Holiday 2013: Gifts That Give Back

For those looking to "pay it forward" with their holiday spending, here are a few worthy causes to consider.

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Global Goods Partners
Those looking to inspire goodwill during the holiday season have many ways to do so. Global Goods Partners works with artisans around the world, offering them economic opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have in their small communities. These felt ornaments are hand-made in Nepal, $8 each.
Falling Whistles
A charity organization called Falling Whistles creates whistles to promote peace in the Congo. Revenues raised by the organization go toward building local coalitions, investing in Congolese entrepreneurs, and promoting political advocacy here and abroad. A variety of finishes and metals are available, including a rose-hued whistle, and prices start at $38.
For every pair of Juntos shoes sold, an education pack filled with a year’s supply of pens, pencils, notepads and other essentials is given to an at-risk child in Ecuador. At $48, they are a wallet-friendly choice, too. They are made from comfortable canvas and there are styles for men and women.
If you've ever wanted to provide sustenance to those in need, you can do that through Heifer International. For $120, you can give a sheep, pig or goat to a family in need, which will not only nourish the family, but in some cases provide a source of income through sales of the animal's milk, as well as a source of fertilizer for their crops. You can donate as little as $25 to cover a portion of the animal's cost and send an honor card to let your friend or family member know you donated in their name.
You've likely heard of, or even owned a pair of TOMS shoes, the company that gives shoes to the neediest people in 60 countries. But did you know TOMS also makes sunglasses? For every person who buys a pair of sunglasses, TOMS trains (with help of the Seva Foundation) local residents of developing countries to provide medical treatment, eye surgery and prescription glasses to those in need.
Designed Good
Designed Good is a curated selection of products that aim to have a positive impact on the world, such as bags that fight global hunger, an indestructible soccer ball, and eco-friendly yoga mats. The "Stitch the Stars" kit ($25) is made in the USA, printed on recycled card stock (with glow-in-the-dark ink!) and includes glow-in-the-dark embroidery floss.
Yes To
There are a lot of reasons to love the "Yes To" beauty brand: all of their products are at least 95% natural, all packaging is recyclable, and they give back through their "Yes to Seed Fund," which helps plant gardens in Kenya to feed schoolchildren. This year, "Yes To" will donate 1% of their company profits to the seed fund, and 100% of the proceeds from Yes to Cucumbers Towelettes (shown here) will be donated to the fund.
Red Earth Trading Company
Red Earth Trading Company works with artisans in Uganda and Kenya to create jewelry, accessories and home goods. They work directly with the artisans to improve their businesses, and five percent of every purchase goes to Know Think Act, which works to end extreme poverty. The Liz Bracelet ($32) is made in Kenya.
Blanket America
Blanket America sells all manner of blankets, throws and bedding, and for every sale, the company donates a blanket to an American in need. In addition to American donations, they have provided disaster relief and blanket donations to those in Haiti, as well as partnered with Gifts In Kind International.
Two major natural disasters this year — Typhoon Haiyan and tornadoes in the Midwest — caused an incredible amount of damage. Thousands of people lost their lives in the Philippines, and millions more are still displaced. Mid-westerners whose homes were destroyed during the tornadoes are still recovering. During times of crisis, money is the best donation you can make. Consider these organizations, who have opened up relief efforts specifically for the Philippines: The Philippine Red Cross, World Food Programme and for tornado relief, the Salvation Army is taking donations via text: STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation, also visit
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