Philanthropic Shopping: The new form of gift giving for the holiday season

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Philanthropic Shopping: The new form of gift giving for the holiday season

UWL’s Love Your Melon Campus Crew Facebook Page

UWL’s Love Your Melon Campus Crew Facebook Page

UWL’s Love Your Melon Campus Crew Facebook Page

April Noethe Wolford, Student Government Reporter

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The holiday season is quickly approaching. Soon, finals week will become a reality and students will get a break to spend time with their friends and family. This also means that most people are on the hunt for a special gift for their loved ones. 

Because this season is usually busy, more and more are turning to the internet to complete their gift-giving exchanges, but few know about the new trend of online philanthropic companies. These companies usually use an online interface—as opposed to selling items in a storefront—and they donate a portion of their sales to various causes. 

With the cold, winter weather right around the corner, we’re bound to start seeing everyone bust out their Love Your Melon (LYM) beanies around campus. The hat company has been a hit around college campuses, with the appeal of their vibrant colors, cozy feel, and—of course—the bonus that the company gives back to those affected by cancer. 

When the company was founded, their mission was to donate a hat to every child battling cancer. Since then, they’ve given over 147,000 beanies according to the LYM website. Currently, LYM is donating 50 percent of profits to initiatives for pediatric cancer. 

This trend of philanthropic companies is not limited to beanies, though, with others such as Ivory Ella, DIFFEyewear and Brandless. 

Ivory Ella has created a similar structure with 10 percent of the profits from selling their branded apparel and accessories being donated directly towards monitoring and tracking elephants in an attempt to put a stop to poaching. 

According to Ivory Ella’s website, their philanthropic hand extends beyond the elephants, as they’ve donated 30,000 clothing items to schools and homeless, 500 backpacks to students who could not afford them and 200 meals to those in need. 

DIFFEyewear, a sunglasses company, shares a similar design. Their website states that they work with the organization Restoring Vision to travel to rural areas and provide eye exams and glasses to those that do not have adequate access to these services. For every pair of sunglasses bought, DIFF donates a pair of reading glasses. 

The company has also partnered with local markets in Uganda to provide fair-trade sunglasses pouches for customers. This system provides empowerment to the artisans who are able to make a living wage in exchange for their artistic talent. 

Fair-trade is a shared characteristic of an online grocery-store-company known as Brandless. 

Brandless has also committed itself to donating a meal to Feeding America for each customer checkout. Currently, the company has donated over 1.5 million meals. They also make an effort to engage in “office-wide volunteer days” in their San Francisco and Minneapolis area offices, according to their company website 

Something else that these companies have in common is that they cut out what they like to call “the middle man”—avoiding retailers and instead marketing directly to the consumer. Perhaps this is what allows them to focus their efforts on socially relevant causes. 

Nonetheless, the appeal of sourcing a philanthropic company this gift-giving season is knowing that you are giving back in more ways than one. 

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