There is a long list of reasons for why I begged to join the UncommonGoods team, but mainly it was my curiosity about our roots as a founding B Corp and our commitment to a creative flagship donation program called Better to Give. (Although, it also didn’t hurt that it is located near top-notch taco joints and the best dim sum and soup dumplings New York City has to offer.) The Better to Give program epitomizes what we strive to do in all aspects of our business. Through the program, we show how to use business as a force for good, while offering all stakeholders an opportunity to express themselves through digital advocacy for organizations that align with our values and vision.
We’ve all heard the old phrase “It’s better to give than to receive,” and as a B Corp, we truly mean it. We even took the name for our Better to Give program from that sentiment, because we know that giving back to the community is an important part of becoming a better business.
Every time you shop at UncommonGoods, we donate $1 to the non-profit Better to Give partner of your choice, and over the past 12 years, that’s added up to over $1,000,000 in donations. On December 1, 2015, we want to give a little extra by participating in #GivingTuesday.
Help us give more by taking to social media to tell us why you believe that it’s better to give than to receive using the hashtags #BettertoGive and #GivingTuesday. We’ll donate $1 a share for the first 5,000 shares to our non-profit partners and we’ll pick three participants (one each from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) to win $500 to donate to the non-profit organization of their choice.
While you don’t need to shop to share, we do plan to give our traditional Better to Give program a little extra love on #GivingTuesday as well. Place an order on December 1 and we’ll donate an extra dollar on your behalf to the organization you choose at checkout.
By participating in #GivingTuesday through social media or by selecting one of our partners when you shop, you can help us make a difference for a child learning to read, a woman survivor of war, a survivor of sexual abuse, or a natural habitat facing potential deforestation.
Donations to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, fund programs that prevent sexual violence. RAINN also operates National Sexual Assault Hotline and partners with rape crisis centers across the country. By providing resources for policymakers and the media and building community partnerships, RAINN promotes nationwide education and awareness about sexual violence. They also work to ensure that rapists are brought to justice.
Donations to American Forests help them protect and restore forests damaged by human action and natural disasters around the world. American Forests, the oldest non-profit conservation organization in the United States, has planted more than 45 million trees since 1990.
Donations to Women for Women International allow them to help women survivors of war by bringing them together in safe spaces to learn life, business, and job skills. By giving women the tools and resources they need to overcome crisis and poverty, Women for Women International helps them become independent, while building stronger families and communities.
Donations to Reach Out and Read help them continue their mission to put children on the path to success through the development of early reading skills and school readiness. The organization works with thousands of doctors and nurses across all 50 US states to integrate children’s books into well-child visits and encourage parents to read to their children.
We’re extremely proud of the positive impact we’ve helped our non-profit partners make in the world and we’re looking forward to helping these great organizations do more good as we celebrate #GivingTuesday.
American Forests is the oldest nonprofit conservation organization in the United States. Watch this short video message to learn more about how we’re helping them restore trees in an area that’s home to at least 150 pairs of bald eagles and more than 250 other wildlife species through our Better to Give program.
We’re proud to announce that we’ve now donated over $1 million to our Better to Give partners, thanks to the support of our amazing customers. All year long, we give customers the opportunity to select a non-profit organization with every order placed. When a partner is chosen, we then donate $1 on the customer’s behalf. Over the week of Thanksgiving, we raised that donation to $5 for those visiting our site through a special email campaign. We saw the donation rate skyrocket during this time, taking us past the $1 million mark on Black Friday.
It fills all of us with pride to think about the impact we’ve been able to make with these donations, especially as a mid-size business operating out of one warehouse in Brooklyn. One of the fundamental reasons that our founder Dave Bolotsky started this company was to prove that capitalism could be a force for positive change in the world, and passing this $1 million milestone serves as validation of that concept. We know, however, that none of this would have been possible without a community of talented artists supplying us with appealing products, non-profit organizations dedicated to furthering meaningful causes, and wonderful customers who are receptive to what we are trying to do.
We’ll continue to donate a dollar to a Better to Give partner each time you order, so don’t forget to choose one of these non-profit partners next time you’re shopping with UncommonGoods.
RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, carries out programs to prevent sexual violence. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline and partners with more than 1,100 rape crisis centers across the country. They also provide resources for policymakers and the media, build community partnerships to promote nationwide education, and work to ensure that rapists are brought to justice.
To date, 147,415 customers have chosen to donate to RAINN.
American Forests is the oldest non-profit conservation organization in the United States. Their mission is to protect and restore forests worldwide. Since 1990, they’ve planted more than 45 million trees–helping to preserve the health of our planet for the benefit of its inhabitants.
To date, 192,037 customers have chosen to donate to American Forests.
Women for Women International helps women survivors of war by providing them with the tools and resources they need to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency. By bringing women together in a safe space to teach life, business, and vocational skills, Women for Women International helps them become independent. This creates a ripple effect that not only benefits the women enrolled in these programs, but also builds stronger families and communities.
To date, 111,972 customers have chosen to donate to Women for Women International.
Reach Out and Read‘s thousands of doctors and nurses promote early literacy, language skills, and school readiness to young children and their families in all 50 states. By integrating children’s books into well-child visits and encouraging parents to read to their children, Reach Out and Read lays a foundation that puts children on an early path to educational success.
Reach Out and Read is our newest partner. We’re thrilled that 18,304 customers have already shown their support for this organization through Better to Give!
We’ve worked with many other organizations over the years, so we’d also like to take a moment to thank everyone who donated to our past partners. Whether through a years-long partnership or a more short-term campaign focused on a particular crisis, we’re proud to support the work of each and every one of these amazing non-profits.
Next Generation Nepal – 2,069 Givers
Defenders of Wildlife – 92,496 Givers
World Wildlife Fund – 41,517 Givers
Craft Emergency Relief Fund – 47,572 Givers
Comprehensive Development Institute – 71,805 Givers
Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary – 1,051 Givers
AmeriCares -169, 281 Givers
City Harvest – 95,427 Givers
B Corporation – 425 Givers
HarlemLIVE – 8,496 Givers
Save Darfur – 727 Givers
Thanks again for helping us reach this $1 million milestone. We’re looking forward to celebrating the next $1 million with you soon!
I asked our friends at American Forest last month what they’d been able to do with our Better to Give donations over the past year. Turns out they’ve planted more than 59,000 trees across the US. Isn’t that incredible? And it’s all because of you. Each time you pick American Forests at checkout, we donate $1 to their tree-planting programs. Thanks for your loyal support!
Since 2010, UncommonGoods has helped support the planting of more than 59,000 trees through American Forests’ Global ReLeaf® program. This partnership has planted trees in critically important locations that span across 6 states and 9 separate ecosystem restoration projects. American Forests is proud to have planted the following trees on behalf of UncommonGoods and all of their respective customers and employees.
Name: Spotted Owl Habitat Restoration in Angeles National Forest– 210 Trees
American Forests is partnering with the USDA Forest Service to replant areas of Angeles National Forest that have been damaged by wildfires. It will take three years to replant all of the damaged areas. In 2011 project work will include growing seedlings, preparing the site, and planting and monitoring. This project will work to restore the critical habitat for the California Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis) and other threatened, endangered, or sensitive plant and animal species. The Spotted Owl’s primary habitat is forest areas that include Douglas fir.
The wildfires destroyed 10% of that habitat within Angeles National Forest. This project will also protect the local ecosystem. The site is part of the watershed at the headwaters of Los Angeles River. Soil erosion has negative effects on aquatic species in the Los Angeles River so the newly planted trees will prevent soil in and around the planting site from eroding into the river. The planting will also help prevent future wildfires by restoring the site with native tree species before the land can be taken over by non-native grasses.
Name: Poe Cabin Fire Restoration – 22,691 Trees
American Forests is teaming up with the USDA Forest Service to replant areas of the Nez Perce National Forest that were damaged by wildfires. Planting trees at this site offers numerous benefits, including a decrease in soil erosion which will lessen the amount of sedimentation being deposited into the area’s water sources. This in turn will help to protect anadromous, fish that live mostly in the ocean but breed in fresh water, fisheries located along the Snake River. Deer and wild turkeys will also benefit from this project. Reforesting the area will provide these species with places to hide and keep warm during the winter months. Part of the reforestation project encompasses the Pittsburg Landing Road, which allows access to the Snake River. The river provides a host of recreational activities and is a popular tourist location. This project will plant tree species, including the severely threatened whitebark pine, a species found in the western US and Canada that is threatened by wildfires, mountain bark beetles, and blister rust. American Forests is sponsoring various projects to reforest white bark pine this year.
Name: Kraft Springs Fire Rehabilitation – 8,470 Trees
American Forests is partnering with the USDA Forest Service to reforest areas within the Custer National Forest. This area has been damaged by multiple wildfires, occurring in 1998 and 2002. The area continues to see an increase in wildfires due in part to a changing climate which has created warmer and dryer conditions. These conditions have allowed wildfires to burn with previously uncharacteristic severity. As a result of the wildfires, forested habitat has been reduced by 69 percent. Reforesting this area with ponderosa pine will increase habitat and food supply for elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, and goshawk.
Name: The Chiginagak Volcano Valley, Alaska Native Tree Restoration Project — 6,613 Trees
The Chiginagak Volcano Valley in the Alaskan Peninsula was damaged by a lahar flow that greatly decreased the wildlife population and destroyed much of the foliage. The lahar flow also reached creeks, contaminating them with sulfuric acid. The purpose of this project is to restore the native habitat and protect the water by replanting 350,000 trees.
The trees to be planted are Alders, Poplars, Willows, and dwarf conifers to ensure native species diversity. This project also benefits the area economically. The rivers and streams damaged by the lahar flow feed into Bristol Bay, which supports a large fishing industry. Repairing the ecosystem will bring back fish into these streams and ultimately into Bristol Bay.
Name: Showerbath Wildfire Reforestation — 2,000 Trees
Approximately half of the planting site was harvested in the early 1970s and unsuccessfully replanted with Douglas-fir Seedlings. The mortality of that planting was very high because of the harsh conditions created when most of the overstory was harvested. This project will plant 63,000 Douglas-fir and Lodgepole pines over 210 acres to continue to protect many species of wildlife, improve watershed conditions, and to keep the Salmon-Challis National Forest enjoyable for recreational use.
Name: 2010 Kirtland’s Warbler Habitat Creation — 5,500 Trees
This reforestation project in the Huron Manistee National Forest is designed to plant 402,000 trees over 369 acres with the state of Michigan and the US Forest Service in order to provide habitat restoration for the Kirtland’s Warbler. The Kirtland’s Warbler is an endangered species song bird which requires both the particular Jack Pine specie to nest in and scattered openings of land to fulfill their habitat needs. The trees themselves must be in the range of 4-15 years old for the Kirtland’s Warbler to nest in, making the effect of this project not fully seen until down the road. These specific conditions that the Kirtland’s Warbler requires will be put in place to combat the ever increasing encroachment of human inhabitation on the bird’s habitat. The trees for this project will be planted in the spring of 2010 by local contractors.
Name: Cave Gulch & Maudlow-Toston Fire Rehabilitation — 7,500 Trees
This project will reforest an area of the Helena National Forest that was burned in the 2000 Cave Gulch and Mauldow-Toston fires. Roughly 40,000 acres of National Forest Lands’ were burned by these fires located in the Big Belt Mountains. Over 400 acres of this land will be planted on with 130,000 Douglas-fir and Lodgepole pines. This project hopes to improve the local watersheds, which contain critical fish-bearing streams that are also important to the other wildlife in the ecosystem that count on these fish for food.
Name: WildEarth Guardians 2010 New Mexico Riparian Restoration — 200 Trees
WildEarth Guardians aims to plant over 65,000 native shrubs and trees across four distinct watershed located in total throughout the state of New Mexico. These four project areas are located along the Santa Fe River, Bluewater Creek, La Jencia Creek, and the Rio Puerco. All of these watercourses have seen intense historic disturbance regimes, including domestic and wild ungulate overgrazing and browsing, destabilized stream channels and banks, non-native shrub and tree establishment, extreme temperature loading and fluctuations, and impacts of off-highway vehicles. These impacts have resulted in degraded stream and riparian area functionality. The goal of this project is to restore function to the area by undertaking a variety of proven restoration measures, including non-native species removal, stream channel and bank stabilization, native species reforestation, domestic and wild ungulate control, and prohibiting off-highway vehicle access.
Name: Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge — 5,859 Trees
American Forests continued the partnership with the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge for the 14th consecutive year by supporting the on-going reforestation of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. This area is one of the most biologically diverse regions in all of North America and is also one of the poorest, though fastest growing, regions in the United States. The reforestation of this corridor benefits the unique wildlife of this subtropical region, including endangered species such as the ocelot and jaguarondi. More than 490 species of birds and about 40 percent of all North American butterfly species (300+ species) live in this four-county project area. This project helped maintain a bountiful and biologically diverse land as a key component to the area’s ecotourism industry.
This holiday season, the term “Secret Santa” got a new meaning when mysterious donors paid off Kmart layaway accounts across the country. This heart warming story definitely helped get us in the holiday spirit, but it also got us thinking about ways to do good all year long.
We try to make it easy for our customers to help us give back through our Better to Give program. Through this program, we donate $1 to the Better to Give charity of your choice each time you place an order with UncommonGoods. Here’s what our partners were up to in 2011, and how you can get involved in 2012.
AmeriCares provided aid around the world in 2011, including continued work with earthquake and tsunami survivors in Japan, providing emergency relief to victims of recent flooding in the Philippines, awarding more than $600,000 in disaster recovery grants to nonprofit organizations across the United States, and much more. With your help, we donated $7,928 to the humanitarian relief organization between October and December.
RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, expanded their programs, helped thousands of people through their online and telephone hotlines, and educated millions about sexual abuse. Customer’s choosing RAINN as their Better to Give organization helped us give $18,910 to the nonprofit in our fourth business quarter last year.
The organization is currently working with sexual assault victims from Penn State, and are supporting Penn State Alumni in White Out Child Abuse, a national awareness event. If you’re in one of the eight major cities involved, you can participate on January 21, or visit their website to donate online.
You can also help by joining RAINN in supporting the SAFER Act, a “no-cost bill that will create the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (SAFER), which will track the status of DNA evidence collected in rape cases.”
In 2011 American Forests established the Science Advisory Board, a diverse group of scientists from different fields, geographic areas, and work experiences, to help address the complex issues America’s forests are facing.
American Forests also launched the Forests for Fifty campaign, an effort to complete reforestation and education projects in all 50 states. Through this campaign, the organization will plant more than 5 million trees throughout 2011 and 2012.
City Harvest Since 1982, City Harvest has been collecting excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms and delivering it, free of charge, to nearly 600 community food programs throughout New York City. In 2011 the organization delivered more than 30 million pounds of food to hungry people. The organization also provides education and assistance when it comes to nutrition counselling, prevention of diet-related diseases, and bringing sustainable, affordable food to low-income areas.
On May 11, 2011, City Harvest raised almost $500,000 to help New York’s hungry through their annual Skip Lunch Fight Hunger campaign. We helped by taking part in last May’s event, and by donating $17,431 as the year came to a close.
Licensed food businesses help City Harvest every day by donating food, but you can help even if you don’t own a store or restaurant. Individuals can donate funds,volunteer in one of City Harvest’s programs , or attend one of their upcoming events.
Do you volunteer with a nonprofit organization? Are you helping others in your community? Whether you’re gearing up to get involved with one of our Better to Give Partners, or making a difference in your own way, we’d love to hear how you’re doing good in 2012.