Meaningful Gifts That Give Back

We can’t think of a better way to approach the holidays and the end of 2016 than in a socially conscious way.  Many of us have a new perspective this holiday season and hope to make our gifting more meaningful than ever.  We have suggestions for ways to touch the hearts of friends and loved ones with charitable gifts that give back and carry lasting impact.

Instead of material gifts that may soon be forgotten – invest in making a difference by supporting the volunteer rescue workers in Syria rushing to the scenes of bombings to pull people out from under the rubble and carry them to safety by donating in a loved one’s name to The White Helmets. Contribute to the International Rescue Committee to help save refugee families in crisis. Give the gift of helping struggling families lift themselves out of hunger and poverty – and send a girl to school through Heifer International.  Help CARE continue to save lives with food and emergency assistance, education and economic opportunity in places that need it most – and your funds will be MATCHED if you donate by December 31st – doubling your gifted impact.

If you’re looking to wrap up a gift invested in making a difference – check out these great options that give back below:


Help light the path out of poverty for adolescent mothers in Chicago by purchasing a handcrafted candle from Bright Endeavors – a paid job training program providing critical guidance to help young moms secure quality employment.

Assist in ensuring a safe pregnancy and safe birth to every mother, everywhere, by making a donation to Every Mother Counts in a loved one’s name – or purchase a gift from their shop.  100% of net proceeds from this lovely Flat Clutch will be donated to Every Mother Counts.

Purchase an adorable ethically produced hand-knit doll crafted by Peruvian artisans from Cuddle + Kind, and ten meals will be provided to food insecure children, through the World Food Program USA.

Give the gift of cozy socks from Bombas knowing that for every pair purchased a pair will be donated to a homeless person in need. Best of all, the donated socks are engineered to meet the specific needs of people who don’t have the luxury of a clean pair of socks every day.

Consider gifting from Mercado Global and helping indigenous Guatemalan women to overcome poverty and become agents of change in their communities. Check out this beautiful Amanecer Pillow that draws inspiration from traditional handwoven techniques that originate from Comalapa, an artisan village in the Central Highlands of Guatemala.

Gift a Mini Kane STATE Bag and let your teeny-recipient know that their gift also provides a hand-delivered STATE bag loaded with essential tools for success to a child in need in the U.S.


Every Mother Counts

On Mother’s Day, my thoughts are with the two mother figures in my life. My own mother – who gave me an incredibly love-filled childhood, and my mother-in-law who gives me steadfast support.  

I’m also naturally reflecting on my greatest gifts – my two children whom today bestowed me with trinkets, homemade art and messages of love that I will forever treasure.  I’m beyond grateful for the safe delivery of my babies, with sophisticated medical care in a small minimally invasive practice.  Yet I’m acutely aware that this is not the case for all.  According to the Centers For Disease Control, in the United States about 650 women die each year as a result of pregnancy and delivery complications.  However, in developing Countries, the maternal mortality ratio is 240 per 100,000 births, with approximately 800 women dying each day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth (World Health Organization).  

Photo via Every Mother Counts

Reducing the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters by 2015 is one of the Millennium Development Goals, and last week I learned about an organization that is committed to helping this cause. Thanks to the coordination of Culture Mom Media, I had the chance to speak directly with Christy Turlington Burns the founder of  Every Mother Counts.  Although many of us know Christy Turlington Burns from her modeling career, she is profoundly dedicated to reducing maternal mortality around the world, and has worked extensively in resource poor Countries.

I am no longer working in a formal public health setting and am especially happy to share ways that we can all help out.  Every Mother Counts launched a Mother’s Day campaign (taking place all year long) via Pinterest called “Give Mom a Thought“. Through social media, a “thought” can be given to show appreciation to the women we love as we recognize the disproportionate amount of women around the world who do not survive childbirth.

To learn more and get involved with Every Mother Counts, visit where donations can be made (in a loved one’s honor).