Holiday Gifts that Give Back – Part Two!


This is the second of two posts filled with various ideas for “gifts that give back” to some really awesome organizations or simply just ideas for sustainable or fair trade gifts. Feel free to post additional ideas in the comments. Thank you to all those who have contributed!

Equal Exchange
Equal Exchange is a worker-owned cooperative that has been promoting Fair Trade for over 20 years. The oldest Fair Trade business in the United States and a continuing leader in the Fair Trade movement, Equal Exchange partners with co-operatives of farmers all over the world, including here in the United States, to help create a better and more just food system. For sale on their website you will find high-quality organic and Fair Trade coffee, tea, hot chocolate, chocolate bars and healthy snacks.
Dean’s Beans
Dean Cycon has been working with indigenous communities in the coffee lands for two decades and is a recognized leader in the Fair Trade movement. All Dean’s coffee is Fair Trade, organic, shade-grown and kosher and roasted to order in small batches. You can even create a custom blend and label for gift-giving.

**When you order online from Dean’s Beans or Equal Exchange by linking from the Labor-Religion Coalition website (, 10% of your purchase (at no additional cost to you) will be donated to the Fair Trade work of the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State.

Alyson Kelly, FCRH ’08, works in Fair Trade education and outreach for the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State, a non-profit organization that supports various campaigns for economic justice. Go to, click on the Fair Trade icon, and then click the Dean’s Beans or Equal Exchange icons to bring you to their websites, and start shopping! The Labor-Religion Coalition will automatically be credited with the donation from Dean’s or Equal Exchange for your purchase when you start from Labor-Religion’s website.

Mayan Hands
Mayan Hands is a Fair Trade Federation organization that partners with over 200 Mayan women in rural communities in the highlands of Guatemala. They weave incredibly vibrant and beautifully patterned scarves, bags and purses, bookmarks, baskets, tablecloths, bracelets, and more. Please support these women in their quest to maintain their cultural heritage and raise themselves and their families out of poverty.

~ Submitted by Alyson Kelly, FCRH 2008

What about gifts for the friends or family members who have everything?

  • Donate a book for the Brooklyn Public Library in someone’s name! Check out the Brooklyn Public Library Adopt-A-Book Program.
  • Are you or someone you know passionate about education? allows you to donate specific items to classrooms in need across the country. There are tons of projects to choose from!
  • Stuck on what organization to choose? Give a Good Card! It’s like a gift card, but redeemable at the charity of the receiver’s choice.
Columbia Student Medical Outreach partnership with
The Columbia Student Medical Outreach (CoSMO) is a student-run primary care clinic for those uninsured in Washington Heights and Harlem. It relies on donations for funding, with over 97% of donations going directly towards patient care. If you go to their website and click on the link towards the bottom of the page, Amazon will automatically donate a portion of your purchase to CoSMO.

Fair Trade “Where to Buy” Map
This handy and very extensive Google map was created by the NYC Fair Trade Coalition and points out various locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens where you can get fair trade coffee, flowers, and other products, as well as locally grown, sustainable food.

Markets Featuring Local, Handmade, and Fair Trade Products (thanks to the Blog)

And that’s not all…

Here are links to two other blog posts that list even more options and ideas for gift-giving!’s 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

>> Great ideas for “gifts that create change”, places to shop ethically and sustainably, organizations to volunteer with this season (sometimes, time is the greatest donation one can give to an organization!), cause-specific guides, and more!

Have Fun* Do Good – 20 Lists of Holiday Gifts that Give Back

>> A ton of great lists from various sources on gifts that give back.

As finals are getting underway, I hope you’re all able to find moments to relax, breathe, and spend quality time with friends and roommates. Isn’t that what the season is really all about?

Happy Holidays!

~ Liz Donohue, CBA 2010

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