Find the Gift that Keeps On Giving

Editor’s Note: This post kicks off a month-long blog series, “Business Gives Back.” Check back frequently for stories of how individual member companies help tackle big problems.

The holidays approach quickly, threatening to come too fast, even. We are all starting to think about – you got it – gifts. 

Every year I am challenged to the perfect way to materialize how much I value my friendships, relationships, and family members.  You might not know it, but we all have the opportunity to purchase gifts that make a difference in more lives than just your loved one.   A number of retail and cosmetic companies are offering ways this season to use their products to also contribute to international causes, including Gap Inc., Kate Spade, M∙A∙C Cosmetics and Estee Lauder.

You can find the (Product) RED line in all of Gap’s stores nationwide. When you buy something from the (Product) RED line, half of the profit from the product is donated to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.  Earlier this month, the Global Fund announced its second-largest round of approvals of grant proposals, with the board signing off on a two-year commitment of $2.4 billion. You can also refer your gift recipient to Gap’s (Product) RED homepage, where they will have the chance to read stories about the people who are positively impacted by this program.  

If accessories are what you looking for, Kate Spade has some options for you. As reported in a recent Elle magazine article, Deborah Lloyd, creative director of Kate Spade, and Zainab Salbi, who founded Women for Women International (WfWI), traveled to Bosnia, where Kate Spade has contracted WfWI to establish a micro-credit and jobs program for women. 

The program in Bosnia and Herzegovina trains and employs women, who have been devastated by war, to make mittens, hats, and scarves for Kate Spade this holiday season. Currently Kate Spade employs over 300 women in the region who, on average, make $7-15 per piece — double the salary of the average worker. You can buy these products at Kate Spade stores around the country and locate a store closest to you here

In addition shoppers this season can also find these offers from Cosmetic Companies such as M∙A∙C Cosmetics and Estee Lauder.

M∙A∙C Cosmetics donates 100% of proceeds from the VIVA GLAM line of Lipsticks and Lipglass to the M∙A∙C AIDS FUND which supports people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.  M∙A∙C also raises money for the Fund through the Kids Helping Kids Campaign, which raises funds specifically for children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. This year’s campaign, which will benefit Helen Keller International’s Homestead Food Production (HFP) program in Cambodia, offers a collection of beautifully illustrated cards, created by children between the ages of 3 – 10 from Helen Keller International’s HFP programs in Tanzania and Cambodia.  The Kids Helping Kids cards are available at all M∙A∙C locations, and this year, in keeping with the times, you can also get special edition e-cards via an online marketplace that connects people to causes.

In addition, Estee Lauder has several beautiful Pink Ribbon products that are not only great holiday gifts, but also support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s (BCRF) global efforts to find a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime.
An alternative holiday gift-giving idea that is exciting and rewarding is to sponsor critical research in honor or in memory of a loved one. Through BCRF’s Time For Research™ program, you can help make a difference by sponsoring research hour by hour: a half-hour for $25, one hour for $50, half-a-day for $600.  There is no limit.  In four easy steps, you can create your donation page, set a donation goal, make a donation, and then share your donation page with friends and family.

Happy holidays!