Monday, June 29, 2009

Andira Rain Tees-T-Shirts for Trees


With a growing environmental awareness, many clothing companies are making the decision to go green with their merchandise. Andira Rain Tees is no exception to this growing trend, selling 100% organic t-shirts and bags.Named after a Brazilian flowering tree cut down by loggers, this eco-friendly company does more than offer great organic shirts. Founder Beth Doane started her company in 2005 as an import and distribution company that has recently expanded to include consulting, design, distribution and marketing strategies to companies who wish to stay eco-conscious.

Andira Rain Tees also sells their own special merchandise directly from the Amazon. On a trip to visit South America’s beautiful, but endangered rain forest, Doane donated craft school supplies to the children living there. She told them, as she distributed crayons and paper, to draw what they saw around them. Their artwork was then transformed into designs for women’s and children’s shirts in the Andira Rain Tees collection.

When establishing her clothing company, Doane chose to manufacture her clothes in Peru due to their enforced fair labor laws. Her entire business plan is focused on remaining sustainable and Peru provided the perfect environment for this goal. Peru produces huge amounts of cotton, which eliminates the need to import material. Free trade also exists between Peru and the US, so there are no import taxes. The factories are all family-run and vertically integrated, which means that all the labor and assemblage is done in the same place. This allows for the workers, no matter what part of production they work on, to see the end result of their labor. Workers receive wages that are 20% above the average in Peru. Many of these workers were previously forced to work for illegal logging companies, animal trafficking and oil companies just to support their families. Donane’s factories provide a safe, clean alternative to such devastating jobs.

With the money raised from the clothing sales, Doane donates trees to be replanted in Costa Rica where logging companies have destroyed the natural forests. Children who Doane has worked with during a trip to bring school supplies plant each tree donated.

All the Andira Rain Tees’s merchandise is sold through online retailers. They are currently selling to 8 different websites and 15 boutiques. Although they are not currently selling merchandise on their website, http://raintees.com, you can find a complete list of retailers who do carry her stuff.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is there a Ghost on Twitter?


Pacman
Originally uploaded by Scorr HampsonOriginally uploaded by scott hampson
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Originally Uploaded by Scott Hampson.

It's been about two months since I first got on Twitter and I have mostly positive reviews of it. I have never learned so much from so many brilliant people who have passed on information via Twitter about my interests: business philanthropy, CSR, non-profits, volunteerism, entrepreneurism and others. Just this last month I have been able to experience via Twitter, from the comfort of my desk, four amazing conferences: Business As Agent Of World Benefit Forum, Craigslist Foundation Bootcamp, the International Positive Psychology Conference and the National Volunteer and Service Conference.

While I wish I had the opportunity to be physically present at the conferences, being on Twitter gave me live feedback from the participants there as well as the links to the livestream of the proceedings. I had the the opportunity to observe some of the presentations, workshops, and hear many speakers like Michelle Obama speak via livestream. I am so grateful and privileged to be able to get this much value from my virtual participation.

So what do ghosts have to do with this? I continue to be puzzled by this rush to have hundreds and thousand of followers who are trying to add me to their list and who have nothing to do with what I am interested in. Most of them that find me are not scary, a few of them are and I block them. But somewhere there is a ghost that is creeping in. All of the sudden I am seeing "thank you for following me" from people like "LooseFat" that I would have not agreed to follow. Of course I now have to take the time to "unfollow" all these unknown people.

I had not heard about these ghosts in Twitter before and I hope Twitter does something about them, so I can get back to doing learning and writing about what it is important to me, and participating in all these great conferences!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Give Free Advertising To Your Cause

So you think that because your business cannot afford to give much to charity there's nothing you can do? Think again, there are plenty of resources that you already have that you can use to make a positive contribution to a charity.

One company, eCompliments is offering their website as an advertising vehicle to charities.
"Through their ongoing initiative, eCompliments is offering free advertising for approved charities through banner ads on their site as well as through what eCompliments has coined as ECN advertising. ECN stands for Email Compliment Notification. When a compliment is made on the website an ECN is delivered to the profile owner (typically the business owner or manager) showing the compliment given. Just below this compliment is the ECN text ad."
eCompliments COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- eCompliments is an online review and referral site whose mission is to share the good(TM).

eCompliments hopes that other businesses will be inspired by this idea. Businesses and charities can participate with them when they use eCompliments. http://www.ecompliments.com

It's great way to promote your business through eCompliments, and now you can help promote a charity too. But you can also do this on your own. Why not post the banners, advertise or raise money for a favorite charity on your website? The charities will be grateful for any additional support that comes their way.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Blogs That Care- List Of Change

This last week, the List Of Change, an aggregate list of cause related blogs, was launched. I am happy to say that "Business That Cares", made it on the list along with almost 200 other blogs whose focus is social change.

Our goal here at "Business That Cares" is to inform, inspire, and help implement business philanthropy. While there are many philanthropic business ideas that we seek out to write about, the extent of the topic is so broad it is quite impossible to cover it all. I have identified specific blogs within the List Of Change, that focus on or at least touch upon the topics of business and CSR, social enterprise, and business philanthropy. These blogs cover everything from philanthropic businesses, to microlending organizations, to an array of new social ventures. They also discuss topics of significance like embedded philanthropy and rational philanthropic decisions.

Whether you are looking for ideas for engaging your business in philanthropy, or causes that your business can support, you are sure to find inspiration from these blogs on the List of Change.

Have Fun Do Good
Triple Pundit
Social Entrepreneurship at Change.Org
Fake Plastic Fish
Tactical Philanthropy
Charity Navigator ( for researching charities to give to)
Kenneth Cole's Awearness
Philanthropy 2173
Philanthrocapitalism
The Fabulous Giver
The Causemopolitan
Giving City Austin
Epichange

The other blogs listed all deserve a look for the great work that they are doing. Be sure to check them out for more inspiration about social change, and to learn about non-profits that you may wish to support.

It is important to note that List of Change is a self submitted list. There are many more blogs out there in the blogosphere with related topics that are worth reading. Some of them are referred to in the posts on "Business That Cares".

To read any of the blogs mentioned, go to the List Of Change. http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/listofchange/ or click on the link above.

On Twitter, you can also follow List of Change for updates of the latest posts.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Town and Country Magazine Scoops Business Philanthropy

I just picked up a copy of Town and Country Magazine’s latest Special Philanthropy Issue at my local grocery store. Town and Country Magazine has been around since 1846 featuring stories about fashion, society, travel. They have monthly columns that feature fundraising galas across the country where society folks are pictured attending these events.
The June issue of Town and Country has dedicated the entire magazine to the subject of philanthropy. Yes, the fundraising galas are there, but there is so much more. The issue has wonderful articles about subjects such as teaching children about philanthropy, travel to endangered places, stories about women philanthropists like Jennifer Buffet (Warren Buffet’s daughter -in -law) and others, helping women around the world create better lives for themselves and their families.

Town and Country has also featured business philanthropy, (which is my main focus) in the sophisticated worlds of fashion, cosmetics, wine and design, where looking good and doing good merge to help worthy causes.
In Their “ Must Haves With a Mission” and “Designs for Giving” they write about :
-Clothing and accessories by such well know designers Nannette LePore, Gucci and Magaschoni, who donate a percentage of proceeds from the sale of designated dresses, shoes, sweaters, and purses to a variety of non-profits such as Greenpeace and Unicef .
-Jewelry designers such as Jennifer Meyer, Montblanc and Alex Woo and so many others, that donate a percent of proceeds from the sale of designated necklaces and bracelets to causes like Charity Water and World Wildlife Fund.
-Cosmetics from companies like Origins, Crabtree and Evelyn, and Philosophy, that include everything from scented candles, to hairwash, body scrubs and face serums, and donate proceeds to charities or support specific foundations.

Businesses that make people feel good about themselves not only by looking good but by doing good seem to be proliferating. When magazines like Town and Country start to feature them, trends in fashion may come and go, but the trend to do good and look good is here to stay.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brokers for Charity, Helping To Change the World One Property At a Time

Buying a house or business property can do more than help your family or your business, when it is sold through a broker from Brokers for Charity. Brokers for Charity is a registered LLC with the Arizona Department of Real Estate dedicated to giving back. Owner and designated broker, Janae Jaynes-Learned admired the concept started by actor Paul Newman, in which consumer products aptly named “Newman’s Own®” raised awareness as well as money for groups in need. This concept has extended into the Real Estate market by donating 10% of the referral agent’s commission to a charity of the client’s choice once the transaction closes. Janae explains, “It came from my own desire to have more socially responsible choices and from my motivation to provide these same choices to others.”
Brokers for Charity is a referral service that pairs agents dealing in both residential and commercial properties in the US and Canada with clients. Choosing this service does not add any additional charge to the buyer or seller, but allows them to make a positive impact in their community. The idea is that although the agent is taking a cut in their pay, they are gaining more clients while giving back to their community.
This dedicated consortium of real estate professionals show their dedication to giving back with each sale they close. When asked what she believed was the most important aspect of successfully running a philanthropic business plan, Janae Jaynes-Learned replied, “I think Mahatma Gandhi said it best, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’” and so far she has taken all the right steps to do just that.
For more information please contact them at www.brokersforcharity.com

by Lauren Partain

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What Do James Taylor, the Boston Red Sox and Cold Play Have To Do With a Business Charity?

Ever wonder what would happen if the money consumers pour into the entertainment business went to charity instead? Jord Poster, founder and Chief Executive of Charity Partners, did more than just think about it-he acted on it. As a co-founder of the successful travel company, Priceline.com Inc, Poster started a fundraising platform where goods and services are bought and sold at the same or better price as elsewhere but with a percentage going to charity. For two years, Charity Partners has successfully generated millions of dollars for over 30 nationwide charity groups. They run Tickets-for-Charity using this model.

The concept is similar to that of an online ticket vendor like Ticketmaster.com, but with a greater message to send. Charity Partners works directly with artists, different venues, management, and promoters to receive in-demand tickets to popular events. These tickets are paid for at face value as established by the venue. The ticket price is decided by this original face value with an additional pre-determined donation amount added. Both prices are explained clearly on their website, www.ticketsforcharity.com, to show customers where their money is going. These two amounts also show up separately on the customer’s credit card receipts to allow for tax deductions for the donation part of the purchase. Charity Partners earns its money again in similar ways to Ticketmaster.com, by charging a small service fee to the total ticket sale.

Tickets available for purchase range from James Taylor’s show at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA to Boston Red Sox games. Premium seats to the Coldplay concert in Los Angeles sold out for $212.50, with face value of $112.50 and a donation amount of $100. These tickets sold for up to $293 on StubHub.com and were long sold out at the venue. Charity Partners is not an auction, so customers pay the price listed on the website on a first-come first-serve basis.

Poster started this company with the intention of increasing much need financial support many charities are lacking in today’s economy. Jord Poster was quoted saying, “If you can capture even a small portion of the billions of dollars worth of inventory trapped in the hands of resellers and divert it to charity, that would be a big win.”

Charity Partners works with over 30 well-known, nation wide charities such as Autism Speaks, Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Feeding America, and Natural Resources Defense Council. For each event, Charity Partners works directly with artists to select a specific charity to receive the money from the donation portion of the ticket. Tickets sold from the recent James Taylor concert went to Natural Resources Defense Council, of which Taylor has been a long-time supporter. More than $78,000 has been generated so far for this non-profit organization alone.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Doing Good One Cup At a Time


Who knew giving back could taste so good? Jonathan Golden, owner of Land of a 1,000 Hills Coffee Shop in Roswell and Atlanta, Georgia, found out his daily cup of coffee could do more than wake him up each morning.  After talking to his friend, a Rwandan bishop, about what Americans could do to help after the 100-day genocide in 1994, Golden learned that investing in Rwanda’s agriculture, especially coffee beans, could start rebuilding the life of many farmers. 

 

With an approved $20,000 line of credit and a used coffee roaster bought off eBay, Golden began the Land of a 1,000 Hills Coffee Shop with the mission of not only selling a rich cup of joe, but reaching out to those in need. The company’s logo was born “Drink Coffee. Do Good” and the business grew one cup at a time. Since the beginning, Golden has worked directly with the Rwandan farmers.  Land of a 1,000 Hills promised to pay a minimum of $1.26 per pound of beans when they began building their business in 2004.  This was over three times the meager 40 cents other coffee companies had been paying previously.  Today, Golden’s business consistently pays farmers an average of $1.86 per pound.

 

In addition to fair prices, the Land of a 1,000 Hills promises to set aside $1 for every 12 oz. bag of coffee sold for micro-finance programs.  These micro-finance programs help Rwandans rebuild their economy through micro-loans that allow those devastated by the genocide to start and improve their own small businesses.   Golden has chosen to participate in these types of programs directly by starting his own “Sustainable Cycle.”  This play-on-words is actually a fund built by customer donations that goes towards the purchase of bicycles for Rwandan farmers to help them efficiently and safely transport their goods.  Land of a 1,000 Hills currently has a goal of 250 cargo bikes, custom designed by Tom Ritchey, a pioneer in mountain biking and owner of his own bicycle design company. Customers interested in donating or just finding out more about the company can check out their website, www.drinkcoffedogood.com.

 

Land of a 1,000 Hills Coffee is a for-profit business whose message promotes healthy capitalism for the farmers in Rwanda.  Golden’s business serves as an excellent example of philanthrocapitalism, a growing trend that has recently caught the eye of many nonprofits.  Businesses like Jonathan Golden’s exercise a greater freedom to address currently social issues through the power of the consumer that the more traditional nonprofits are unable to do.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Bank That Leaves a Mark

I love to listen to Dave Ross on Dave Ross on KCBS, newstalk radio. He usually comments about life and politics and government in his radio reports with humor and wit. But his latest report, "Can the Right Thing Be The Profitable Thing”, especially caught my attention because it was about a business, Shore Bank Pacific in Washington, that gives loans only to local businesses that are socially responsible. They call their approach to banking, the first one on the US: "Sustainable Banking”

In his report, Dave Ross, interviewed Dave Williams, the president of Shore Bank Pacific, about the business benefits of their policy. Dave Williams believes that they are making a bet these companies will thrive because customers are willing to pay more for the products and services of socially responsible businesses. He used the organic food industry as an example of a sector that experienced tremendous growth in the last few years.

Shore Bank Pacific, makes their investment decisions after looking at the environmental and sustainability aspects of the business, and also other areas of social responsibility such as how they treat their employees, how they contribute and generate wealth in the community, and whether they support local businesses by buying locally.

Shore Bank Pacific not only invests in these businesses but gets involved with them, by providing consulting services in all areas of their business development. Shore Bank Pacific supports alternative energy, real estate, specialty fishing and green building.

Their logo is: “Lets’ change the world” and their motto: “We leave a mark on everything we touch”.

Dave Ross did manage to tie in politics and government in his report and it was very serious. He asked a question about government not needing to regulate businesses that acted responsibly. “That’s right” said the banker. Guess Dave Ross had to stick to his bio somehow and Dave Williams left his mark and touched all the listeners, including me.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Kids Don’t Just Wear Jeans, They Turn Them Into “Buckle My Jean” Bags

Is there a new generation out there that can teach the world about business philanthropy?

Social entrepreneurs are popping up everywhere even amongst adolescents. This story was too inspirational to pass up writing about.

In my neighboring town, the Mountain View Voice, the local paper in Mountain View, CA, published an inspiring story about four seventh graders at the Girls Middle School. This is a photo of the bag from the paper.

The girls were assigned a project in their entrepreneurship class to start a small business venture with $100.00. They had to follow all the protocols of starting a business: creating the product, pitching their ideas, developing a business plan, and obtaining licenses. Four seventh graders, Jamie Bindon, Rachael Rappoport, Maggie Brown and Jaime McConachie wanted to design a product that was eco-friendly. They came up with the idea of using old jeans and belts that they bought from a local consignment shop and sewing them together into bags.

The profits they made from selling 130 of these bags went to non-profits of their choice. The first non-profit , Senior Coastsiders, a thrift store that raises money for local senior services, was the very place that the girls bought their jeans from. The girls also chose to give the remainder of their profits to Habitat for Humanity.

Their motto: "We've got your jeans in the bag" was easy to come up with. They not only have the jeans in a bag, but the future in their hands.