Editor’s Note: #GivingTuesday is December 3rd, and philanthropy comes in many forms. Some people give their time, while some give money. Still others donate resources, be it food or last year’s winter coat off their backs. No matter what or how you choose to give, and no matter how much or how often, the bottom line is that you’re making a difference in someone’s life. And you never know how he or she may someday pay it forward.
Want to make a positive impact for social change, but aren’t sure how to start? Go shopping.
Consumers can easily justify buying a new pair of shoes when they know another pair will be donated to someone in need. TOMS has perfected the art of guilt-free shopping with its One for One program. TOMS signature guilt-free experience is taken one step further with the introduction of the Marketplace – an online retail site dedicated to social innovation. Purchase a Gatsby tote bag and you can simultaneously make a book donation to a community in need. Buy a wine holder – and help create jobs in Uganda. The site has given new meaning to ‘pay it forward.’
The online marketplace gives consumers a number of shopping options. Products include jewelry, accessories, bag, apparel, home, tech and more. However, you also have the option to shop by cause, region or brand.
As visitors peruse and click through the site, each item has the details you’d usually expected when shopping online. Price, descriptions and reviews of the products are available. But also included is information about what cause the product supports, the regions that it benefits and information about the brand.
TOMS Marketplace includes 30 small companies that are dedicated to doing business differently. “We believe social entrepreneurship is a movement that is here to stay, and the TOMS Marketplace is our way of bringing awareness to so many amazing companies, causes and products,” said TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie.
These companies support causes and issues spanning 61 countries and six continents.
Half United features its jewelry line here and donates half the proceeds to fighting childhood hunger. The brother-sister duo, Christian and Carmen Black, founded Half United with $200 and a strong opinion about childhood hunger. To date, Half United has donated over 80,000 meals to school lunch programs and book bag buddy programs, which provide children with weekend meals. The company has also funded the planting of school gardens.
The signature piece in their jewelry line is an empty bullet casing. The reason behind the choice is inspiring. “We know bullets carry a negative connotation, but we decided to take something negative and turn it into a positive – to fight hunger. Repurposed, the bullet doesn’t destroy lives; it supports lives,” said co-founder, Christian Black.
Apolis is making strides towards social change differently. Shea and Raan Parton created a business that focuses on bridging the gap between commerce and economic development. Through sourcing and manufacturing their products locally, they are able to create work for those who might not have had it. The Parton brothers choose their manufacturing partners by taking a look at how well they treat their employees, as well as ensuring an open line of communication. It is their goal to use business as a platform for social change.
Falling Whistles is a company dedicated to campaigning for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their message is simple: Be a whistleblower for peace.
The company believes that the people of Congo are in the best position to solve the problems there. Falling Whistles invests in entrepreneurs living in the Congo who are dedicated to solving some of the region’s most challenging issues. Those entrepreneurs include Dr. Jo, a man who built a hospital and trained dozens of local doctors. Sekombi is a man dedicated to achieving freedom of speech in a war zone and. heads up the fastest-growing radio station in Congo. Blaise is an agricultural entrepreneur who turned Quina trees into a self-sustaining business and provides low-cost malaria treatments to people in Congo.
The Marketplace is highlighting companies that are doing more than just practicing social responsibility: they are incorporating philanthropy and social innovation into the foundation of their business model.