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.
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 forwomen’s rights, equality and diversity through clothing designs and accessories that incorporate the words ‘feminism’ and ‘GRL*PWR.’
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).
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Your contribution toFreely 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.
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.
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 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 ourGiving Assistant Buttonto receive the latest updates and alerts.
We’re on track, more than ever, to transform everyday shopping into charitable giving, which has been Giving Assistant’s top mission since 2014! You helped us accomplish amazing milestones in 2017 and we’re excited to share them with you through our Impact Report. These numbers are proof that real change can happen for real-life causes that impact thousands of lives through consistent, automatic donations from Giving Assistant’s shoppers and the power of community.
The Giving Assistant Team is so excited to conquer our 2018 goals and to see what we can accomplish this year alongside our shoppers and partnered nonprofits! Here are a few examples of how our shoppers’ donations have helped nonprofits create a direct impact.
Hope for Haiti $10 helps treat 10 patients with Malaria.
Yellow Feather Fund $10 a month helps cover the cost of developing free apps,
online games, and download activity sheets for children of all ages.
She Should Run $25 supports a new woman in their Ask a Women to Run program.
Childrens Music Fund $50 covers one session of music therapy.
Norcal Boxer Rescue $25 can provide vaccines or one night of boarding for one dog.
To help make a difference today, log into your account settings and search for one of the nonprofits mentioned above or any nonprofit that is registered as a 501(c)(3). From 1% to 100%, you can decide the amount of your cash back earnings you’d like to donate to your selected charitable organization. For reference, check out the image below.
Are you a nonprofit and haven’t signed up with Giving Assistant yet? Check out how you can raise recurring donations for your cause.
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.
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.
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:
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!
Masked boobies in the Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary. Edited here, original photo by Ramón Pulido courtesy of Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia.
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!
Everyone knows that Big Bird and his pals on Sesame Street have been helping kids learn their ABCs and 123s for decades, but did you know they are also helping children here and around the world with even tougher challenges?
Through the Yellow Feather Fund, Sesame Street is positively impacting the lives of children with autism, children with parents in the military, children affected by the crisis in Syria, children in developing nations, and millions of others. And you can help support them too! Just by doing your everyday online shopping through Giving Assistant.
What is the Yellow Feather Fund?
Named after the lovable Sesame Street character Big Bird and his large, yellow feathers, the Yellow Feather Fund uses the well-known Sesame Street Muppets to create new learning materials for children that are fun and teach important lessons. The Yellow Feather Fund specializes in making videos, books, and other free digital content that kids love and teaches them important values and life skills. Here are some examples of what the Yellow Feather Fund has been doing lately:
1) Autistic children sometimes struggle with making new friends, so the Yellow Feather Fund’s online videos help both children with autism and their friends see what is special about each other and learn how to respect each other’s differences, having fun along the way. They also have helpful videos and daily routine cards that both parents and teachers can use to help educate autistic children.
2) Since around 700,000 children have a parent serving in the military, the Yellow Feather Fund supports these kids as a part of their “Little Children, Big Challenges” family services. Their PDF packets and videos help children and their parents to learn how to cope with the stresses that come with worrying about or missing their loved ones when they’re away for a long time.
3) The Yellow Feather Fund works closely with the International Rescue Committee to help young refugee children in the Syrian response region to develop:
And other social-emotional skills.
More than 12 million refugee children around Syria alone have suffered from emergency relocations and other traumas, which makes special educational programs like this one so important. By holding camps and making videos with new characters designed to better connect with the local kids — such as the adorable Zeerak from Afghanistan — children gain good role models for behavior and learn tips to help them connect with their communities in a positive way.
How can you use Giving Assistant to support the Yellow Feather Fund?
“We’re so excited about our partnership with Giving Assistant” says Diana Polvere, VP Annual Giving at Sesame Workshop. “Our mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder, and this is a wonderful way for people to support us in making a meaningful difference in the lives of children in the U.S. and around the world.”
If you’ve already signed up for Giving Assistant, all you have to do next is select the Yellow Feather Fund on your account settings menu. Then choose how much of your balance from cash-back rewards you’d like to donate.
If you haven’t signed up yet, you can join here to start supporting the Yellow Feather Fund AND saving money on your everyday purchases at over 2,700 online retailers.