Shopping That Gives Back

  • SumoMe

Brands for a cause are everywhere, from the Red line of clothing at Gap and Red phone from Motorola to the pink ribbon on just about everything and that cute guy on the salad dressing bottle. Finally we can’t forget the plethora of good cause multi-colored bracelets you can find at your local gas station and supermarket. Some products have strong marketing budgets behind them, while others gain popularity by word of mouth. Even if only a portion of the profits generated by product sales are donated to charity you are out there shopping anyway, why not buy products that give back. If you want a larger impact you can still donate directly to your favorite cause, but let’s not forget that even the littlest of contributions is helpful.


The original pink ribbon to raise funds for breast cancer cures and treatments was developed in 1992 by the Dallas-based nonprofit founded in memory of Susan G. Komen, but it was never trademarked. Copycats emerged, and products like a pink KitchenAid mixer (with the slogan “cook for the cure”) have been sold to raise money for other cancer groups. A San Francisco-based Web site called Think Before You Pink ( helps consumers sort through the marketing of various products linked to breast cancer. Meanwhile, the Komen Race for the Cure and other events from the foundation have generated nearly $1 billion, making it the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.


In 1994, M·A·C introduced Viva Glam deep red lipstick, with all proceeds going to the M·A·C AIDS Fund to support the fight against HIV/AIDS. Celebrities are featured in each campaign. This list of celebrity spokespeople for Viva Glam is extensive and seems to be continually growing with such notables as; Debbie Harry, Dita Von Teese, Eve, Missy Elliot, Christina Aguilera, Lisa Marie Presley. M·A·C says its AIDS fund has raised more than $85 million so far. According to their website the M·A·C AIDS Fund celebrates over $100 million raised in its fight against HIV/AIDS. This accomplishment represents an enormous commitment from M·A·C makeup artists, spokespeople, and VIVA GLAM customers. 7.1 million VIVA GLAM Lipsticks and Lipglass have been sold, of which 100 per cent of the retail price goes to the work of the fund.


The Red brand was created in 2006 by rock star Bono and politician Bobby Shriver to raise awareness and money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria. Companies that are marketing Red products include Gap (clothing and bags), Apple (iPod), Motorola (Motorazr), Emporio Armani (sunglasses, watch, clothing), Converse (sneakers), Dell (XPS), Microsoft (Windows Red), Hallmark, and American Express (credit card). The companies plan to sell Red products for five years and donate up to 50% of their profits to the Global Fund to provide AIDS medications in Africa. According to Red’s website contributions to the Global Fund have reached over $60 million. Together with the $42.58 million raised at the (RED) Auction, thanks to Damien Hirst and the artists and buyers, (RED) has now generated more than $100 million for the Global Fund. (RED) money is already at work as part of Global Fund grants in Rwanda, Swaziland and Ghana, funding programs with a primary focus on the health of women and children.
Go READ bimonthly magazine, founded by 26-year-old Ben Goldhirsh (son of Inc. magazine founder Bernie Goldhirsh) and launched in September, 2006, “is for people who give a damn.” It’s targeting “educated, media-savvy, engaged, creative, worldly, critical, trend-setting 21-to-35 year olds who stand to be future leaders.” Its annual subscription (for six issues) is $20, all of which is donated to one of 12 charities, including Teach for America, UNICEF, and World Wildlife Fund. Its goal is 50,000 subscribers and $1 million given away by mid-2007. So far, it has raised $249,540 with 12,477 subscribers.


He’s not only a looker but a giver too!! Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation donate all profits and royalties after taxes. All told, Newman has given more than $200 million to various charities of his choosing since l982. Products include all-natural salad dressing, pasta sauce, salsa, lemonade, and steak sauce. Since March, 2003, McDonald’s has offered Newman’s Own all-natural dressings with its salads. One of the charities that Newman supports is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, which he started in 1988 as a nonprofit residential summer camp for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses (free of charge). There are eight camps (five in the U.S. and one each in Ireland, England, and France), with several more scheduled to open.


Give to charity while shopping online, you’re a shopaholic well turn your addiction into a good cause! This free website that makes shopping a charitable act, while filling your cart online at any of its more than 200 member retailers, including Neiman Marcus, Home Depot, Starbucks, Staples, Best Buy, Verizon, Sears, Barnes & Nobles, and Sur La Table. A portion of your spending will be set aside in a special account, and every three months you can direct that money to the participating charities of your choice. Coveting some strappy gold sandals? Go ahead and splurge. It’s the generous thing to do.

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