Christmas is now mere days away, but time is nothing in today’s world of prime and express shipping. And of course there’s always brick and mortar stores. Are you still looking for a gift for that person who has everything or that family member who is hard to buy for? Well maybe you should consider doing business with any number of “one for one” companies.
In a word: TOMS. You know those comfy, casual, and a tad crunchy for some slip on shoes? I love them and have many pair. I also love that every time I buy a pair, someone somewhere gets a pair for free. That’s the “One for One” business model and it was basically invented by TOMS Founder Blake Mycoskie. His simple idea has grown into a global movement of helping a person in need with every product purchased and what better way to spread the holiday spirit than by giving…and giving twice?
These for-profit businesses are also charitable without asking for donations. It’s all revolutionary and highly successful, with TOMS shoes alone providing more than 86 million pairs to children worldwide. On top of that, TOMS Eyewear has restored sight to more than 600,000 people and TOMS Roasting Company has helped provide more than 600,000 weeks of safe water just in the last four years.
So what can you do? You can shop TOMS or any number of companies who give back when you give. Here are just a few examples:
This Dallas-based nonprofit’s mission is “Give Poverty the Boot,” and they back it up quite literally by donating a brand new pair of rain boots to those in need every time you purchase a pair of their rain boots. So why rain boots you ask?
Roma Boots believes that if your basic needs aren’t met, then your higher needs can’t be met and shoes are important tools to fulfilling many a basic need. Children in need often lack proper footwear, leaving their feet exposed to harsh weather as well as cuts, bites, infections, and parasites. Roma Boots chose rain boots because they provide protection from all of that and because they are a necessity in cold and wet climates but can also be worn in dry and arid climates.
You really can’t go a day without seeing someone in a stylish pair of rain boots so why not take the right step and make your next purchase a pair of Roma Boots?
Many medical professionals in resource-poor areas don’t have access to basic medical supplies, including sanitary clothing. In fact, many perform life-saving procedures in jeans and t-shirts. Enter Figs Scrubs’ “Thread for Thread” initiative.
For every pair of scrubs bought through the program, Figs will provide antimicrobial scrubs to health care providers worldwide. So far, the company has donated thousands of scrubs in more than 35 countries and looks to continue doing so through generous customers’ buying habits.
Yes, I know scrubs aren’t the most sought after or longed for Christmas gift, but maybe you can make them special by ordering a themed pair for that nurse or doctor in your life. Or how about buying a bundle of them for that new med school graduate in the family? Think of the lives you might save!
BETTER WORLD BOOKS
This one is an idea right after my own “loves real books” heart and it’s simple: every time you purchase a book on betterworldbooks.com, they donate a book to someone in need. Leave it to two Notre Dame grads to come up with this brilliant idea.
Christopher “Kreece” Fuchs and Xavier Helgesen were sitting around after graduating from Notre Dame wondering what they were going to do with their newly minted degrees that held little promise in a falling economy. They ended up getting jobs tutoring the Fighting Irish football team and ran with an idea they put together after seeing so many textbooks going unused or being discarded.
Fast forward a few years and you’ll find them behind a business model that made “cents” and was environmentally friendly: keep books out of landfills, sell some, and donate others. They partnered with libraries, held book drives, and even won a business plan competition at their alma mater.
To date, Better World Books has raised millions of dollars for literacy, saved millions of books from landfills, created jobs for hundreds of people, and has provided books to millions who might otherwise not have them to read. The hope is to continue saving literacy and the planet and the company is happy to note the rest of their story is still being written.
TWICE AS WARM
The Twice As Warm Project has one simple goal: provide new winter clothing items to people in need. Specializing in gloves, hats, scarves, and tops, TAW creates high-quality, made in the USA products that keep you warm and spread warmth to others. Each purchase you make provides a new clothing item to someone through the “Wear One, Give One” option. In addition, the same items are given to local shelters and organizations in need of warm winter clothing for their clients.
So you’ve probably heard or seen the ads for these socks, billed as the best socks ever. They might very well be fabulous to wear, but what’s also fabulous is that for every pair you purchase, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. So far, the company has donated nearly 13 million pairs of socks.
It all started when founders heard that socks are the number one most requested clothing item at homeless shelters and knew they had to do something. They got cracking on creative marketing campaigns knowing full well that the more socks they sell, the more they can donate. Social media and advertising were buzzing with a new word: bombas. And rightly so.
Derived from the Latin word for bumblebee, Bombas is not only the company’s name but its inspiration. You see, bees live in a hive and work together to make their world a better place. They’re small but their combined actions have a big impact on the world. That’s why the company is named what it is and why its mantra is “Bee Better.”
The sock company has taken things a step further so to speak, in that they don’t donate the same socks you and I might buy, but ones specially designed for homeless shelters and the homeless population. Specially engineered scokcs were created to specifically meet the needs of people who don’t have the luxury of putting on a clean pair of socks every day. An anti-microbial treatment ensures they don’t need to be washed as often and reinforced seams and darker colors give them greater durability with less visible wear. I’d say this alone qualifies as being better.
Water, water everywhere. At least that’s what it seems like on a daily basis as water bottles are everywhere you turn. I carry one with me almost at all times and it’s not uncommon to see others doing the same. So, rather than buying a reusable bottle from just any place, why not do so at lifestraw.com?
For every product you purchase, whether it is a reusable water bottle or a water filter, a school child somewhere receives safe water for an entire year. In fact, the LifeStraw team is committed to redefining the safe drinking water space through technology, innovation, and product quality and design. Drink up, but do so in a way that helps others.
I recently discovered this company by accident when I bought a couple of Christmas presents that benefitted The Animal Rescue Site. Come to find out the site is part of Greater Good, which provides easy online ways to help people, pets, and the planet.
Since its launch, Greater Good has contributed more than $50 million to charities worldwide in addition to more than $175 million in cash and in-kind grants to partners across the globe. The group believes in paying a fair market wage and gives preference to products made in a sustainable fashion or by fair-trade collectives. They will not do business with those who engage in child labor, coercive manufacturing environments, or treat animals inhumanely.
Their partners include:
- The Hunger Site funds food for the world’s hungry and food insecure.
- The Animal Rescue Sitefunds food and care for rescued animals in shelters and sanctuaries.
- The Breast Cancer Sitefunds mammograms and care for women in need.
- The Veterans Sitefunds meals for homeless and hungry veterans and their families.
- The Autism Sitefunds research and therapy for children on the autism spectrum.
- The Alzheimer’s Sitefunds promising research into the disease.
- The Diabetes Sitefunds leading-edge diabetes research.
- The Literacy Sitefunds new books for children in need.
- The Earth Sitefunds tree planting that sequesters carbon and provides wildlife habitat.
- The Rainforest Sitefunds preservation of endangered rainforest habitat.
Some donate a percentage of purchases and some participate further through “one for one” programs. Past projects have addressed a wide range of vital needs including disaster relief; food and care for people and animals; providing mammograms and related support to women; funding research in the areas of autism, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and breast cancer; preserving and reforesting threatened habitats; and providing scholarships and new books to children.
PURA VIDA BRACELETS
Here’s one that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s not a company that gives the “one for one” option, but it gives. And gives big.
Anyone who knows me knows my husband and I love Costa Rica. We go there every year and come home each time more and more in love with the country and the people who live by the slogan “Pura Vida,” pure life. It’s a philosophy of living life to the fullest and treasuring life’s simple pleasures that permeates the small Central American country that has no military. It’s the Switzerland of Central America and its celebration of life was not lost on two Southern Californians who saw it, felt it, and started a company that embodies it.
Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman visited Costa Rica as a graduation gift in 2010 and crossed paths with two bracelet makers who created beautiful artistry yet lived in poverty. Griffin and Paul asked them to make 400 bracelets to take back with them to California, which they sold in a small, local boutique. The bracelets immediately sold out and the two knew they were onto something bigger and greater.
Today the bracelets are worn by millions around the world and artisans now span the likes of Costa Rica, El Salvador, India, and places in between. Every Pura Vida bracelet is handmade with quality and care and the artists making them can now depend on a steady income and positive working environments.
The company partners with nearly 175 charities around the world and has donated more than $1.5 million to causes and charities. There are specific bracelets for a host of causes ranging from hurricane relief to baby loss to suicide prevention. The bracelets serve as a reminder that good can come in the simplest form and to slow down and live in life’s littlest moments. I’m a proud supporter of Pura Vida Bracelets.
So there you have it, just a few companies that have made it big but give back in a big way. I know there are many others like them that I’ve left out, so if you know of any, please let me and my readers know. There are never too many opportunities to help those in need and to spread the Christmas spirit every day and every month of the year.
Happy shopping and Happy Holidays to all!