Have a Heart: Valentine’s Day Gifts that Give Back

The day of commercially induced amorous passion is nearly upon us. In addition to living a day of randiness and long-gazes, I’d like to suggest that we live a day of compassion. I happen to love Valentine’s Day, but I get an internal twitch from writing a post that encourages more consumption. He loves me, he loves me not. I buy, I buy not. But if I do buy, I buy something that has a social or environmental benefit. My list:

  1. Skivvies Cause Shoppe has several lines of panties for her and briefs for him that are made from 95% organic cotton, responsibly manufactured in Turkey and that kick back 10% to non-profits involved in forest or marine protection.
  2. Sweets
    Baking for Good makes cookies, bars and sweet snacks from all-natural and organic ingredients and gives 15% of the purchase price to the non-profit of your choice. Prices are competitive and the goodies are hand-baked. Greyston Bakery has been selling their brownies to Ben and Jerry’s for years and now you can buy brownies and a large collection of gluten-free products from them directly. Their motto:  “We don’t hire people to bake brownies. We bake brownies to hire people.”  Profits from their Do-Goodie products go to the Greyston Foundation to support jobs, child care, health care, and housing for the underprivileged.
  3. Wine
    ONEHope Wine donates 50% of profits to AIDS, Autism, Breast Cancer, Troops or the Planet based on the varietal purchased. $250,000 has been given to more than 150 charities.
  4. Tea
    Sensual and spicy Kashmiri Chai and Sechung Dark Oolong are sold by Indonique, which donates 10% of all sales to Mercy Corps to invest in tea growing communities in India. This company is growing its business by helping the peolple who grow its tea.
  5. Cooking with CSA
    Find a local Community Supported Agriculture program near you with Local Harvest and make dinner for your beloved or mince, puree and saute together. For a monthly fee you get deliveries of seasonal fruits and vegetables to your door every two weeks and recipes to help you figure out what to cook.
  6. (Bubble) Bath Products
    Pangea Organics makes natural, organic soap and beauty products in environmentally friendly facilities, packages them in boxes you can plant and gives 5% of profits to Women for Women International. Soap Hope retails Pangea Organics and other female favorites like Fraiche and Hugo Natural. Soap Hope invests 100% of profits in non-profit partners to support micro-finance loans to women.
  7. Flowers
    Not just organic, each bouquet from Organic Style is associated with a specific nonprofit. Buy a bouquet and a portion of the cost goes directly to its affiliated organization. Heifer, EarthShare, PETA, Global Giving or Amnesty International are just a few of the organizations you can choose from. PRODUCT(RED) just launched the online service FLOWE(RED). All profits from these ethically sourced flowers go to people living with HIV in Africa.
  8. Chocolate
    Sweet Riot is living the life of a startup with a social mission. Their ingredients are ethically sourced, natural and fairly traded. They support non-profits through in-kind donations and event appearances and they are transparent about where they are now (no cash donations) and where they want to be (deep partnerships with non-profits that will be more than just cash donations). Dagoba works with cocoa cooperatives in Costa Rica to sponsor re-forestation programs, partners with urban greening products in the United States, buys green power for its manufacturing plant and makes packaging from recycled packaging.
  9. Travel (and volunteer)
    If you’re like my husband, you would vastly prefer an experience over any object. GorpTravel and the Sierra Club offer volunteer trips ranging from rugged to cushy in the States and abroad.

Have another thought to offer? I’d love to hear it. Email me or leave it in the comments.


Leave a comment
  1. Cause Shoppe Gals February 5, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Olivia, what a great list! We’re honored to be a part of it.

    Since we don’t know a single lady who doesn’t enjoy the gift of jewlery, we can’t but help to add…
    10. Jewelry
    The key to her heart is a “charm”- ing Liz Claiborne bracelet that features a heart lock, key, and hope charm. 100% of the profits, after all related expenses, benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A steal for only $15


  2. admin February 5, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    Thanks for the suggestion Brooke. Great cause!

  3. Rich Anderson February 8, 2010 at 1:56 am #

    Hi, Olivia —

    Great post! How about a “Heart for Haiti” — http://bit.ly/cuOy8K

    Or a trip to Peru or Nepal or Kenya with World Neighbors to see people-centered development in action — http://bit.ly/PFWFx



  4. admin February 8, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Rich, thanks for the suggestions. World Neighbors does fantastic work (and has been doing so for decades). Thanks for including them here.

  5. Minority Fortune February 8, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    This was a great list of socially conscious gifting for Valentine’s Day. Hadn’t heard of some of these companies and will be looking forward to checking out their goods!

    By the way, there’s another jewelry addition that I’d like to add to the list. Oprah covered the jewelry of Joan Hornig (http://joanhornig.com/) because while it is pricey and sold in Bergdorf Goodman, 100% of the money goes to a charity of the buyer’s personal choice.