Here we go. The Black Friday emails are flooding our inboxes; everyone wants us to spend money on holiday gifts. I love the spirit of giving, but I don’t love supporting companies and products that don’t align with my values. And most of the people in my life don’t need more stuff.
This year, I’m following the lead of Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Summer Rayne Oakes and Robert Redford, whose pet causes are featured in the November/December issue of Organic Spa Magazine. The folks on my gift list will help refugees and people in developing nations, protect the planet from global warming, and help build the country’s largest, greenest neighborhood in New Orleans.
Give like the stars do. Send a donation to these excellent causes in your loved ones’ names. It beats the heck out of a Shake Weight.
Angelina Jolie: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNHCR works in more than 120 countries to assist the world’s 10.4 million refugees, forced out of their communities by conflict, oppression or environmental disaster. The organization provides food, water, shelter, health care and education and advocates for tangible long-term solutions to help displaced citizens rebuild their lives.
Brad Pitt: Make It Right
Brad Pitt’s pet cause is building the country’s largest, greenest neighborhood of single-family homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The organization has built 75 green homes and plans to build a neighborhood of 150 houses with the most technologically advanced and eco-friendly playground in the nation.
Robert Redford: National Resources Defense Council
Not surprisingly, this environmentally active superstar uses NRDC’s “Green Gifts” program to support causes such as the Buffalo Babysitter gift, which protects Yellowstone’s buffalo hers. Redford is a longtime trustee of NRDC, which has been protecting wild places and wildlife for more than 40 years.
Summer Rayne Oakes: charity:water
This model and environmental activist is a big fan of charity:water, which donates 100 percent of all gifts to fund new wells, water filters for natural springs, rainwater harvesting systems and other freshwater projects across the globe.
Happy shopping! I’m personally thankful that I can put my gift dollars to good work this season. My friends and family will be, too.
Check out Care2′s holiday charity gift guide.