The holiday season is in full swing, and for many of us that means finding both the perfect holiday gift for the people we love and finding ways to support organizations with a social mission. This year has been unlike any other, and while the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the global markets, social enterprises — businesses that exist to achieve a social mission — carry on, generating pathways to financial independence for individuals and families.
They create social impact through innovative products and services that not only meet market needs and desires but also provide jobs to people who face significant barriers to mainstream employment. Your support of the work featured in this gift guide, especially during this time, keeps vulnerable populations employed, helps them build essential skills, and advances the mission and financial stability of vital nonprofit organizations.
If you are looking for some unique, creative, and meaningful products to treat yourself or to send to someone you love during this time, look no further than this gift guide. Here is a collection of some of the most effective social enterprises run by nonprofits that the Stand Together community supports. These organizations, called Catalysts, are using their business models to create opportunity, strengthen communities, and inspire change.
For the foodies
Cafe Momentum – Dallas, Texas
A top-rated restaurant and culinary training facility, Café Momentum embraces the innate abilities of youth ages 15-19 exiting juvenile detention by offering a paid 12-month internship, trusting them with running a top-notch restaurant while achieving critical milestones like high school graduation. Youth are provided the opportunity to master problem-solving and build confidence necessary to pave a new path. Cook up your own creation with holiday gift boxes of the restaurant’s must-have pantry products. Shop other featured products below:
Bonton Farms – Dallas, Texas
Bonton Farms operates a 40-acre farm just outside of Dallas, providing meaningful work for marginalized individuals and healthy fresh food for the community. Bonton Farms is creating a blueprint for community-driven change. Buy some honey or swag and support the mission. Shop the featured items below:
Old Skool Café – San Francisco, California
Old Skool Cafe is a jazz-themed supper club in San Francisco where at-risk youth run every aspect of the business. Through its intensive vocational training and supportive community, it seeks to break the cycle of poverty and incarceration. Shop the featured items below:
Women’s Bean Project – Denver, Colorado
Women’s Bean Project provides transitional employment in gourmet food manufacturing for chronically unemployed and impoverished women. These 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 the featured items below:
Hot Bread Kitchen – East Harlem, New York
Hot Bread Kitchen creates economic opportunity in East Harlem through culinary job training and a small business incubator. They employ women from around the world, leveraging their talents and passions to launch careers in the food industry. Buy the cookbook here!
Thistle Farms – Nashville, Tennessee
Thistle Farms is a nonprofit social enterprise dedicated to helping women survivors recover and heal from prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. 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. Shop the featured items below:
Out of the Blue Granola by Blue Monarch – Monteagle, Tennessee
Blue Monarch provides a residential Christian community where women dealing with addiction, domestic violence, and economic hardship learn to break destructive cycles and rebuild their families. Their Out of the Blue shop provides their residents employment, selling delicious, homemade, and healthy snacks, along with pottery, clothing, and stationery. Shop the featured items below:
My Possibilities — Plano, Texas
My Possibilities provides vocational education for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities though a variety of opportunities including speech and language therapy, vocational training, and career services. Soaphope.com, now part of Mpact — the organization’s social enterprise project — was created to demonstrate the value of inclusive employment of people with disabilities. The social enterprise offers personal and household cleaning products, and more. Shop the featured items below:
For the creatives
Mobile Loaves & Fishes Community Market – Austin, Texas
Mobile Loaves & Fishes operates a 51-acre master-planned community to restore dignity for the chronically homeless. Its micro-enterprises empower individuals to transform their lives by putting their passions to work. Browse the Community Art House gallery.
PeaceLove – Pawtucket, Rhode Island
PeaceLove believes creative expression inspires and heals. They work with individuals, families, and organizations throughout the country to improve mental health and better quality of life through art therapy. Shop the featured items below:
Project LIFT – Tampa, Florida
Through vocational skills training and mentoring, Project LIFT empowers at-risk teens to replace negative behaviors with positive tools. Their non-traditional approaches empower teens to make healthy life decisions and become productive members of their community. Browse the Project LIFT shop.
For functional décor
Saw’s Edge Woodshop and SustainU by Coalfield Development – Wayne, West Virginia
Saw’s Edge Woodshop’s products are handmade in Appalachia as part of Coalfield Development’s commitment to workforce development and rebuilding the local economy in the wake of the coal industry’s rapid decline. SustainU is focused on changing the way clothes are made to improve the environment, reinvigorate America’s manufacturing sector, and educate the world about how clothing can positively impact people’s lives. Shop the featured items below:
Madd Love Market by UTEC – Lowell, Massachusetts
Products made from salvaged New England hardwoods are handcrafted by ambitious young adults seeking to trade violence and poverty for social and economic success. 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 the featured items below: