Each time you shop at UncommonGoods, we donate $1 to a non-profit partner of your choice through our Better to Give program (at no cost to you). In 2010, we were proud and honored to welcome American Forests, the oldest conservation organization in the United States, to Better to Give. Since then, we’ve donated more than $380,000 (and counting!) to further American Forests’ mission to protect and restore forests worldwide. But there’s still work to do.
UncommonGoods team members are passionate about their work. As partners, parents, sons, and daughters, we’re also committed to family. All workers should be able to balance the two, but most Americans can’t afford to take time off to care for a new child or seriously ill loved one. In fact, the United States is the only industrialized nation without a national paid leave program, and only 14 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave through their employer. Thanks to a lot of active voices (including ours) New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the strongest paid leave policy in the United States last year. However, there is still more work to do.
The B Corporation community often compares the value that B Corp certification is for business to “what Fair Trade certification is to coffee, or USDA Organic certification is to milk.” When we became a founding B Corporation in 2007, we committed to meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. While we are proud to exceed the standards required by our certification, there is more work to do in using our business as a force for good. We know that we wouldn’t be true to our values if we didn’t take a stand for causes we believe in. What could happen if the value that business brings to workers’ rights has the potential to be what the Civil Rights Movement was to human rights, or what the Women’s Suffrage Movement was to voting rights?
On International Women’s Day, we took an important step in our corporate advocacy efforts by announcing the launch of our interactive Paid Family Leave Map, a resource to learn the status of your state’s paid leave campaign and take action.
During the launch, Jay Curley, the Senior Global Marketing Manager for fellow B Corp Ben & Jerry’s, visited our team to speak to us about how businesses can be activists and help change the world. We couldn’t have been in better company that day. Ben & Jerry’s has a long, successful, and delicious history of advocating for important causes through creative campaigns. Ever enjoyed a carton of “I Dough, I Dough”? That flavor was created for their campaign to support marriage equality. What about a scoop of “Save our Swirled”? That flavor was created to send out a SOS for our planet. Ben & Jerry’s is not only an inspiring example for B Corporations, but also an example of how a business can incorporate advocacy initiatives to reflect its core company values.
Common knowledge. You know, the sort of stuff you’re supposed to learn in the school of life—like don’t put your tongue on the flagpole in December. Uncommon knowledge, on the other hand, is a more elusive matter. It’s the kind of facts that might make you lose a little sleep wondering why, how, or even what the heck? Our designs often inspire such tantalizing trivia and these Uncommon Knowledge highlights illustrate those quirky connections. And to keep things extra-uncommon, we’ve added a fresh batch of bonus facts. With this uncommon knowledge in mind, any of these goods are conversation-starters.
How Romantic is the Animal Kingdom?
Snoozing sea otters holding hands, penguins proposing with pebbles, and puppies that believe in chivalry—the animal kingdom is full of aww-worthy stories. For humans, romantic inspiration can be as simple as a walk through snowy woods. Read more >
Extra-uncommon knowledge: Male peacock spiders really know how to bust a move in their efforts to woo females. Their courtship dances include fancy footwork, rapid vibrations, and a rainbow abdomen flap that they raise like a flag.
At UncommonGoods we strive to use our business as a force for good. One of the ways we do so is by giving to non-profit organizations that we care about through our Better to Give Program–which lets you chose a non-profit partner to receive a $1 donation (at no cost to you) each time you shop.
As the leader of our Sustainability Steering Committee, I am proud that our relationships with our Better to Give partners go beyond the monetary donations we make, by having elements that include volunteer outings, speaker sessions, and attending off-site special events hosted by our selected non-profits. While all of these areas are partially what makes it an absolute blast to work for UncommonGoods, what is most inspiring is hearing about when our team members take it upon themselves to support our Better to Give partners outside of our organization.
Since October, our Merchant Assistant, Tanya Castin, has been devoting her nights and weekends to becoming a volunteer working with one of our Better to Give partners, RAINN. Last month, Tanya completed her training and is officially an online hotline staffer for RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline.
A speaker session with RAINN’s Development Director Chelsea Bowers that we hosted back in August prompted Tanya to get involved. “Just hearing stories about our team members’ experiences with sexual assault and being aware of the statistics [related to sexual abuse] pushed me into taking action,” she explained. “Being an online hotline staffer was something that I didn’t know was an option, but when I found out about it through our guest speaker, I looked it up online and found that they had one slot open in a New York City-based training over a weekend, so I signed up.” Signing up was the first step toward a large undertaking. To be a hotline staff, RAINN’s requirements included an in person weekend training session (16 hours split between a Saturday and Sunday), followed by a robust online training program.
Last Valentine’s Day, we asked you to tell us about your most uncommon date. We loved reading about all the disasters and happily ever afters so much we had to do it again. This time around, we received over 75 entries ranging from adorable to downright cringe-worthy.
After hours of deliberation, we managed to select two winners and three honorable mentions.
Grand prize winner number one, Eileen Field, shared a slightly illegal and very romantic blind date story with us via our blog:
As an independently owned business, we have the ability to support causes we believe in and to impact the world in a positive way–so each time you shop at UncommonGoods, we donate $1 to a non-profit partner of your choice through our Better to Give program. Although the donations are at no cost to you, your purchases have allowed us to donate more than $1 million to our partners since 2001.
Last summer, we were proud and honored to welcome the International Rescue Committee to the Better to Give program. Since June 2016, we’ve raised $57,000 (and counting!) for their mission to aid refugees and families afflicted by conflict around the globe. But there’s still work to do.
Thomas Mascaro, Customer Service Supervisor
My hometown is…
Verona, PA (a suburb of Pittsburgh).
My favorite food of all time is…
Any kind of pasta, but it has to be made with my mother’s homemade sauce!
My favorite place to hang out in New York City is…
Fort Greene Park. It’s only a couple of blocks from my apartment and an amazing place to relax without a lot of noise or people. It’s also got a great view of Manhattan from the monument at the top of the park.
The best customer interaction I’ve had at UncommonGoods is…
A repeat customer from the past two holiday seasons. I helped pick out gifts for her grandchildren both times. This year she actually called back after Christmas to thank me and to let me know she’ll be calling for me again in November.
Since working at UncommonGoods I’ve learned…
What it’s like to be part of a team where everyone helps each other out no matter how busy it is.
I’m inspired by…
People who are willing to take risks and deal with the challenges they face in order to try and better themselves. I’m also inspired by people that help others and never expect anything in return.
An uncommon fact about me is…
That I played basketball for 2 weeks in 6th grade until my coach decided that even though I was really tall for my age I had no coordination. A fact that is embarrassingly still true today. I trip constantly walking down the sidewalk and up the stairs and am always walking into something.