Choosing gifts that come from the heart can be a challenge, but your friends and family are bound to appreciate a present that supports a heartfelt cause. From philanthropic trinkets and toys to beauty with charitable benefits and accessories that ignite a call to action, these do-good gifts will take care of everyone on your list, in addition to helping those in need.
Bobbie Thomas, TODAY style editor and author of The Buzz column for In Touch Weekly, presents a roundup of charitable gifts.
This is the last time anyone underestimates the power of lipstick! Thanks to Halle Berry’s efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence, Revlon is putting their money where her mouth is. The cosmetics company has committed to donating up to $25,000 to the Jenesse Center, an organization that is close to Berry’s heart. For every Super Lustrous Lipstick sold in her favorite color, Rose & Shine, Revlon will donate $1 to the Jenesse Center ($8; drugstore.com and nationwide retailers). The idea came about at the launch party for celebrity photographer Mark Liddell's book, “Exposed: 10 Years in Hollywood” ($30, barnesandnoble.com), which will also benefit the Jenesse Center, along with The Trevor Project, a crisis prevention helpline.
And cult-favorite beauty brands Kiehl’s and Smashbox are giving back in more ways than one this year. The gift of smooth skin has never been more rewarding, as Kiehl’s Limited Edition Crème de Corps collection will benefit RxArt, while all proceeds from their Hand Care for a Cure product will go to amfAR ($12.50-$70; kiehls.com). Meanwhile, for every palette purchased from their new Wish Collection, Smashbox is donating $1 to the Children’s Miracle Network, a nonprofit organization that helps sick and injured children ($20-$59; smashbox.com).
Show your family and friends exactly how you feel about them with Danielle Stevens’ engraved LOVE bracelet. During the holidays, 60 percent of proceeds from this piece go to Comfort Zone, an organization that councils children who are grieving ($66; daniellestevens.com). And Gemma Redux may be tough on the outside, but on the inside, it’s all heart. Each month, the trendy jewelry company designates one of its celeb-coveted designs, and donates 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of that item to a different charity. In December, charities Youth at Risk and GEMS will benefit from the sale of the customizable Omne necklace ($98-$154; gemmaredux.com).
Or, try a trinket that will help to empower women in need. Using seeds as beads, the jewelry from The Andean Collection is made by female artisans in Ecuador, who receive loans, school fees, business training, fair wages and cash bonuses from the collection’s sales ($18-$55; theandeancollection.com). Meanwhile, BeadforLife makes sure that 100 percent of net profits from their sales are invested back into community development projects for impoverished Ugandans trying to improve their lives through the jewelry-making craft. Plus, each piece is made with recycled, colorful paper — helping to prevent environmental degradation ($5-$30; beadforlifestore.org).
And finally, Same Sky’s handblown glass-bead bracelets are crocheted by women in Kigali, Rwanda, who were raped, and as a result, infected with HIV/AIDS during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, and are now struggling to lift themselves out of poverty. The bracelets are beloved by Hollywood celebs like Meryl Streep and Alicia Keys ($150-$175; samesky.com).
And don’t forget to let the man in your life know how thankful you are for his health. All proceeds from Julia Failey’s “Mustache Cufflinks” go to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation ($115; juliafailey.com).
Fashion and home
If you’re looking to splurge on a present this year, why not set your sights on something that helps others, too? During the holidays, 100 percent of all proceeds from Sama Eyewear’s Shadow frame and Heart of Gold frame benefit The Sam Vance Foundation, an organization committed to supporting the fight against drug addiction in youth ($375-$1,500; call 310-271-1734). And if you want to find a handbag that literally lends a helping hand, MadebySurvivors offers bags, wallets, camera cases and more, all of which are made by survivors of human trafficking and slavery. All net profits from the products are reinvested to fight slavery and help survivors build a bright future ($6-$125; store.madebysurvivors.com)
For the working woman or man in your life, give their wardrobe a lift while lifting the spirits of others this season. For every one of her computer bags purchased, Jane Marvel will donate two bags to the nonprofit Dress for Success, which provides professional attire for disadvantaged women ($92; janemarvel.com). And while updating his attire, you can choose from 21 World Collection and 11 Classic Collection ties that benefit Save the Children. The World Collection features prints indigenous to regions where Save the Children works, while the Classic Collection boasts designs by creative kids ($30-$35; savethechildren.org).
And for a philanthropic flame or frame that is sure to win any hostess’s heart, look no further than UNICEF. UNICEF Ambassador Lucy Liu hosted the organization’s annual Snowflake Lighting in New York on Nov. 19, and you can give the gift of love and light, too, with UNICEF’s beaded braid candle. Or opt for one of the charity’s classic picture frames ($8-$15; shopcardsandgifts.unicefusa.org).
Kids always love to cuddle with a new stuffed animal, but it will mean even more if their plush toy represents the nature they’re nurturing. Thanks to the Sierra Club’s Wild Places Sponsorships, proceeds from the purchase of your child’s fuzzy friend will benefit a national park where that animal can be found (sponsorships listed at $25 and up; sierraclub.org/wildplaces). Or, adopt a polar bear, panda, koala, dolphin or other endangered species through the World Wildlife Foundation, and get a symbolic stuffed animal to give as part of the adoption kit ($50 and up; worldwildlife.org/giving).
And finally, take a good look at the kid’s gifts on www.givewink.com. For every $100 spent on the site, a child in need gets an eye exam and glasses. Choose from an assortment of presents such as puzzles, toys, books and backpacks for your little one to enjoy, and know that your gift gives back to other kids, too. Last month more than 300 children in Colombia were given the gift of improved sight, and this spring Wink hopes to provide eye care to at least 500 children worldwide ($16 and up; givewink.com).
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