15 Places That Give Back When You Buy From Them
Social responsibility is becoming more and more of a priority for companies around the world who seek to improve lives through education, healthcare, clean water, and a host of other worthwhile causes. During your next online shopping spree, consider these 15 companies that give back when you purchase from them.
1. OUT OF PRINT
In the spirit of giving back to people in need, Out of Print hopes to bring more books to Africa. Partnering with the organization Books for Africa, Out of Print donates a book with each purchase made on their website. In addition to its mission of bringing books to underprivileged communities and eradicating illiteracy, Out of Print is also at the forefront of the authors' rights movement, supporting the publishers, writers, and artists “who made these iconic works an integral part of our lives.” According to Fortune, the company had donated 1,000,000 books as of 2014 and only continues to grow.
One of the first major companies to advocate the “One for One” model of making a donation with each purchase, TOMS Shoes has been innovating in the field of corporate responsibility and social engagement since its founding in 2006. According to the company’s website, TOMS is philanthropically active in more than 70 countries and to date has donated over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need. In light of the success of the one-for-one shoe program, TOMS launched TOMS Eyewear in 2011 with a similar goal in mind: bring resources to communities in need. Providing prescription glasses, medical treatment, and sometimes sight-saving surgery in 13 countries, the TOMS Eyewear program also supports sustainable, community-driven eye care programs that help to create jobs for young women and train volunteers. Other recent TOMS initiatives include TOMS Roasting Co., which works to provide clean water to communities in need, and TOMS Bag Collection, which facilitates training and resources for safe births around the world.
Founded in 2010, MiiR makes sleek, eco-conscious water bottles, bicycles, bags, and other accessories. Taking its name from one of the original environmental conservationists, John Muir, the company prides itself on sustainability and transparency, inviting third parties to audit its production and donation processes. MiiR has completed 44 large-scale water projects in countries like Uganda, Laos, Honduras, and more. Projects include both deep-bore and hand-dug wells, UV sanitation, and biosand filters. According to the company’s website, every MiiR hydration product sold helps provide a full year’s supply of clean water for one person. In addition to its focus on sustainable water supplies around the world, MiiR is also very active in contributing bicycles to communities in need: The company has provided over 3000 bicycles to people both at home and abroad.
4. PROJECT 7
Founded in 2008, Project 7 is a specialty gum and mints company committed to improving the world around us. The popularity of the company’s uniquely-flavored products has led to partnerships with most major retail outlets, as well as a host of non-profit organizations. The company takes its name from seven global issues it supports, including environmental sustainability, housing for the homeless, food and water shortages around the world, healthcare, education, and anti-bullying campaigns. According to the company’s website, Project 7 has planted 3.7 million trees, provided 3.1 million meals in the U.S., facilitated 1.1 million hours of education, and more. All of the company’s products are proudly made in the USA, but its reach is global.
5. WARBY PARKER
These days, if you see someone with stylish eyewear and you think, “Hmm, I wonder where those are from?” the answer is very likely to be Warby Parker. The New York-based company started out with a simple goal in mind, bring affordable yet stylish glasses to the masses, and provide eyewear to people in need all around the world. One of the only carbon-neutral eyewear brands in the world, Warby Parker has distributed over a million pairs of eyeglasses to people in need. A pair of glasses in the hands of someone who needs them can have profound, tangible results. According to the company’s website, a pair of glasses increases productivity by 35 percent and can increase monthly income by 20 percent. Partnering with non-profit VisionSpring, Warby Parker is committed not only to providing glasses, but also to creating sustainable networks of both manufacturing and eye care in communities across the globe.
With its straightforward slogan, “One for you, one for me,” Yoobi is committed to providing supplies to students who need them in schools around the U.S. With a full line of desk organizers, writing tools, notebooks, and more, Yoobi has an exclusive partnership with Target (its products are also available on the company website). Yoobi’s colorful products are intended to spark creativity and make learning fun and exciting for kids. With every item purchased, Yoobi adds an item to a Classroom Pack, essentially a grab-bag of essential learning tools. Once a Classroom Pack is full, Yoobi's partner, Kids in Need Foundation, helps the company find a school to send it to. The company’s website features some shocking statistics about school supplies: 99.5 percent of all teachers buy essential classroom supplies out of their own pocket, which adds up to a staggering total of $1.6 billion spent every year by hardworking teachers.
Offering a range of workwear for medical professionals, FIGS has created a business model focused on providing unparalleled comfort for doctors and nurses working long hours, as well as working with communities in need. In 2015, FIGS was honored with B Corporation’s Best for the World award—a testament to the company’s focus on sustainability, transparency, and philanthropy. For every set of scrubs sold, FIGS gives a set to a healthcare provider in need. To date, the company has provided over 75,000 sets in 26 countries. Scrubs are an essential part of a sterile and effective healthcare environment. According to the company’s website, clean scrubs reduce hospital-acquired infection rates by 66 percent.
8. HAND IN HAND
Access to clean water is one of the most challenging issues plaguing communities around the world—and Hand in Hand, a sustainable soap company, wants to do something about it. According to the company’s website, over 5 million people die each year due to poor water quality and lack of proper hygiene. With a focus on natural and fair-trade products, Hand in Hand donates a bar of soap and provides a month of clean water to children in need with every product purchased.
9. TWICE AS WARM
Twice as Warm was founded in 2010 using a ping-pong table as its corporate headquarters. The company operates on the wear one, give one model, with each purchase leading to a donation. All of the company’s products are made in the U.S., and the high quality products available on their website are the same items donated to local shelters and other organizations fighting homelessness and poverty.
10. SMILE SQUARED
Many countries around the world not only lack running water, but also hygienic and effective toothbrushes and toothpaste. Kids around the world suffer constant oral pain, as well as a lack of self-esteem that makes them hesitant to smile. That’s where Smile Squared comes in. The company’s toothbrushes are made of bamboo, one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and with every purchase, Smile Squared donates a toothbrush to a child in need. To date, they’ve donated oral care products in all 50 states and in 24 countries around the world.
11. ONE WORLD PLAY PROJECT
One World Play Project seeks to enrich the lives of communities around the world by providing the means to play sports and games, a part of life which the company deems essential to a healthy, full life. One World Play Project started in 2010 as One World Futbol Project, an organization dedicated to providing soccer balls to people without access to such sporting equipment. The ball was designed to be extra durable for use on even the most unforgiving surfaces. With a buy one, give one program as well as major sponsorships from corporations like Chevrolet, One World has distributed over 1 million balls around the world.
WeWood makes handcrafted watches using mostly scrap-wood and advanced Miyota technology for inner-workings, creating a striking hybrid of modern design and ecological sustainability. The first watch was designed a few years ago in Florence, Italy, and the company quickly expanded to the United States, where it partnered with organizations like American Forests and Trees for the Future. With every purchase, WeWOOD plants a tree. Since 2011, the company has planted over 420,000 trees, with the ambitious goal of planting over 1 million by 2020.
Sevenly helped pioneer the "cause art" movement with products that relate directly to a specific charitable endeavor. Each week, Sevenly activates a new campaign. With every purchase of an item linked to that campaign, the company donates 7 percent of the profits. Monthly and yearly campaigns also facilitate donations to various causes and organizations around the world. In less than five years, Sevenly has raised $4.5 million for a host of charities and causes.
14. THE COMPANY STORE
The Company Store, a purveyor of home goods since 1911, seeks to combat poverty and homelessness among children across the United States. With its buy one, give one program, The Company Store will match each purchase of a comforter from its website or catalog with a donation of one to a homeless child in America. According to the company, in a given year, 1 in 50 American children is homeless. By partnering with the organization Family Promise, The Company Store is able to donate thousands of comforters every winter to children in need.
15. ROMA BOOTS
For every pair of Roma boots sold, the company donates a new pair to a child who needs one, and 10 percent of all proceeds go to educational initiatives. Roma is philanthropically active on five continents, and through the Roma for All Foundation, the company has begun partnering with nonprofits in Romania, Guatemala, Mexico, and Colombia to provide education for children in need. As the company continues to expand, its mission continues to grow and change, while the central goal will always remain breaking the cycle of poverty that grips so many children in so many countries across the globe.