Brands That Give Back: ACE x 3 Wins Fitness

Brands That Give Back: ACE x 3 Wins Fitness

Reach new career heights, and level up your ability to help others become their best self. Empower individuals with tools for leading a healthier lifestyle. Zero in on improving the quality of life of those in need. Does any of this sound like something you’d like to do? Giving Assistant joins forces with many not-for-profit organizations that enact positive change, but when it comes to our partnership with ACE Fitness, there’s a bit of uniqueness we’d like to highlight.

The American Council on Exercise wears two special hats: one that reflects the passion of a nonprofit on a mission to spread health awareness and make physical activity available to the greater public. The second represents a brand you can shop that offers the type of essentials that not only better the lives of others but as well as yourself. When you use an ACE Fitness coupon from Giving Assistant, you’ll earn incentives and save money on ACE products and resources. Your purchases can also help further a good cause and a much greater objective.

ACE

ACE Fitness is a powerhouse when it comes to the education, certification and support of professionals in the health and fitness industry. In over 30 years of existence, the American Council on Exercise has become the largest nonprofit of its kind with tens of thousands of life-changing professionals having completed one of four training study programs.

ACE provides a path to NCAA-credited certification which allows health and fitness pros to:

  • deliver customized, one-on-one attention to clients seeking to reach optimal function and performance (as a Personal Trainer)
  • help keep preventable diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle at bay and encourage people to make healthier lifestyle choices (as a Health Coach)
  • cast a wider net that gets more people moving in the right direction all at the same time, like leading weekly CrossFit, Pilates, cycling, yoga, or Zumba classes at indoor facilities (as a Group Fitness Instructor
  • provide vital treatment to those looking to overcome chronic disease and injury (as a Medical Exercise Specialist).

And, good news! To make the next step in your educational journey a little easier to accomplish, Giving Assistant offers a variety of ACE Fitness promo codes that’ll help you save money on certification, training materials, and study bundles on the above programs.

In addition to outfitting health and exercise professionals with accredited certification, ACE also partners with numerous local and national organizations to give back to the community.

A Win-Win-Win Situation for All Involved

With headquarters in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, 3 WINS Fitness is an outstanding example of the kind of nonprofit that ACE partners with. Both nonprofits work towards increasing community access to activities and opportunities that advance the physical health for all age groups and levels of fitness.

ACE

In an effort to amplify the connection between kinesiology (the study of movement regarding the human body) and public health, 3 WINS Fitness grew from the vision of a handful of California State University Northridge students and a professor within the field that established a free community fitness program at a low-resource neighborhood park. Success! The response led to a much larger measure to connect future generations of health and fitness professionals to those in need of a realistically, attainable workout (and in some cases, life-saving opportunity that wouldn’t otherwise be available).

So far, ACE has lent a hand to the education and advancement of roughly 100 kinesiology students, who help manage numerous 3 WINS Fitness sites across California, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. Hundreds of locals in all shapes, sizes and ages sweat it out at weekly fitness classes – from curious couch potatoes having no routine exercise experience to newly inducted retirees trying to tame chronic diseases, like high blood pressure and diabetes.

What makes 3 WINS Fitness a glowing success is the trifecta of benefits associated with their free community programs…truly a win-win-win situation. For starters, kinesiology students and volunteers receive class credit and invaluable, hands-on, job-related experience that far exceeds the basic strengthening of leadership and business skills. Secondly, participants gain access to free fitness classes. And, as a result, the overall community becomes stronger and healthier as residents get up and moving, transforming into more active members of society.

The ACE Fitness and 3 Wins Fitness partnership proves physical fitness that motivates and changes lives doesn’t have to feel like a luxury…or uncomfortable visit to a crowded fitness center. You don’t need a fancy gym membership (and when options for physical exercise are running low), there’s always an option – like taking advantage of a session with 3 Wins Fitness.

In addition to providing the public with essential information, instruction, advice and online tools that accommodate all fitness levels, ACE also sells products that make it easier for you to achieve your personal fitness and health goals. You’ll find ACE Fitness coupon codes on Giving Assistant that’ll come in handy the next time you need books, DVDs or fitness equipment, like a stability ball, FlexBands, or an ACE FitKit.

ACE

Lastly, make sure you’ve downloaded our Giving Assistant Button, so you can keep up with the latest American Council on Exercise promo codes. We’ll keep you updated on the different ways you can save money as you work towards improving your career, health or overall wellbeing.

 

Shop with Purpose: 6 Nonprofits Saving Our Planet

Shop with Purpose: 6 Nonprofits Saving Our Planet

Earth Day is quickly approaching! April 22nd is a yearly reminder that the environment plays a significant role in our lives, and it’s up to us to ensure that clean air, land and water are available now and for future generations. Earth Day dates back to 1970, where 22 million Americans participated, and today, it’s observed in 175 countries. It’s a time to celebrate the environment, and educate ourselves on the issues that threaten the planet’s wellbeing. On this day of global recognition, some people choose to volunteer while others dive deep into recycling. You can also celebrate by taking the time to acknowledge the achievements and efforts of environmental defenders, like some of these phenomenal organizations listed below, and select one of them as your nonprofit of choice while shopping with Giving Assistant.

1. Bitter Root Water Forum

Serious about protecting the lifeline of the world, the Bitter Root Watershed Forum (BRWF) is a nonprofit focused on the restoration and education related to a watershed in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana – an area known for its jaw-dropping views and picture-perfect backdrops. On the education front, the BRWF starts ’em early with an Earth Stewardship Program that includes hands-on lessons, playing ‘Water Quality Jeopardy’, and field trips for over 300 students in Ravalli County. The Future Irrigators of the Bitterroot Program connects students to the outdoors, where they learn about protecting fisheries and conservation methods.

The BRWF actively defends the water resources in the Bitterroot Valley through restoration projects that elevate water health. In an effort to support, clean and celebrate their local waters, the group hosts outdoor events to raise money for river clean up, such as the Run for the River 5K, as well as organizes clean up parties where volunteers learn more about the importance and methods of ecological conservation.

2. Green Umbrella

What started as an organization geared towards preserving and restoring the unending diversity of plants and wildlife in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana area has since expanded to include projects in clean air and other eco-friendly causes. Green Umbrella has a goal to elevate their region as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the U.S. by 2020. With a commitment to promote the beauty of outdoor recreation and instill nature awareness in adults and children across 10 counties in the area, this nonprofit is known for lending eco-friendly startups and organizations a helping hand, which includes support for the following:

  • Red Bike: a bike-share program that promotes cleaner air and provides affordable, healthy, green transportation
  • Taking Root: tree conservation responsible for the planting of almost a ½ a million trees
  • Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati: molds future generations of environmental advocates by nurturing an appreciation for healthy recreation; teens explore nature’s playground through hiking, camping and fishing.
  • Tri-State Trails: the creation of multi-use trails, on-road bike lanes and hiking trails support cleaner air practices and an improved quality of life for residents

3. Marine Conservation Institute

Calling all water babies! Without the efforts of organizations, like the Marine Conservation Institute, the largest life support system in the world would fall victim to pollution, destructive fishing techniques, and loss of amazingly unique ocean life. As defenders of global waters, the Marine Conservation Institute identifies marine protected areas and maintains the most complete online databases in the world. They pinpoint fish habitat conservation zones, forge sustainable seafood partnerships, and advocate for critically endangered animals. Marine Conservation Institute also welcomes the public to nominate great MPAs for Global Ocean Refuge awards and to help spread the word about GLORES.

To ensure future generations have a chance to enjoy the hypnotic waters, tropical coral reefs and exotic marine creatures of the deep blue sea in places like California, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Institute also uses donations from eco-warriors such as yourself to promote sustainable tourism.

4. West Sound Wildlife Shelter

Here’s a nonprofit for the animal lover in you. The Washington-based West Sound Wildlife Shelter combines quality care with public outreach and education to make sure that injured, orphaned, and sick wildlife get a new lease on life. They’re the ones you call when you see an injured critter by the side of the road. They’ll do their best to patch it up and make sure it’s ready to return to its natural habitat. Rowdy raccoons and other wild animals becoming a nuisance at home? They’ll give you non-lethal advice on possible solutions.

Wildlife ambassadors, like turkey vulture Remi (aka “Princess”), Sunny, the great-horned owl and Opal, the Virginia opossum, are on hand to educate with live animal presentations that local groups can book. The Shelter cares for more than 1,600 wildlife patients yearly, and your donation can go towards the rehabilitation of their next animal ambassador.

5. Rhode Island Environmental Education Association

Education is essential for spreading the word on the importance of protecting the planet, and the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association (RIEEA) is no stranger to utilizing the power of knowledge. Fueled by a network of individuals, teachers, schools, state agencies and other organizations devoted to increasing the environmental awareness of all adults and youths in the state, RIEEA makes its mark in many ways.

This nonprofit has a solid reputation for getting families and students excited about the outdoors, as seen in the workshops hosted through a recent Land & Water Conservation Summit partnership. RIEEA workshops and training equips educators with the information and tools needed to teach the value of earth-friendly practices. They also award professional development scholarships to members. Past collaborations have also included hosting an Environmental Leadership Seminar with the Department of Education at Brown University.

6. LandTrust for Central North Carolina

With 25,000 acres already protected, the Land Trust for Central North Carolina is dedicated to the conservation of the natural escapes, breathtaking landscapes, historic sites, and wildlife refuges in a 10-county region of the state. Because of the LandTrust, it’s possible for you to hike Catawba Ecological Preserve Trail, birdwatch at Dunn’s Mountain Park, indulge in wildlife photography at Eagle Point Nature Preserve, and swim Barnes Creek at Jumping Off Rock. The LandTrust’s Three Rivers Canoe & Kayak Race Series raises money through an ultra-scenic event where participants get a chance to (re)visit the region’s unique wildlife and woodlands atop refreshing waterways. They also host an annual Naturalist Day that includes a morning hike and native plant exploration, with music provided by neotropical migrant songbirds. Your donation to The LandTrust could help conserve the additional 10-15,000 acres of land they’d like to protect in the near future.

Want to get active for Earth Day? You can participate in a clean-up day, install a bird feeder, plant a tree, or buy locally sourced foods. And, it’s also the perfect time to support an environmentally friendly company or nonprofit by putting your shopping power to good use. All you have to do is share all or some of your cash back with Mother Nature when you shop 36 brands like S’well, Backcountry, and Clarins participating in our Earth Day Double Cash Back Event from 4/17- 4/23!

Shop with Purpose: Support & Empower Women Everywhere

Shop with Purpose: Support & Empower Women Everywhere

International Women’s Day has roots dating back to the early 1900s and the fight for equal rights and gender equality is far from over. Each year, March 8th is dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women and encouraging female empowerment across the globe. Advancing women’s rights means that mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and best friends enjoy increased access to the same opportunities as their counterparts and for the next generations ahead of us.

Each year, International Women’s Day takes on a different theme, and for 2018, it’s time to #PressforProgress. This is a call for family, friends, school peers, colleagues and communities to make a stronger effort to unite and embrace a more gender inclusive attitude towards the way we think, act and exist. One way to participate in International Women’s Day is to support brands that support female empowerment all year round. Check out these powerful brands below.

Rebecca Minkoff

Amplifying the voices of the superwomen responsible for organizing the national Women’s March is just one of the ways Rebecca Minkoff uses her fashion clout to advocate for female empowerment. With a heavily involved social media presence, the millennial designer has built a space bursting with positive energy for women to thrive online. She encourages followers (referred to as ‘RM Superwomen’) to be bold and courageous, as well as stay fearless as they accomplish challenging goals. In addition to providing daily encouragement and sharing the inspirational tales of women leaders and female entrepreneurs, Rebecca Minkoff also contributes to the fight for women’s rights, equality and diversity through clothing designs and accessories that incorporate the words ‘feminism’ and ‘GRL*PWR.’

FOREO

In addition to supplying skincare and beauty solutions that create a more radiant appearance, FOREO also encourages us to share snapshots of inspirational women in celebration of International Women’s Day. Those who upload photos to Instagram of their favorite ladies (and use the hashtag #FOREOForHer) will have a chance to win one of five FOREO gift sets. That’s a lot of pampering for you and the special lady in your life! You also still have a chance to snag FOREO’s anti-aging Luna 2 facial cleansing brush and Iris illuminating eye massager for less during their 20% Off Facial Cleansing Products sale (until 3/11).

 

Ann Taylor

You may know Ann Taylor for their classy suits, sharp-looking dresses, shoes and accessories, but were you aware that their dedication to female fashions also includes supporting causes that strive to enhance the health and livelihood of women? ‘Ann Cares’ is fully engaged in the breast cancer battle, spreading awareness and supporting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. Since 2005, over $38 million has been raised, where their annual contribution is currently funding nearly 20 grants that support groundbreaking research across the world.

The giving continues with HERlead Fellowships, which are given to the next wave of female leaders and fund social impact projects that help young women find their voice within the business world. They also provide mentorship opportunities, leadership training, and skill-building with the assistance of influential role models. Through the HERproject (with ‘HER’ standing for Health Enables Returns), Ann Taylor touches the lives of women within their international supply chain with programs that oversee in-factory women’s health education and/or financial literacy training in locales such as the Philippines and Indian Himalayas.

Sephora

In a world where women of color crave a broader representation in the beauty industry, Sephora answers their calls by maintaining a unique beauty presence on the market. One way that the cosmetics powerhouse celebrates diversity is through their marketing campaigns – such as the recent casting of their own employees to model for a more inclusive holiday print ad. And, Rihanna’s Fenty line that they carry boasts an overwhelming 40 shades of foundation that accommodates skin colors and undertones of women representing all ethnicities and countries.

Sephora also has programs in place that give back to the community. Sephora’s Classes for Confidence has already empowered tens of thousands of women with specialized beauty training, while the Sephora Accelerate program aims to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in the beauty industry. And lastly, whenever you purchase the FEARLESS shade of Sephora Stands lipsticks, the company donates $10 towards the above programs.

Tory Burch

Just as empowering as a pair of black and gold ballet flats or a sleek designer dress, Tory Burch is a motivating force for women looking to take a risk and make their grand entrance in the business industry. As a strong advocate for female entrepreneurship, the Tory Burch Foundation benefits an ever-growing network of diverse women through three distinct programs:

  • The Fellows Program helps female entrepreneurs overcome common obstacles of business ownership during a 1-year fellowship and $10,000 grant that advances their business education.
  • A partnership between Bank of America and the Tory Burch Foundation led to the Capital Program, which connects women entrepreneurs in the U.S. to affordable loan options through Community Lenders.
  • The Education Program equips eligible, small business-owning New Yorkers with the tools, resources and support needed to catapult their enterprises to the next level (with the help of Babson College and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses).

Nonprofits that Empower & Support Women

Celebrating International Women’s Day doesn’t have to be a one-time occurrence. Every time you shop with any partnered brand through Giving Assistant, you can show your support all yearlong by contributing to nonprofits that empower females. Simply select the nonprofit of your choice to donate all or a percentage of the cash back you earn with Giving Assistant. All of the nonprofit organizations listed below benefit women and have proven to be effective in more ways than one. 

Tostan

Tostan is a Senegal-based organization that works directly with rural locals through their Community Empowerment Program. Their human rights-based education agenda has elevated the lives of tens of thousands of women. For example, Tostan has improved health conditions for females by lowering the overall acceptance level of genital cutting. The organization also fights to lower the incidence of child marriage. And, with Tostan’s help, 20,000 women and counting have been chosen to assume leadership positions within their communities. 

Keep A Breast

Support the Keep a Breast Foundation, and you’ll donate to a cause that’s on a global mission to empower females with the knowledge of breast health education at an early age. They also provide the kind of support that youths need in order to become their own health advocates. From healing art projects to prevention programs (such as the Non Toxic Revolution), Keep a Breast has been spreading awareness and changing lives since 2000. 

Freely in Hope

Your contribution to Freely in Hope helps fund a holistic and educational approach towards healing survivors of sexual violence. This faith-based nonprofit organization empowers women and girls from rural villages and urban slums in Africa with the tools to heal and harness a healthy future. Donations go towards funding academic scholarships, health care, counseling, and safe shelter for survivors, who also benefit from the art therapy, violence prevention workshops, and training for HIV prevention that the nonprofit provides.

She Should Run

Despite the name, this isn’t a charity for marathon runners. She Should Run is a non-partisan organization dedicated to empowering women with the knowledge, inspiration and community support needed to pursue a public leadership role in politics. Since the 2016 election, this nonprofit has played a role in inspiring over 18,000 women to run for office, and has a goal of encouraging and assisting at least 250,000 women to make their mark in an election by 2030.

Girls Who Code

The tech world is captivating, but many girls miss out on all the excitement because they lack the exposure, encouragement, and support needed to turn a spark of interest into a flame. Girls Who Code is a national movement responsible for setting up after school clubs and free summer programs with the goal of closing the gender gap in technology.

Lotus Outreach

Lotus Outreach is a nonprofit devoted to helping at-risk and exploited women in India and Cambodia lead a healthier, safer, and more prosperous life through education and economic empowerment. Your donation will go towards improving the lives of residents by establishing grassroots projects in vulnerable communities. The organization successfully increases the number of females gaining an education, as well as provides safe transportation for schoolgirls.

To keep up with the best deals and opportunities for saving money on purchases from companies and brands that empower women, don’t forget to download our Giving Assistant Button to receive the latest updates and alerts.

Freely in Hope: Empowering Survivors of Sexual Violence

Freely in Hope: Empowering Survivors of Sexual Violence

This article was written by Lauren Rutherford, Charity Advocate at Giving Assistant. You can read more about Freely in Hope and ways to support their scholars here.

As a Charity Advocate with Giving Assistant, I have the honor of hearing the stories of change makers in communities near and far. One such group has shown what it means to help sexual assault victims view themselves as survivors. By doing so, Freely in Hope has connected the plights of women on the other side of the world with individuals in Giving Assistant’s own backyard.

Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Freely in Hope is a nonprofit organization that assists survivors of sexual assault in Kenya and Zambia by way of education and opportunities in leadership development and restorative storytelling.

Through their community centers, Freely in Hope runs violence prevention workshops, art therapy, HIV prevention trainings and more to women and girls from urban slums and rural villages. The Freely in Hope scholars, young women who are survivors of or vulnerable to sexual violence, receive academic scholarships, health care, safe housing, and counseling. With the support of this faith-based nonprofit, the scholars now have visions of themselves as nurses, lawyers, women’s rights advocates, and more.

The ultimate vision of Freely in Hope, however, is to see an end to the cycle of sexual violence.

Nearly one in three Kenyan girls experience sexual violence before the age of 18; in Zambia, 59% of women have been sexually violated. Freely in Hope bravely works through the complex and destructive issues facing women in these countries and beyond, such as: human trafficking, rape, female genital mutilation, and child marriage.

Although this is no small task, it was clear at Freely in Hope’s 7th Anniversary Gala in August 2017 that the Freely in Hope team and the FIH scholars are eager to continue working hard to achieve and expand their mission.

Hosted in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, I had the honor of attending the Gala. The Gala raised over $100,000 to bring five new scholars into the program in Kenya. Attendees wrote handwritten letters to Freely in Hope scholars, enjoyed live music, and listened to the powerful story of Maryclare, one of FIH’s first scholars in Kenya. Maryclare, an advocate of storytelling as a means of healing, shared her own accounts of sexual violence and abuse at the Gala.  

Although Maryclare’s story was haunting, her story was also transformative— an impressive example of Freely in Hope’s mission brought to life. Today, Maryclare is a Program Designer and Storyteller for Freely in Hope, paying forward the benefits she reaped from the initiative. FIH once helped her to reclaim her voice. Now, it provides a platform for her to do the same for those who need it most.

I am excited to have an organization like this based where I live and work. And, Giving Assistant is proud to work with and support the mission of Freely in Hope!

Giving Assistant hopes that you’ll join us in supporting Freely in Hope through everyday purchases and holiday shopping at over 3,000 online retailers. If you’re already part of the Giving Assistant community, your next step is to select Freely in Hope on your account settings menu. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can join here to begin donating a portion or all of your cash back to Freely in Hope.

Change Makers: Marine Conservation Institute

Change Makers: Marine Conservation Institute

These responses were provided by Marine Conservation Institute’s Communications Coordinator, Matt Coomer. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your organization!

Q: Tell us about the Marine Conservation Institute

We’re based in Seattle, Glen Ellen (Bay Area CA), and Washington D.C.

Since Dr. Elliott Norse founded Marine Conservation Institute in 1996, we have been a major player in efforts to save our ocean. We help bridge the gap between scientists, who understand marine ecosystems, and policymakers who determine their fate.

In 2000, at our urging, President Clinton called for a national system of marine protected areas, or MPAs.

In 2006 and 2009, we built the scientific support for President Bush to establish three colossal MPAs in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This move was a game-changing moment for conservation: it marked the first time a vast ocean area was strongly protected from fishing – a significant impact that humans have on marine ecosystems. This momentum led to more strong MPAs being created in recent years.

Since seeing marine conservation biology become a vibrant science worldwide, we have shifted our attention to increasing the quantity and quality of protection for the ocean’s best places. To realize this dream, we launched a major initiative, the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES, pronounced “glories”). GLORES is dedicated to building a network of marine reserves that strongly protect 30% of the global ocean. It is a collaborative effort working to save marine life and protect biodiversity through effective measures on the water.

Our President Dr. Lance Morgan, GLORES Science Fellow Dr. Sarah Hameed, and Board Chair Dr. David Johns with Global Ocean Refuge managers after our awards at IMPAC4.

We are also dedicated to providing the world’s most accurate assessment of MPA coverage and strength through the Atlas of Marine Protection, or MPAtlas.org. As countries race to reach globally established levels of marine protection, it is important that MPAs be planned and managed to achieve real conservation benefits. Because some places are called MPAs but still allow destructive activities like fishing and oil development, MPAtlas.org has gained widespread recognition for assessing protection on the water, rather than simply showing declared space. Our interactive map and analyses offer a true picture of marine protection progress, showing successes and how far we still have to go.

Q: What is your organization’s overall mission?

Our mission is to secure permanent, strong protection for the ocean’s most important places.

Q: What are a few goals your organization has been focusing on this year?

This year, our team has been focused on fighting attempts to remove protections for U.S. marine national monuments and sanctuaries, tracking new MPA developments on the Atlas of Marine Protection, and welcoming our first Global Ocean Refuges to the GLORES network.

We are also involved in raising public awareness about the California seamounts, which are underwater volcanoes and deep-sea mountain ranges off the coast that support rich, fragile ecosystems. These undersea mountains are home to ancient corals, delicate glass sponges and chemo-synthetic communities. The more people we reach about their natural value, the more likely it is that they can be protected in the future.

Our scientists are also busy researching other vulnerable ecosystems in the deep sea and ways to protect their biodiversity as well as maintain their resilience.

Q: Can you discuss some of your major successes?

Our biggest recent success was awarding the first Global Ocean Refuges at the 4th International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC4) in Chile.

Our distinguished GLORES Science Council used science-based criteria to evaluate promising MPAs and found that three sites met our strictest standards for protecting marine biodiversity:

  1. Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (Colombia)
  2. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (The Philippines)
  3. Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (U.S.)

It was our privilege to honor their conservation achievements and recognize each site with the Global Ocean Refuge Platinum award. We will continue promoting their success and help other marine reserves follow their shining example.

The Atlas of Marine Protection was also recently recognized, as National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence Dr. Enric Sala used its data to show the state of marine protection at the Our Ocean conference. The resulting Malta Declaration was signed by prominent marine scientists from around the world and called for stronger MPAs with verifiable conservation measures, a point we strongly support and echo in our mapping work. As nations hopefully listen to this message and create more effective MPAs, MPAtlas.org will continue showing the real marine protection situation on the ocean.

A simplified version of the MPAtlas global marine protection map as of December 2016. Unfortunately, not all of the MPAs shown provide the same level of effective protection for ocean ecosystems.

Q: Can you share a few alarming stats that have low awareness?

We want to make everyone aware that, in spite of increasing numbers of MPA announcements, only about 3% of the world’s oceans are protected today. And, of that small amount, approximately 1.5% is strongly protected in no-take marine reserves, which is, according to leading scientists, the most effective design for protecting ecosystems. As an example of the urgency for marine protection, 60% of coral reefs are currently threatened by human activities and it is likely that 100% of coral reefs will bleach by 2050. Our oceans are in decline and they need more protection if we’re going to stop or reverse these sad trends.

Modern boats now fish in every ice-free ocean region. Despite their new technology, some studies show that global fish catches peaked years ago and that up to 90% of large tunas and billfishes may be gone. When you mix in human-caused habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change impacts, our ocean’s ability to sustain life is threatened. As renowned marine biologist and Marine Conservation Institute Board Member Dr. Sylvia Earle famously said, “No ocean, no life. No blue, no green. No ocean, no us.” The Global Ocean Refuge System will help us reverse the trend of ocean degradation and ensure a healthy ocean that supports the planet’s amazing biodiversity.

Q: What can we do in our daily lives to help support your cause?

In addition to donating to our organization, we welcome the public to nominate great MPAs for Global Ocean Refuge awards and to help spread the word about GLORES. We’re always looking for new organizations and businesses to partner with as well, so if you know another group that would be interested in collaborating on GLORES, please let us know! Also, tell your friends about the best place to find accurate MPA information, MPAtlas.org!

We always appreciate communications support online and invite you to follow, like, and share our posts:

Please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter as well!

Shark swimming in sea with fish around it

Global Ocean Refuge Platinum award-winner Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary protects abundant marine life, including this Galapagos shark. Edited here, original photo courtesy of SFF Malpelo.

Q: How important are donors for the Marine Conservation Institute?

Donors are essential to fulfilling our mission and we put every dollar received to good use. Our Board Member and Treasurer Burgess Raby likes to describe us as, “… a ‘lean and mean’ organization, with a focus on applying every possible cent of its income to its mission of securing permanent, strong protection for the ocean’s most important places.” We especially appreciate our Ocean Guardians, donors who give over $1000, and give them special access to our work and recognition throughout the year. Membership in this program makes the perfect gift for any ocean lover in your life!

Q: How has your experience been with Giving Assistant?

Our Giving Assistant experience has been great; it gives a nice return to our organization when users shop at its many popular stores.

With the holidays right around the corner, the support we receive through Giving Assistant is helpful in boosting our year-end donations. We really appreciate its focus on giving to charities and nonprofits that are working to protect our world!

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

GLORES will keep growing in 2018 and beyond, so please tell everyone you know and keep an eye out for new Global Ocean Refuges!

Two masked boobies birds


Masked boobies in the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary. Edited here, original photo by Ramón Pulido courtesy of Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia.

Feature photo by Bo Mancao.

Want to make recurring donations to the Marine Conservation Institute? Shop at Giving Assistant’s 3,000+ trusted brands and donate a percentage of your cash back to the Marine Conservation Institute.

Happy to Announce that We Are Now a Certified B Corporation!

Happy to Announce that We Are Now a Certified B Corporation!

The ultimate mission for Giving Assistant has always been to do good, give back, and be better.

Not just for the sake of looking good…

…but to genuinely make a positive impact in the world.

Yet, writing an earnest mission and slapping it on our website wasn’t enough, we knew that our growing company eventually needed to be held accountable for what means the most to our team. This is why we are proud to finally announce that Giving Assistant is officially certified in the field of doing good!

Certified B Corporations, called B Corps for short, are companies that go through a rigorous certification that measures their impact on the environment, their employees, their customers, and their community. Little over 2,000 companies in the world today have successfully become B Corps, which makes the label one of the most prestigious ones out there. (Go us!) 

But it wasn’t an overnight process. In fact, you could say that the journey began when we decided to launch a social enterprise; we had to spend years building a company that was even B Corp worthy. Take a look at the goals of B Corps, the process of becoming certified, and how Giving Assistant meets the requirements with excellence.

The Giving Assistant team and the trash collected after cleaning up Ocean Beach.

What B Corps Are All About

In one sentence, the B Corp title is “like Fair Trade certification but for the whole business, not just a bag of coffee.” This perfectly describes the community of B Corps across the globe–companies that treat the people and the world around them fairly, while at the same time remaining a profitable business. A few of B Corporations’ values are:

  • Businesses should compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.
  • All business ought to be conducted as if people and places matter.
  • World business leaders must realize that everyone is dependent on each other for the well-being of our global community and natural resources.
  • A company’s products can and should benefit society in their production, practices, and profit.

Our Head of Charity Advocacy, Isabel, serving lunch at St. Anthony’s Dining Room during one of our company volunteer days

How to Become a B Corp

As you can see from these goals, not just any business can become a B Corp. It takes a thorough vetting process to filter through unqualified organizations and find the ones that are truly making a difference. As their requirements state, the process is “rigorous but straightforward.”

The first part of the process is called the B Impact Assessment. This assessment measures a company’s positive impact and sustainability. Once this initial test is complete, businesses receive a detailed score report that shows their strengths and weaknesses. If their score is high enough, B Lab verifies their answers to make sure that they are accurate. And, if all goes well, a company is eligible to become a B Corp.

Even after getting certified, a company must demonstrate that they are still worthy of the title. Every two years, all companies must get re-approved through a concise version of the initial assessment. Additionally, 10% of companies are randomly selected for an extra check up each year. All of this goes to prove that being a B Corp is not only an honor, but also a responsibility.

In May of 2017, Giving Assistant passed the B Impact Assessment on the second try and went through all of the required steps to become a B Corp! The process was long and filled with both successes and failures. It took over a year for us, and we had to formalize many of our unwritten policies. But in the end, here’s how our scores stacked up against other companies that took the test.

  • We scored 24 in the area of employee treatment, where the average applicant scores 18.
  • Our governance earned us a score of 16, 10 points higher than the average.
  • In the community category, our score of 22 beat the average score of 17.

Why Giving Assistant is a Perfect Fit

Not only did Giving Assistant become a B Corp, but we handily outdid many other companies in a variety of fields. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that we did well on the exam. Recall that B Corps split up their impact into four categories:


1) Employee Impact

  • We offer health benefits and stock options to 100% of our employees.
  • We hold quarterly Fun Days and corporate volunteer activities.
  • Every employee has the ability to work-from-home on Fridays.

The team enjoying some beers at a Giants game

2) Customer Impact

  • Our services are an easy way for customers to save money.
  • We offer benefits for shopping on a wide variety of stores, which lets every consumer get involved.
  • We help people get more involved in their global community by making a positive impact when they shop.

3) Community Impact

Zinc and Zidisha posing with their cash back donations earned through Giving Assistant

  • Through Giving Assistant, our users had the ability to donate over $250,000 to Zidisha, which has allowed them to fund over 9,000 microloans in developing countries.
  • Our users have donated over $17,000 of funds to Camp Kesem, an organization that provides a summer camp for kids whose parents have cancer.
  • Giving Assistant shoppers gave more than $15,000 to Pencils for Promise, allowing underdeveloped communities to build proper schools for their children.

4) Environmental Impact

  • Our offices are located in a Platinum LEED certified skyscraper.
  • We recently switched from paper checks to e-checks, drastically reducing our carbon footprint.
  • Much of our donations go toward responsible nonprofits that are good stewards of the environment and natural resources.

Considering all that goes into becoming a B Corp, the Giving Assistant team is incredibly proud of our progress. It is an honor to be considered part of this elite group, and we work every day to keep up our positive impact and reach even more communities around the world. Thank you for being part of our success!