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Gifts That Give Back, 2023 Edition

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Gifts That Give Back, 2023 Edition

December 21, 2023

Instead of grabbing a gimmicky White Elephant gift or a knickknack for the in-laws (all of which creates more waste), how about a donation to support an org doing good work in the world? Here, seven worthy causes for a gift that gives back.

photograph by marili forastieri from the monochrome holiday: 8 high/low de 17
Above: Photograph by Marili Forastieri from The Monochrome Holiday: 8 High/Low Design Tips from Tricia Foley.
  • José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen is “on the ground all over the world, feeding people in need,” Margot says. All proceeds from the sale of The World Central Kitchen Cookbook go towards the organization’s emergency response efforts.
  • Annie recently heard about The Oasis Alliance, based in Washington, D.C., which transforms spaces for the recently housed and survivors of assault into well-designed, safe, and comfortable homes.”Most people believe that interior design is a luxury,” the group says. “We believe that interior design is an underutilized tool to empower, encourage, and resurrect people at their lowest point.” Two other orgs. doing similarly good design work: Humble Design in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Seattle, and San Diego and Joy Street Initiative in the Bay Area.
  • “The nonprofit 350.org is a leader in the movement to wean the world of its fossil fuel dependency,” reports Margot. Learn more about their work, and make a donation, here.
  • Julie (and all of us) are fans of do-good design marketplace Goodee, “a community of socially-conscious design enthusiasts who put caring for people, and the planet, at the center of everything we do,” as the company says. “While there is power in good design, we believe there is infinitely more in design for good.” Among their curated collections of small-batch, eco-friendly wares, you can shop by cause, with proceeds going towards wildlife conservancy, marginalized communities, gender equality, and more.
  • “UNICEF has an amazing gift shop at the holidays,” says Nell, both in the UK and the US. Each purchase of an artisan-made offering directly benefits children in need: The sale of each of these charming recycled papier mache hooks, for example, can vaccinate 17 kids against polio. Or, donate directly: $186 buys newborn kits for 20 babies.
  • “This year I’m gifting memberships to the Wild Seed Project,” which helps preserve native plants and support biodiversity, says Gardenista contributor Laura. “A membership includes the organization’s annual publication, and I’m ordering some seeds to wrap up, too. Another good option: a membership to The Garden Conservancy, which opens the doors to dozens of private gardens through their Open Days program.”
  • “Gardenista has recently partnered with the Perfect Earth Project on a series of stories on how home gardeners can be more sustainable in their landscaping practices,” says Fan. “The nonprofit, founded by Edwina von Gal, spreads the gospel on toxic-free, nature-based gardening—and I’m now a firm believer, too. You can donate here.”
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