thinking to create innovative products and sustainable employment for exploited women worldwide. To date, Anchal has provided alternative careers in textiles and design to over 200 women in Ajmer, India and Louisville, KY.

Anchal is committed to producing the highest quality home goods & accessories while maintaining the integrity of our artisans and natural resources. Distinct design, craftsmanship and a personal signature connect you to the individual maker. Our eco-friendly products are entirely hand-stitched from vintage materials, certified organic cotton and low-impact dyes.

Anchal’s organic and vintage cotton face masks are made from two layers of quilted fabric. The dense weave of this durable cotton barrier provides protection and breathability. Anchal’s cotton bandanas also make for a versatile face mask option that can still be worn when COVID-19 pandemic ends. You can learn how to make your own Bandana Mask here. All masks are washable and reusable. The fabric is hand embroidered by an Artisan in Ajmer, India. The mask is cut and sewn by our team in Louisville, KY. All masks are pre-washed and delivered in polybags. Cost $20.00.

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

2019 Gifts that Give Back Guide for the Holidays

For the past five years, I have curated an ever-growing list of amazing Gifts that Give Back. My guide has become so popular that I have devoted an entire page on my blog that is updated frequently and features these wonderful organizations and the causes they support. Whether it be fighting hunger, gender inequality or providing educational or income opportunities, there are a ton of ways you can use your buying power as a consumer to do good and make a difference in someone’s life.

Every holiday season, I gather up a list of my most favorite gifts that give back to inspire you to purchase something more meaningful this holiday season and put your money towards a fabulous present that supports a good cause. The products and organizations listed below are just a few that these amazing organizations have to offer. Please visit their website to browse the entire collection. You can also view my extended list of Gifts that Give Back on my blog which also has links to past guides as well.

As you look through the post, you will notice that I included a brief description of each product in the caption. To read it in full or view the image at a larger size, click on the image and it will enlarge. You may also find more detailed information on the organization’s website. I hope you enjoy this year’s guide! If so, please share!

Happy Shopping!

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Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

Gifts that Give Back: Beautiful Products that Help Fight Human Trafficking

The month of January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Per Polaris, a global leader in the fight to end modern-day slavery, human trafficking is “the business of stealing freedom for profit. In some cases, traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims into providing commercial sex. In others, victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions. It is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world”.

As non-profit organizations, governments and business around the world work to spread awareness and fight this hidden epidemic, we as consumers can use our purchasing power to make a difference and change lives. Per Jane Mosbacher Morris (Founder and CEO of To the Market, a social enterprise that connects business and consumers to ethically made products around the world), the retail market is a massive force in the U.S. economy – a $2.6 trillion industry – meaning retail purchases can be powerful tools for social change. Consumers now have the power to make a huge difference on such social issues as fighting poverty, climate change, human trafficking, and sending girls around the world to school. This was the inspiration behind Jane founding To The Market: To economically empower vulnerable communities around the world by hiring them to make the kinds of products people buy every day, harnessing the purchasing power of people and businesses to address social issues. (1)

In honor of Human Trafficking Awareness month, I have compiled a list of my favorite for-profit and non-profit companies working hard to fight human trafficking. A purchase from any of these organizations goes to help victims of human trafficking to not only find an escape but find a future.

To The Market

TO THE MARKET | Survivor-made Goods (TTM) combines the powers of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous survivor populations, in the belief that resilience is more powerful than suffering. TTM showcases handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease. By assisting local partners around the world in bringing these goods “to the market,” we take an active role in equipping the survivor’s they employ with economic independence, while raising awareness of the challenges that they face.

Purpose Jewelry

Purpose is the brand under International Sanctuary, which is a nonprofit whose mission is to empower people escaping trafficking to embrace their true identity and worth. Purpose Jewelry provides freedom from slavery for young women around the world. Each piece of jewelry is beautifully crafted by young women rescued from human trafficking and by purchasing with Purpose, you are providing freedom, dignity and hope for these amazing artisans.

To raise awareness and combat human trafficking, Purpose Jewelry is offering two limited-edition Human Trafficking Awareness Month bracelets. 100% of the proceeds go to support survivors their artisans at International Sanctuary.

Global Issues Global Non-Profit Organizations and Social Good Enterprises SOCIAL GOOD

Gifts that Give Back That Help Kids: Kupendo Kids

Over the years, I’ve cultivated an ever-growing list of amazing organizations around the world that offer amazing gifts that also give back to charity. What makes me thrilled is to see so many new, innovative organizations and products entering the industry providing unique often handmade gifts that do good. What a better way to use our consumer dollars this giving season and year-round than to purchase a gift that gives back?

Kupendo Kids is a social impact company that is working to make a difference in Sub-Saharan Africa by selling ethically sourced, handcrafted toys that create jobs for women who need fair paying jobs to support their families. Every time you purchase a toy from Kupendo Kids, they deliver a toy to a child in need. They are currently partnering with SOS Children’s Villages in Namibia and plan to expand to other partnerships as they grow. In 2014, I visited a SOS Children’s Villages site in Ethiopia and I can attest to the amazing work they are doing to help the children. I am so excited to introduce Kupendo Kids and their work.

Can toys really help children learn and grow?

In October 2018, Philip Evangelou, an Australian corporate lawyer based in London visited an orphanage in Namibia where he personally delivered toys, stationary and books and saw how much joy this brought to the children. This filled up Phillip’s heart with so much joy and gratitude for all the toys and love he received in his childhood.

After doing some research, Philip was astounded to find out that there are over 34 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa and figured that most of them had probably never received a toy.

Further to the above shocking statistic, according to UNESCO’s eAtlas of Literacy countries which have the lowest youth literacy rates in the world are Chad (31%), Central African Republic (36%) South Sudan (37%), Niger (40%) and Guinea (46%). This means children in these countries, have less access to educational toys and books.

This sparked a fire in Philip’s belly to do something about the lack of fun, toys and very low literacy rates. Philip thought “Why don’t I start a toy shop that provides a toy or book to an orphan in need, each time a toy is sold?... and so Kupendo Kids was born. Kupendo is Swahili for Love and supplying educational toys and books to vulnerable children in nations such as this will show them love and help lift the youth literacy rates.

Benefits of playing with toys backed by science

Research published by Parenting Science confirms that there are many cognitive benefits of playing with toys in developing the learning brain of children. The benefits include improved memory, brain cell growth, greater attention span, creative problem solving, reasoning, self-regulation, language and numerical skills.

Kupendo Kids

The toys

Philip visited a few toy makers in Cape Town, South Africa and found one that employed local talented artisan women who specialise in embroidery and stitching. Philip made sure that the materials used were high quality and the women making the toys were paid fairly for their work and had good working conditions.

Kupendo Kids

Women artisans working on Kupendo Kids toys

Child Labor, Marriage, Education and Survival Gifts that Give Back Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD

2018 Gifts that Give Back Guide for the Holidays

For the past four years, I have curated an ever-growing list of amazing Gifts that Give Back. My guide has become so popular that I have devoted an entire page on my blog that is updated frequently and features these wonderful organizations and the causes they support. Whether it be fighting hunger, gender inequality or providing educational or income opportunities, there are a ton of ways you can use your buying power as a consumer to do good and make a difference in someone’s life.

Every holiday season, I gather up a list of my most favorite gifts that give back to inspire you to purchase something more meaningful this holiday season and put your money towards a fabulous present that supports a good cause. The products and organizations listed below are just a few that these amazing organizations have to offer. Please visit their website to browse the entire collection. You can also view my extended list of Gifts that Give Back on my blog which also has links to past guides as well.

As you look through the post, you will notice that I included a brief description of each product in the caption. To read it in full or view the image at a larger size, click on the image and it will enlarge. You may also find more detailed information on the organization’s website. I hope you enjoy this year’s guide! If so, please share!

Happy Shopping!

Like this post? Pin it for later! 

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

Gifts for Good Tackles the Corporate Gifting Industry to Give Back

Today, U.S. corporations spend over $60 billion every year on corporate gifts but donate less than a third of that to charitable causes. For Jerry Eisenberg and Laura Hertz, this offered an amazing opportunity to tap into this market with the launch of their unique business, Gifts for Good. Gifts for Good curates premium corporate gifts that give back. Each product supports one of 40 non-profit and social enterprise partners tackling the world’s most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.

Since their launch last fall, Gifts for Good has generated impact in over 19 states and 65 countries around the globe supporting such causes as children in need, women at risk, environment, economic development, homelessness, health and wildlife conservation. Gifts for Good believes that if every corporation purchased gifts that gave back―without spending any more money―they could redirect billions of dollars every year a year to create sustainable change. I had the opportunity to chat with Gifts for Good’s Chief Impact Officer Jenise Sterverding to learn more about this exciting new organization. Here is what she had to say.

You have an interesting educational and business background mixing sociology, business, and philanthropy and went back to school in 2005 to receive a Masters in Public Management. Why did you want to combine all of these disciplines and what benefit has it been for your career?

It’s funny, I never really felt like I fit in when I graduated college because it seemed that if I cared about making the world better I had to go into non-profit and if I wanted to go the business route, it was mostly about creating high profits for the business owner.  At the time there was nothing in-between and not a lot of people using business for good. 

As someone whose personality is more of a hybrid, when I looked at roles in non-profit, they were mostly about running programs and doing service delivery and that didn’t feel like the right fit.  I started my career in small businesses, but was not fulfilled because the sole focus was on profit.  After about 5 years, I quit and moved to San Francisco and ended up going to work in higher education at Stanford University School of Medicine.  Again, after a few years, I was frustrated by the bureaucracy of higher education as I have an entrepreneurial mind.  I decided to go back to school but didn’t want to be pigeon-holed into one field.  At the time, in the United States, my choices were a Master’s in Business Administration, Master’s in Nonprofit Management, or a Master’s in Public Administration. Each one of those felt too specific for me.  I did some research and found SDA Bocconi University in Milan, Italy that had a Master’s in Public Management which was combining business, government, and nonprofit.  So I quit my job and moved again, this time out of the country. 

After you received your Master’s degree, you worked for a non-profit organization called Giving Children Hope and then at TOMS in the giving department. Tell me a little bit about your role and what you learned. How has that experience helped you in your job today?

I first went to work for a non-profit called Giving Children Hope, a faith-based non-profit organization that works to alleviate poverty, both domestically and internationally, through disaster relief, health and community development, vocational training and advocacy. Shortly after being deployed to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, I was put in touch with TOMS’ newly hired Director of Giving.  I had been watching TOMS grow and was interested in their model but I wasn’t certain they were really interested in making an impact.  At first I declined talking to them, but later changed my mind.  What I discovered is that TOMS wasn’t a marketing ploy but was truly working to drive impact.  Additionally, my background in gifts-in-kind from Giving Children Hope uniquely positioned me to help them grow since that was such a specific niche; I had been moving product around the world for 4 years into impoverished communities.  By the Spring of 2010 I jumped in as the second hire in the new Giving department.

Like any fast-growing company, you learn a lot.  I was hired to manage the relationships between TOMS and it’s non-profit Giving Partners, but we were growing so quickly that I could not do it alone.  By the end of the year I had hired someone in Ethiopia (where TOMS was doing quite a bit of work), inherited a team member in Argentina, and hired two direct reports in the office.  Within 6 months I had a few more direct reports in HQ.  I remained solely focused on building and scaling shoe-giving as the Director was building out new programs like TOMS sight-giving. 

On the shoe-giving side, we had numerous challenges we had to decide how to handle: at what point would we put a cap on giving in any particular country; how did we ensure kids weren’t being given shoes by more than one organization; how did we ensure we weren’t hurting local economies; how did we know what sizes to send since we were doing custom orders; could we give additional funds to cover the expenses of shoe-distribution; and so many more lessons and challenges.  It was like getting a second MBA only you weren’t reading a case study and when you are living it out, emotions and people are involved.

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD
All Across Africa

2018 Top Gifts that Give Back for Mother’s Day

I love giving gifts and even better, giving gifts that also give back to someone in need. I have curated an ever-growing list of Gifts that Give Back over the years and am excited to share some of the latest gifts that give back for this Mother’s Day. Each organization below works to create a beautiful, meaningful gift that also gives back to the women who make the products or helps to support a cause.

Here are some of my favorite picks for the mom in your life. I hope you enjoy the list, and please share this giving guide with friends and family. (Note: To read product description, however over the image or else click on the image to enlarge to full size). 

Happy Shopping!

All Across Africa

All Across Africa currently works with over 3,000 artisans in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, paying artisans up front for the goods at many times what they could sell them for in a local market. This sustainable income allows them to send their children to school, feed their families and even create savings accounts. In addition, money goes back into the communities in the form of education and training programs. All Across Africa believes that job creation is the solution for the rural poor in these countries.

This Mother’s Day, how about giving the mom in your life a Rwandan handcrafted basket or vase. Each product tells a story of the Rwandan women who have intricately handcrafted these baskets from sweet grass and the leaves of the agave sisal plant. The intricate designs and flawless work of an experienced weaver is never the result of luck. Rather, Rwandan women owe their skills to the women before them who passed on the knowledge from generation to generation—mother to daughter, grandmother to child. Each piece is unique, culturally and traditionally inspired, and hand-woven in intimate Rwandan communities. With differing patterns and colors, one or more of these baskets will make a globally conscious and stylistic addition to your home. They can be hung from the wall or used as decor or to hold fresh fruit or a bottle of wine or even flowers.

Prices vary. To purchase one of these items or see more, visit

Gifts that Give Back
Mosebo Village Ethiopia

2017 Gifts that Give Back Guide

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more”.

–  H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A few years ago, I began highlighting different organizations that offer wonderful gifts that also give back to a cause.  Given how popular the posts have been, I created a permanent Gifts that Give Back page on my blog and last holiday season that page alone received 40,000 views in the months of November and December! I am thrilled to know that these amazing organizations and causes are getting more customers from my blog.

Here are some of my favorite Gifts that Give Back for the holiday season. I hope you enjoy the list, and please share this holiday guide with friends and family. Make your gift giving season count this year by making a difference in someone else’s life and also giving an incredible gift that will make them smile.

Author’s Note: The products below are just a few of the many these amazing organizations have to offer. Please visit each website to get a full view of all the gifts that give back each organization has to offer. Enjoy!

2017 Gifts that Give Back Guide


As the heart and soul of ALEX AND ANI, CEO, Founder and Creative Director, Carolyn Rafaelian, created Charity by Design, which serves as a unique division focused solely on giving and making the dreams of charitable organizations come true. Charity by Design empowers non-profit organizations both on a national and local scale to reach their goals by sharing their mission through the power of positive energy and creative design.

Here are three featured Charity by Design bangles below: The Pinecone benefiting Plan International’s Because I Am a Girl initiative, True Wish benefiting the Make A Wish Foundation, and Heart of Strength benefiting the Global Fund to help them fight AIDS with PRODUCT(RED). ALEX AND ANI will donate 20% of the purchase price* from each bangle sold, with a minimum donation of $25,000 between October 2017 and December 2018 to the charities.

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Anchal Products

Designing Change Stitch by Stitch” Anchal creates absolutely stunning scarves, pillows and quilts each handmade out of recycled saris by Indian women rescued from prostitution.

b.a.r.e soaps

b.a.r.e. soaps is an all natural, socially conscious soap and candle company. b.a.r.e stands for “bringing antiseptic resources to everyone”. 20% of proceeds are reinvested into economic development in India and Uganda. 100% all natural handmade products using sustainably sourced ingredients.

Bloom & Give

Bloom & Give sells beautifully handcrafted scarves and bags made in India using techniques passed on from generation to generation. Each product is designed in the US by one of Bloom & Give’s designers, and made in India with love. Bloom & Give donates 50% of their profits to support girls education programs in India through their partner Educate Girls to improve the lives of girls in Rajasthan. 

A Special Discount of 20% has been offered to my readers. Please use the code: THIRDEYEMOM at checkout.

Boutique Mexico

Boutique Mexico is on a mission to give back to the community by partnering with native artisans in Guerrero, Hidalgo, Puebla, Chiapas, and Oaxaca to help them earn a living and preserve the ancient crafts of weaving and embroidery that have been the creative expression of their communities for generations. Boutique Mexico takes pride in providing one-of-a-kind pieces designed by talented Mexican artisans. Each piece is a modern twist on an ancient crafting technique to create eye-catching, colorful bags that complement any outfit.

Conscious Step

Conscious Step is working to end poverty, one step at a time. Each pair of socks is matched with a leading non-profit and provides quantifiable impact through one of their ten partners. For example, in partnership with Matt Damon’s, each pair of Water Socks provides 18 months of safe drinking water for someone in need. Conscious Step socks are non-toxic, made with organic cotton and are vegan and Fairtrade certified, so they’re as soft on your skin as they are on the environment.

Global Wonders 

Global Wonders is a part of SA Foundation (SAF) Canada, whose goal is to stop the sexual exploitation & trafficking of young women through implementing their unique recovery model. All Global Wonders Products are handmade in Nepal by women who’ve been rescued from Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. Each purchase helps to support another woman’s journey to freedom from a life of slavery. Ships products worldwide.

Haiti Projects

Beautiful products hand-made by a cooperative of women in a rural village, this brand provides access to jobs at fair trade wages, education, health care, and avenues for building sustainable community. The second largest employer in a region of Haiti where over 100,000 people live with no electricity or public Haiti Projects makes a tangible impact on raising the quality of life for those who need it most.

Her Future Coalition (formerly MadeBySurvivors)

Her Future Coalition (formerly MadeBySurvivors) is an international nonprofit organization which employs and educates survivors of slavery and other human rights abuses, including many women and children living in extreme poverty. Products include jewelry, bags, gifts and cards and prices range. 100% of profits go back to the survivors who made them.

Humanity Unified

Humanity Unified International is a nonprofit organization that empowers communities to rise above poverty through education, economic opportunities and food security programs. They start by investing in women.

The Humanity Unified Mala Collection is made by women in India who have no other employable skills. Your purchase provides them with a fair paying job. 100% of profits supports an educational entrepreneurship program to empower vulnerable women in Rwanda with the skills necessary to launch small businesses. Each mala represents a prayer for women in Rwanda and for anyone who seeks the power to love, heal, manifest their dreams and to live in serenity, unity and compassion.  View the collection:


IZZAROO encourages and inspires families to play, create and explore more together. They offer a collection of handmade t-shirts for kids and adults. Founded on the mission to “Be The Good”, they donate 10% to organizations that help underprivileged youth do the same – play, create and explore. These organizations build playgrounds in areas of poverty, provide art education and outdoor experiences to inner city youth.


Kahiniwalla means the teller of stories in Bangla, the national language of Bangladesh, where these beautiful handmade toys, clothing and rattles are lovingly crafted. Each special piece makes a thoughtful, heartfelt gift for the children and grandchildren in your life. But perhaps one of the most powerful stories Kahiniwalla products tell is of one of hope. Every purchase helps women in rural Bangladesh provide better lives for their own children by earning a fair wage. 


Kurandza is a social enterprise non-profit that uses entrepreneurship and education to empower women and girls in Mozambique. One of Kurandza’s projects is a sewing cooperative that helps women, the majority of whom are HIV positive, to create and sell handcrafted jewelry, bags, and cards using traditional African textiles. The women receive fair wages for their work, and profits go back to the community fo fund social programs. The name “Kurandza” is the word “to love” in Changana, the local language of the women Kurandza’s works with in Mozambique.

National Geographic

National Geographic has a wonderful collection of gifts for curious kids, trips around the world for ambitious travelers, gear and inspirational gifts for budding photographers, and even personalized gifts.

Each gift aligns with National Geographic’s mission to further our knowledge and understanding of our world and helps support the non-profit National Geographic Society to fund future science and exploration. 27 percent of all proceeds from our store go back to the non-profit National Geographic Society, which funds scientific grants, research and exploration. To view the entire collection of holiday gifts offered, click here.


The Obakki Foundation is a small Vancouver-based foundation, created and run by local fashion designer (Obakki), mother and wife, Treana Peake. Obakki contributes 100 per cent of all public donations to their humanitarian projects. The foundation has drilled or rehabilitated more than 850 wells in the war-torn country of South Sudan, bringing clean water to an estimated more than one million people. And they have just promised six remote villages in the country that the foundation will help them to build a better future by providing each village with a much-needed fresh water well. All that Obakki Foundation needs to do this is to sell 500 of each of the new, stylish colours of scarves – as a part of their Scarves for Water program.

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Preemptive Love Coalition

Preemptive Love Coalition brings emergency relief and medical care to families on the front lines of the world’s most polarizing conflicts—in places like Syria and Iraq. But Preemptive Love doesn’t leave once the fighting is done. Instead they stay and empower refugees to reclaim their future from the ashes of war. The wash cloths are handmade by Syrian refugee and the candles are made by women impacted by the war in Iraq. The Soap set is made by different refugee groups.


PURPOSE provides freedom from slavery for young women around the world. Each piece of jewelry is handcrafted by artisans escaping human trafficking. Every purchase changes a life! PURPOSE is the brand under International Sanctuary, which is a nonprofit whose mission is to empower people escaping trafficking to embrace their true identity and worth.

PURPOSE Jewelry has worked with hundreds of young women around the world for the past 10 years. The art of jewelry making paired with holistic care ensures every artisan receives freedom and hope for the future. Holistic care is provided through our non-profit, International Sanctuary, and includes education, health care, and counseling. Their program provides every artisan with the life skills and opportunities to succeed.  

SOS Children’s Villages

SOS Children’s Villages ( is an international organization that builds loving, stable families for orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children across 135 countries, including the US. Through their family support and care programs, medical centers, schools and emergency relief efforts, they impact the lives of millions of children and families worldwide making sure that every child has the support and care he or she needs to grow, thrive, and lead a fulfilling life. SOS Children’s Villages is proud to partner with ALEX AND ANI. The specially designed “Imagine” Sandcastle Charm Bangle represents the strength and love that helps us build strong families for vulnerable children.  From May 2017 to December 2017, SOS Children’s Villages will receive a 20% donation of the purchase price to support its mission in building families for children in need in 134 countries, including Syria, Ethiopia and South Sudan. The bangle can be purchased at ALEX AND ANI retail locations, online, and through authorized retailers.


Sudara is a benefit corporation that exists to advocate on behalf of and empower women who have escaped from, or at the highest risk of, human trafficking by providing dignified employment opportunities to women in India. Sudara is a mission-driven lifestyle brand whose success is not just measured or defined in sales and revenue, but in our positive social impact and creating long-term, sustainable change. Check out their beautiful pajamas handmade by the women survivors of sex trafficking.

For the holidays, Sudara is offering discounted robe and short sets and holiday pajama sets with an average of 20% savings on original pricing as well as limited edition holiday colors.

Sunshine Nut Co.

Sunshine Nut Co. is a cashew company harnessing the food industry to create lasting economic transformation in Mozambique. We grow, roast and package cashews in-country, where we are able to go from tree to package in just three weeks. We directly employ over 30 people at our factory, and then we take 90% of our profits and reinvest them into philanthropic efforts: 30% to orphan care, 30% to farming communities, and 30% to replicate the business model elsewhere. Now in over 2,000 stores across the US, we hope that when you purchase our cashews, you taste the difference in the freshness and quality, and find hope in knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of the poor and orphaned in Mozambique.

Thistle Farms

Thistle Farms is a social enterprise of women survivors of prostitution and drug addiction that would provide an opportunity for a sustainable income and life for the women. Based in Tennessee, Thistle Farms houses a natural bath and body care company, Thistle Stop Café, a paper and seeing studio and a global marketplace called Shared Trade. Today, Thistle Farms employees more than 50 survivors and benefits over 700 women a year.  Proceeds support Thistle Farms and the residential program, Magdalene. The community provides housing, food, healthcare, therapy and education for two years, without charging residents or receiving taxpayer money.

Threads of Opportunity

Threads of Opportunity is a social enterprise partnering with refugee tailors who have fled their homes all over East Africa: South Sudan, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, and Uganda, to expand their product market. While these tailors provide local services, most of their clients are other refugees, most of whom are entirely dependent on UN and NGO handouts. Contrary to this traditional humanitarian model, at Threads of Opportunity, we believe that all people should have agency, the ability to control and make decisions in their own lives. We also believe in altruism, that people want to make a difference in the lives of others, but often-times just don’t know how. Our mission is to connect refugee tailors with markets in the developed world, to expand the opportunities for refugees to support their families by earning their own income and to provide a meaningful way for individuals to make a difference.

Too Young to Wed

Too Young to Wed, a non-profit organization, that employs visual media, photography exhibits and campaigns to educate and engage the global community to demand an end to the practice of child marriage, has launched a print sale of beautiful, hand-printed 8.5×11 archival pigment prints by Kenyan child marriage survivors and Too Young to Wed Founder, acclaimed photographer Stephanie Sinclair.

Prints are $100 each – with 100% of proceeds going directly to support Too Young to Wed’s important work in communities affected by child marriage. Visit WWW.TOOYOUNGTOWED.ORG/PRINTSALE to take home a photograph and help put a stop to early, child and forced marriage around the world.

Too Young to Wed

Anita, 15, as photographed by Monica, 12. Both girls were rescued by the Samburu Girls Foundations, supported by Too Young to Wed.

Sisters Yagana, 21, Yakaka 19 and Falimata, 14, were all abducted and held captive by Boko Haram until they escaped. The militant Islamist group, began itís insurgency against the Nigerian government in 2009. The terrorist group drew global outrage after abducting more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok. Many of the girls were forced into marriage and motherhood.

Anita, 15, enjoys the breeze at the Rift Valley viewpoint at Malasso, Kenya. Photo by Jane, 15.Named after an eight-year-old child bride in Yemen, Too Young to Wed’s Tehani Photo Workshop brought together 18 brave girls — including 6 student instructors from the previous year’s workshop — who escaped their marriages and were given the opportunity to pursue their education through the support of the Samburu Girls Foundation.

To the Market

TO THE MARKET | Survivor-made Goods (TTM) combines the powers of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous survivor populations, in the belief that resilience is more powerful than suffering. TTM showcases handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease. By assisting local partners around the world in bringing these goods “to the market,” we take an active role in equipping the survivor’s they employ with economic independence, while raising awareness of the challenges that they face.

Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs


A pair of Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs

Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs are reusable earplugs designed for live music. Unlike traditional foam earplugs that block and muffle sounds, Vibes lower the volume of your environment to a safer and more comfortable while still allowing you to hear everything around you clearly.

Vibes is partnered with Hear the World Foundation which provides hearing healthcare and hearing aids to children in need around the world, and 10% of our profits is donated to the Foundation to fund hearing health projects.

Other notable gifts that give back:

These two coffee table books,  Chicago Unleashed and Chicago Monumental by Larry Broutman.  Chicago Unleashed and Chicago Monumental not only make a unique gift for book lovers, photography lovers, and travelers, but purchasing these books supports a worthy cause as all author proceeds from both books go to the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Access Living Chicago. Chicago Monumental is an elegant, full-color, hardcover book of photography with images and information on over 250 public memorials, statues, and fountains located in the Windy City’s parks, streets, storefronts, bridges, and cemeteries. Chicago Monumental has recently picked up two book awards: a Midwest Book Award for best interior design and an IPPY (Independent Publisher) Award in the Great Lakes Nonfiction category.  Both can be ordered at 

1000 Shillings

1000 Shillings an international development organization that provides microgrants to impoverished women enabling them to start their own businesses and provide for their families. 1000 Shillings gives each woman a microgrant in exchange for a product they make that is sold on our website. Each woman then takes that grant and starts their own business that is sustainable in their home country (becoming a seamstress, selling casava root, etc) with the help of dedicated business mentors. The goal of 1000 Shillings is to give these ambitious women the opportunity they need to become self-sufficient and independent and support themselves and their families.

Looking for more ideas? Please feel free to check out my permanent page of Gifts that Give Back here for even more amazing products. Also, if you like this gift guide please share via social media. Think of the collective difference we can all make!

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

TO THE MARKET Celebrates World Refugee Day with the Launch of New Products

A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Jane Mosbacher Morris, Founder and CEO of TO THE MARKET | Survivor-made Goods. TO THE MARKET is an amazing, creative social enterprise that showcases handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease. By assisting local partners around the world in bringing these goods “to the market,” the organization takes an active role in equipping the survivor’s they employ with economic independence, while raising awareness of the challenges that they face.

I have featured TO THE MARKET’s products on my “Gifts that Give Back” page on my blog and have stayed in touch with Jane over the years to see what new initiatives they are working on. In honor of World Refugee Day (June 20th) and World Refugee Awareness Month (all of June), TO THE MARKET has launched a small collection of products in partnership with Art of Hope, a non-profit providing services to Syrian refugees in the Middle East.  I asked Jane to tell me a little bit more about the new product line and how we can use our purchasing power to make a difference. Here is what she has to say.

This was taken in the slums of Dehra Dun, India and shows Jane Mosbacher Morris (Founder of TO THE MARKET) talking with a mother of a polio survivor. Her son, the polio survivor, is able to work, allowing the family (including the mother pictured) to be supported. Photo credit: Neil Ruskin

Today is World Refugee Day, a day serving to bring to light the hardships faced by millions of displaced persons and acknowledge their perseverance. Our world faces an unprecedented number of displaced persons, 65.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to natural and manmade disasters (1). Of this population, a significant number of refugees come from Syria (1). Over 1 million registered Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring Lebanon, with over half below the age of 17 (2). Displaced persons often experience greater threat of physical violence, psychological traumas, disability and death.

The stark realities endured by the majority of displaced Syrians, and countless others across the globe, can often leave those of us reading this post thousands of miles away feeling helpless as to whether or not we can make a meaningful difference. But with today’s interconnected society we can, within even a matter of minutes, through support a new collection launched by TO THE MARKET and Art of Hope at the beginning of June.

In an effort to alleviate some of the trauma and psychological wounds forced upon Syrian refugees, Art of Hope provides Syrian refugee children based in Lebanon with therapy, counseling, and trauma-relief through various art therapy workshops as well as teaching them English through the arts. The organization also provides women and teens sewing classes, arts/crafts, and psychodrama workshops, as well as English courses while helping them cope with emotional challenges. In the absence of any educational, vocational, and psychological support for the refugees, Art of Hope’s help is sometimes the only support they will receive and it makes a tremendous difference.

Art of Hope released its first capsule collection using the drawing and hand-written letters of their Syrian refugee beneficiaries from Lebanon. Printed on 100% organic cotton, each bag is handmade by female human trafficking survivors in TO THE MARKET’s artisan network and then handprinted by a Syrian refugee child. 100% of the sales of the Art of Hope and TO THE MARKET collection will directly benefit Art of Hope’s programming on the ground in Lebanon.

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Here are some photos from the new collection. To see more details or to place an order, click here.

To The Market Art of Hope

Rula’s Drawing Tote Bag: This 100% organic cotton sheeting tote includes a screen print of a beautiful drawing originally done by Rula, an 11 year old Syrian refugee from Daraa, Syria who now lives in one of the most impoverished slums of Beirut, Lebanon. Rula suffers from anxiety and PTSD after fleeing her war-torn city in Syria.

To the Market Art of Hope

Rula’s Letter Toiletry Bag

To the Market Art of Hope

Aya’s Letter Tote Bag: This 100% organic cotton canvas tote in black includes a screen print of a letter originally written in English by Aya, a 16 year old Syrian refugee from Homs, Syria who currently lives in Lebanon. 1

Want to learn more? Please visit TO THE MARKET  ( and Art of Hope (


  1. Figures At A Glance [Internet].  Available from: UNHCR.
  2. Syrian Regional Refugee Response Inter-agency Information Sharing Portal [Internet]. Available from:



Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

Moeloco “Dream Crazy”: Buy One, Give One and Change a Life.

“When you truly are on purpose, the people, the opportunities and the resources you need will naturally gravitate toward you”.   -Jack Canfield

Have you ever had a dream that seemed impossible and almost crazy?  Kathy Wong, an entrepreneur from Australia did. After a career in business, Kathy came out of retirement to start a social enterprise named Moeloco which is a combination of two words, “Moe” derived from the Hawaiian word Moehani, meaning “dream” and “loco” is latin for “crazy”.

“Moeloco is my dream crazy. This dream began when I realized how disconnected humanity had become” says Kathy Wong, founder of Moeloco, a social enterprise dedicated to changing the lives of children living in extreme poverty. When Kathy learned that over 300 million children lack shoes, her entrepreneurial spirit and loving heart sprung to action and she founded Moeloco. Kathy chose flip-flops as her vehicle to fuel her social enterprise. In Australia and other parts of the world, flip-flops are a fun reminder of freedom and inspiration. Kathy jumped on that theme and designed each colorful flop-flop to leave a positive message in the sand such as “Be Happy” or “Love”.

Kathy’s mission is to build a heart-centered community who realize that their consumer dollar has enormous potential and power for positive social impact. Each purchase creates a ripple effect starting with the consumer and positively impacting the lives of underprivileged children and their community.

For each pair of flop-flops, Moeloco will donate one pair of covered canvas shoes to a child living in poverty through their collaboration with the Hope Foundation, an Ireland-based non-profit working to help the street and slum children living primarily in Kolkata, India. Each pair of donated shoes protects a chid’s feet, and also helps change their future by ensuring they can attend school.

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

“The Story of US”: How Humanity Unified is Supporting Women Farmers in Rwanda

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”. – Desmond Tutu

Do you ever feel like the connections we make in life sometimes seems like fate? The more I work in this tiny niche of social good travel bloggers, the more amazed I am by the incredible friendships and network I’ve made online. I’ve met countless inspiring bloggers and humanitarians online through blogging and social media. One such person is Maria Russo, founder of the award-wining online media platform for travel and social good, The Culture-ist and the non-profit Humanity UnifiedIt all happened because I follow her on Instagram where I noticed the amazing photographs her organization was posting on women and girls during a trip to Rwanda.

I commented on the photos and began a relationship online that resulted in an interview  and a post on her and her husband Anthony’s work as the founders of Humanity Unified. I was instantly drawn to Maria and Anthony’s passion for making the world a better place by starting at the grassroots level by improving the lives of women and girls in Rwanda. I have been working with Maria ever since.

This past International Women’s Day (on March 8th), I held a fundraising dinner to support Humanity Unified and I was elated by the results. In one night, we raised over $400! Although that may seem like a small amount to you and me, in Rwanda that money goes a long way. Roughly 70 % of Rwandans are substance farmers who rely on their harvests for income and with unpredictable weather, environmental disasters and climate change, a good or bad harvest can make a tremendous difference. Humanity Unified is trying to change this reality by empowering rural communities to rise out of poverty through education, food security projects and economic opportunities. They start by investing in women.

Humanity Unifed

Photo credit: Anthony Russo

Since 2015, Humanity Unified has been working in Rwanda with their partner Aspire Rwanda, a local NGO that empowers poor women to rise above poverty. The two organizations share similar missions dedicated to poverty alleviation through education, food security projects and economic opportunities.

Humanity Unifed

Photo credit: Anthony Russo

Humanity Unifed

Photo credit: Anthony Russo

Currently, the organization is empowering 110 women through a farming cooperative project that will ensure each woman earns a self-sustaining, livable income after completing a one-year intensive educational program.

The program provides the women with the skills and knowledge necessary to triple the cooperative’s yields over the course of one year. The 100 women enrolled in the cooperative, most of whom earn less than a dollar per day, are also attending workshops on gender-based violence, women and children’s rights, nutrition, positive masculinity (which includes male partners) and workshops designed specifically for single and widowed women. The program also provides training in cooperative management, financial planning and effective agriculture methods.

Food Security Gifts that Give Back Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD Women and Girls

10 Amazing Wines that Give Back

“For it is in giving that we receive”. – Francis of Assisi

If you have followed my blog for awhile, then you know how much I love curating my ever growing list of Gifts that Give Back on my blog. It has become my most popular page and is the most widely searched of all my content. When I saw a post on my friend’s blog Epicure & Culture on wines that give back I was elated. I love wine and I had no idea that there are wines that taste delicious and also give back to a cause to make a difference. She agreed to let me share the post here. I look forward to ordering some of these wines and knowing that I am also doing good while enjoying a delightful glass of vino!

Sip These Ten Wonderful Wines to Help Change the World 

This is an original post that first appeared here on Epicure & Culture and was written by Katie Foote, Epicure & Culture Contributor

wines that give back
There’s nothing like a glass of wine to help you relax after a stressful day at work or to complement a meal. While the alcohol in wine helps make you feel good, you can enhance that warm fuzzy feeling by purchasing the following bottles. With these you won’t just be sipping your everyday merlot; but wine that gives back to social causes and the environment.

Read on to choose which sip you want to support, from sustainable seafood to stopping animal cruelty to providing jobs for ex-inmates and beyond. Cheers to that!

wine that gives back

Berlin, creator of Proud Pour and bottles. Photo courtesy of Proud Pour.

1) Save The Oysters With Sauvignon Blanc

Proud Pour (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

When Proud Pour CEOs Berlin Kelly and Brian Thurber realized they shared a love for Mother Earth — and wine — a genius beverage was born. Their sauvignon blanc donates 100% of proceeds to the planet. In fact, the purchase of each bottle restores 100 oysters, which in turn helps clean 3,000 gallons of water per day. Adds Kelly, “Often times 100% of our profits aren’t enough to restore 100 oysters or plant 875 wildflowers per bottle, so we’ll forego salaries and use our personal savings to do the work.”

Their sauvignon blanc is sustainably grown on a family-owned vineyard in California. The wine’s floral notes are well balanced with minimal acidity and a smooth minerality to pair perfectly with farmed oysters.

wine that gives back

Meg Murray of Nasty Woman Wines. Photo courtesy of Nasty Woman Wines.

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD