Gifts that Give Back

- ByThe Social Agency

For many years now, we’ve had a passion for social enterprise. The idea that philanthropy can be built right into a business so that a single purchase impacts real people in meaningful ways, is simply awesome.

With the holiday shopping season rapidly approaching, we want to spread the word about a few of our favourite local and international socially minded businesses. If you’re looking to feel even better about your holiday purchases, look this way:



  1. Dignify. We recently learned about this beautiful Alberta-based business, which turns recycled saris into quilted blankets. By doing so, they provide employment for at-risk and previously exploited or trafficked women. They also sell hand-made jewelry, toys and accessories.
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  3. Toms got super popular a decade ago, and while you’ve likely outworn your first pair, this awesome business model will never get old. For every pair of shoes purchased, Toms donates a pair to a person in need. They now do the same with their eyewear line. We like this pair.
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  5. Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by selling their products via long-term, fair trade relationships. We have purchased many adorable books and gifts in stores, but now peruse their online store for finds like this sweet necklace.
  6. Global Mothers. We’ve found some very on-trend jewelry on Global Mothers, which also carries toys, accessories and yoga mats. Every product has a story, providing income to a mother in need. This relatively small organization has a great reputation for making a real difference in the lives of the women they partner with.
  7. We’ve been very inspired by the great curations at Give Generation, a hub of great products and businesses, all of which give back, where we’ve found great businesses like Live Fashionable. Take a look and you’ll find many more!
  8. Me to We. We’ve been perusing the Me to We gift guide, where every gift can help improve lives overseas. These Waya bracelets and these Rafiki bracelets make great gifts.

We hope this brief look at a few of our favourite social enterprises has got you inspired. Please let us know if you have any of your own give-back favourites to share with us.

(Oh, and if you’re dining out over the holidays, be sure to check out Vancouver-based Meal Share. When you dine at one of the participating restaurants (lots of the best local restaurants participate), and select one of the #mealshare menu items, you’ll automatically be giving a meal to a person in need. Talk about holiday cheer!)