More than ever, consumers want their dollar to make a difference. Amidst a sea of charities and giving opportunities, people want to be a part of something that creates real change. And in a market saturated with goods of all shapes and sizes, savvy shoppers are looking for something more than a commodity. Call it conscious consumerism or whatever you like, but today, many people are thinking more critically about where they put their money in hopes that their purchase will have exponential value and create a meaningful impact on the world around them.
Stand Together is proud to support social entrepreneurs across the country who are stepping into this void to offer solutions that empower people to transform their lives through skill-building and employment opportunities. These businesses create stronger communities, restore dignity and lift people to new levels of self-sufficiency. For those who are struggling to achieve their full potential, a job and the support of these programs can mean the difference between enduring poverty and achieving economic independence.
So, if you are looking for some unique, creative and meaningful products for gifts to treat yourself or someone you love, look no further than this guide. Here is a collection of some of the most effective social enterprises that are using their business models to create opportunity, strengthen communities and inspire change.
Thistle Farms – Nashville, TN
Thistle Farms empowers women survivors of trafficking, prostitution and addiction. These women are given a safe place to heal. They also learn new job skills and earn a living wage that allows them to support themselves and rebuild their lives. Many of these women are employed at Body & Home, Thistle Farms’ largest nonprofit social enterprise, creating natural bath and body products that are healing for both the customers who purchase them and the women who create them. Every sale benefits the women who make these products.
Shop Thistle Farms Featured Favorites:
ST Exclusive: Use promo code “StandTogether15” to receive a 15% discount on your entire purchase. (This code cannot be combined with other special offers.)
Coalfield Development – Wayne, West Virginia
Coalfield Development launched social enterprises like Saw’s Edge Woodshop and SustainU Clothing to help build community, revitalize and diversify the Appalachian economy and contribute to a better future for those living in West Virginia. Saw’s Edge Woodshop is a community-based workplace that makes hand-crafted goods with quality and care. Grit meets creativity here, and entrepreneurs harness the strengths of a small-town community to create new opportunities. Meanwhile, SustainU Clothing is another West Virginia-based enterprise that is changing the way clothes are made to create a positive impact on people’s lives. The company leverages local production, smart supply chains and inventory control to offer environmentally and socially sustainable apparel that is also affordable.
Shop Saw’s Edge Woodshop / Shop SustainU Featured Favorites:
ST Exclusive: Use promo code “HOLIDAYDEAL” to receive a 10% discount on your purchase at Saw’s Edge Woodshop / Use promo code “CANDYCANE” to receive a 15% discount on your purchase at SustainU.
Bonton Farms – Dallas, Texas
Bonton is proving that a farm can redefine community. In a town faced with a long history of neglect and hardship – including a population where 48% live under the poverty line and suffer from more than twice the rate of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke – a local garden turned thriving farm + market is creating economic opportunity and a thriving community. Bonton Farms grows organic produce and houses free-range chickens, goats, turkeys, rabbits and beehives that provide an abundance of fresh eggs, milk and honey. Through fresh and healthy foods, meaningful work, and a renewed sense of purpose, Bonton Farms is creating a blueprint for community-driven change. Buy some honey or swag and support the mission.
Shop Bonton Featured Favorites:
Women’s Bean Project – Denver, CO
At Women’s Bean Project, chronically-unemployed women find the tools and support they need to embark on a path toward self-sufficiency, stability and opportunity. While in the program, they take part in a robust program of classes and receive wrap-around support from a team of case managers, program volunteers and community partners. Women earn a full-time wage, build crucial professional and life skills and set goals that will carry into their next chapter. Each product sold helps lift women and their families out of poverty, homelessness and incarceration.
Shop Women’s Bean Project Featured Favorites:
UTEC – Lowell, MA
UTEC‘s mission is to ignite and nurture the ambition of our nation’s most disconnected young people, inspiring them to trade violence and poverty for social and economic opportunity. Madd Love Market is one such enterprise. Its products are handcrafted in Lowell, MA, and made from salvaged New England hardwoods. Each piece includes the UTEC logo as a reminder of its special craftspeople – young adults who are overcoming incarceration, lack of education and other challenging circumstances through craftsmanship, passion and life change.
Shop UTEC Featured Favorites:
Akola Project – Dallas, TX
Akola Project provides life-changing job opportunities for women in extreme poverty, typically with an average of ten dependents relying on them for care. Akola designs are unique, layered, textured and globally-inspired. Akola means “she works” in a local Ugandan dialect, and each piece of jewelry provides employment for a woman in need. Handcrafted in Uganda and manufactured in Dallas, Akola jewelry uses locally-sourced, high-quality materials, such as upcycled cow horn, hand-rolled beads and natural raffia. Whether you are looking for simple elegance or a statement piece, Akola creates distinctive designs by women for women.
Shop Akola Project Featured Favorites:
The Stand Together Community is proud to support these innovative entrepreneurs, offering the support and training to launch and grow businesses that are tackling many of the world’s long-standing social challenges.
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