Tostan: A Giving Assistant Success Story

Tostan: A Giving Assistant Success Story

In December of 2016, something incredible happened in West Africa. Something Tostan founder Molly Melching could’ve only dreamed of when she arrived in Senegal over 40 years ago as a young exchange student from Danville, Illinois.

Over 300 communities in four different countries came together to publicly declare a commitment to human rights.

They announced their abandonment of harmful traditions, including the long-standing practice of female genital cutting (FGC) as well as child/forced marriage. This brings the total number of communities who have made similar public declarations to over 8,000; evidence of a movement that has been quietly building in the region over the past two decades, due to community resilience and the efforts of Tostan.


Children hold up chalkboard signs declaring their community’s abandonment of FGC. Source: Tostan

Tostan is a non-profit named for the Wolof word for ‘breakthrough,’

And its unique model focuses on agency, not aid. Operating in six countries, Tostan offers an educational program which has proven that the greatest resources available to struggling communities are the people themselves and their own creative solutions.

In the Tostan program, participants first identify their vision and goals, then they acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to lead and sustain their own development. The Community Empowerment Program uses cultural methods of learning to cover not only the fundamentals of human rights and collective decision-making, but also:

  • Reading,
  • Writing,
  • Arithmetics,
  • Health and hygiene,
  • Problem solving,
  • And confidence building,

And this model has been immensely successful.

In the quarter-century since Tostan’s founding, they have witnessed improvement in issue areas including:

  • Women and girl’s empowerment,
  • Peace and security,
  • Education,
  • And more!

Women participating in a classroom session of Tostan’s program. Source: Tostan

Giving Assistant raises nearly $18,000 for Tostan

Earlier this month, Giving Assistant mailed a check to Tostan for $17,754.58! These funds were raised entirely by Giving Assistant members who have chosen to support the organization through their everyday shopping.

“Supporters of Tostan are part of our global family. Like our communities in West Africa, they form a collective that is joyfully in pursuit of a common goal: dignity for all. We are so thankful that Giving Assistant has joined this family.” – Molly Melching, CEO of Tostan

This generosity will stretch not only across the globe, but for generations to come as rural West African communities continue on their positive path.


Women celebrating. Source: Tostan

Help support this rising movement

Due to its proven success, the Tostan program is in high demand. You can help them meet this demand by using Giving Assistant to easily donate a portion or all of your cash back to the organization.

It’s simple! Just make sure to select Tostan in your account settings and decide how much of your cash back you’d like to donate.

Not a member yet? Sign up here to begin supporting Tostan as you shop (and save!) online.

Pencils of Promise: A Giving Assistant Success Story

Pencils of Promise: A Giving Assistant Success Story

You’ll never look at a #2 pencil the same way again…

When a small boy’s answer to “What do you want most in the world?” was a mere pencil, the future founder of PoP was utterly touched. For Pencils of Promise, something as simple as a yellow #2 has now come to represent the need to unlock the potential in children that lack a suitable learning environment.

Across the world, 250 million children of elementary school age lack basic reading, writing and math skills. Unsafe, unsanitary and ill-equipped classrooms serve as hurdles for both teachers and students – which is what Pencils of Promise (PoP) wishes to overcome – by building schools and bringing solid educational programming to areas in need.

Pencils of Promise: “We believe every child should have access to quality education.”

Since 2009, PoP’s efforts have led to increased literacy rates, improved training and support for teachers, and better access to quality education for children residing in some of the most underserved communities in the countries where the organization is active.

Today, PoP has a strong presence in Ghana, Guatemala and Laos. So far, nearly 36,000 students have been served by 380 PoP schools, impacting 300,000+ lives in their local communities.

These kids are on their way to their brand new PoP School. Source: Nick Onken

These kids are on their way to their brand new PoP School. Source: Nick Onken

With 85% of communities that PoP visits lacking basic school infrastructure, the organization strives to break ground on a new school every 5 days. In Guatemala, 98% of teachers report increased focus in students learning in a new PoP building. To make sure students are able to benefit from their programs, PoP also implements the internationally recognized WASH program, which promotes healthy water, sanitation, and hygiene practices.

Amongst many achievements in 2016, PoP delivered tablets to three schools in Guatemala, marking their “first-ever expansion of digital reading content in Spanish,” as well as expanded WASH programming to 20 more schools in Laos.

Giving Assistant shoppers have contributed over $15,000 to PoP.

To date, Pencils of Promise has received $15,127.72 from Giving Assistant shoppers, who use their everyday online purchases to fuel the education of children around the world.

“We love finding new and easy ways for people to support Pencils of Promise,” says Natalie Ebel, PoP’s Director of Marketing. “Giving Assistant is simple and fun, and they’re already almost halfway to funding a full school build with PoP!”

It takes $35,000 to build a school, and since 100% of online donations that PoP receives goes towards their programs, Giving Assistant shoppers are on track to break ground on a new one soon.

Thanks to PoP, these girls have the chance to enjoy learning in a safe, new school. Source: Nick Onken

Thanks to PoP, these girls have the chance to enjoy learning in a safe, new school. Source: Nick Onken

Help build a new PoP school.

With your contributions through Giving Assistant, not only will you make an impact in the lives of children, but also entire communities.

If you’d like to use Giving Assistant to easily donate a portion or all of your cash back to Pencils of Promise, visit their fundraising page here.

To make sure PoP receives your thoughtful donation, please select Pencils of Promise in your account settings.

Not a member yet? Sign up here to begin supporting Pencils of Promise as you shop online.

Shop, Save & Give More on Giving Tuesday

Shop, Save & Give More on Giving Tuesday

Once you’ve gobbled up deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s time to kick back in front of the fire, fix yourself a plate of leftovers, and congratulate yourself on a successful shopping week, right?…


You don’t want to miss the grand finale of Giving Week, an event that happens to be Giving Assistant’s favorite day of the year (and we bet you can guess why):

Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a global movement which kicks off the end-of-year charitable season. Last year, over 700,000 people in 70 different countries volunteered, raised awareness, and donated over $116 Million for various causes…

…all in ONE day!

Your Favorite Brands Get Involved.

Here at Giving Assistant, our mission is to improve the social impact of online shopping year-round, so we LOVE when our favorite stores give back to the community. Here are just a few examples of fantastic brands doing their part on Giving Tuesday:


Your go-to store for baby and children’s clothing is amplifying its partnership with Pajama Program with a one-day “One for One” campaign. For every pajama purchased on November 29th, either in-stores or online, Carter’s will donate a pair of pajamas, up to 100,000! This is the first year Carter’s has launched this Giving Tuesday promotion, so help them make it a huge success and help a child in need get a good night’s sleep.

Source: Pajama Program

Source: Pajama Program


The Petco Foundation has invested more than $157 million in animal welfare since its founding in 1999. Through December 24th, your donations will help animals across the country find loving homes, and for every in-store purchase of a 2017 Petco Foundation calendar, 100% of the proceeds will benefit adoptable pets. Finally, purchase any bag of Instinct Raw Boost Mixers through Dec. 24, and Nature’s Variety Instinct will donate $1 to the Petco Foundation, up to $100,000! Don’t forget to shop through Giving Assistant to earn 8% cash back on Petco purchases.



This Giving Tuesday, Gilt is partnering with one of our favorite charities, Feeding America. Gilt City will match dollar-for-dollar each donation made by their shoppers, up to $10,000! Feeding America works with a broad network of over 200 non-profit organizations that help distribute healthy, nutritious meals to the 42 million Americans who struggle to have enough to eat.


Gilt also works closely with Tom’s Shoes, a for-profit retailer that has donated over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need through their One-for-One program. Additionally they have funded thousands of eye exams and provided clean water, safe birth services, and bully response training. Earn 7% cash back when you shop at Tom’s Shoes through Giving Assistant and earn 8% cash back on Gilt purchases through Giving Week.


Kohl’s Cares is an remarkable initiative that has raised nearly $300 million since 2000! For every purchase of select $5 items, Kohl’s will donate 100% of the net profit to children’s health initiatives nationwide. Items on this list currently include:

  • Curious George
  • Corduroy
  • Madeline
  • Coloring books
  • And more!


And when you shop at Kohl’s on Giving Tuesday you’ll earn 8% cash back through Giving Assistant.

Blue Nile

Not only do your purchases at Blue Nile earn 6% cash back AND double donations to your favorite charity throughout Giving Week, but this diamond retailer is also one of the sponsors of Obliteride, an annual cycling event that supports lifesaving cancer research. Blue Nile’s CEO, Harvey Kanter, was 2016’s largest individual fundraiser for Obliteride, a cause close to his heart as a cancer survivor.

Source: Obliteride

Source: Obliteride

Let’s make this Giving Tuesday the most successful yet!

When generous individuals and global brands join together, there’s no limit to the amount of good we can do! Shop at the above stores through Giving Assistant this Giving Tuesday and help make 2016 the most charitable year to date.

Make the Holiday Home of Your Dreams with Home Depot

Make the Holiday Home of Your Dreams with Home Depot

Home Depot

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year. But, it can also be stressful when it comes to your finances. Getting everyone on your list the things they want can be affordable though with cash back and money saving coupons from Home Depot and Giving Assistant.

Do you have a DIY guy on your list? If so, then Home Depot offers many great gift ideas that would make any Do-It-Yourselfer happy! You can even find home décor and gardening items for the ladies in your life. 

Cash Back

You can save a bundle at Home Depot when you combine their great holiday sales with cash back from Giving Assistant. Check out Home Depot’s savings center to see all the countless deals and promotions they have going on for a savings of 40% or more. You just can’t beat great sale prices and cash back at this time of year to make your holiday shopping less stressful.



Another great way to save on gifts from Home Depot is coupons. You can find some truly great coupon codes at Giving Assistant.  Giving Assistant offers coupon codes for many different Home Depot gift ideas from power tools to appliances, and everything in between! Also be sure to register with Home Depot online to receive money saving coupons and updates on holiday sales events.

Finding an affordable gift from Home Depot will be a cinch when you utilize cash back and money saving coupons from Giving Assistant. Put the joy of giving back in the holiday season with a wide variety of gifts from Home Depot and money saving coupons with cash back from Giving Assistant!

Prep & Save for Holiday Adventures with Backcountry

Prep & Save for Holiday Adventures with Backcountry

The holidays are the time of year that many people find themselves in debt just to get everyone on their list something they will love. But, holiday shopping doesn’t have to break the bank! Many of us have at least one, or more, people on our list that love the outdoors! Backcountry is the perfect shopping destination for all things outdoors. Backcountry offers email subscribers exclusive discounts and flash sales, Maybe, you’re not so outdoorsy yourself, but still want to buy that perfect gift.   Backcountry offers a unique option called Gearheads. Gearheads are real people who have knowledge in many various areas and will help you find the right gear for the people on your holiday shopping list!

And, you’ll be pleased to know that you can save even more by shopping through Giving Assistant.


Cash Back

Backcountry has a wide variety of holiday gift ideas that would make be perfect for anyone from the runner to the skier.  With popular brands such as Adidas, North Face, and Oakley you will be able to find a great gift that will bring a smile to anyone’s face. Backcountry is also known for catering to their customers for a personalized shopping experience. Not only do they offer individual help and support tailored to each customer, they also offer great ways for their customers to save! Cash back is just one great way to save when shopping for some really awesome outdoor gear.  By combining cashback through Giving Assistant with Backcountry’s member only deals, you can save big on some really great gifts this holiday season.



Another great way to save on gifts from Backcountry is coupons.  You will receive coupons in your email when you sign up to become a member.  You can also find some really great coupon codes at Giving Assistant.  Cashback, coupons, exclusive deals, and holiday sales from Backcountry will allow you to get the outdoor gifts they will love without having to sweat the cost!

Shop & Save at Vera Bradley this Holiday Season

Shop & Save at Vera Bradley this Holiday Season

The gift giving season is upon us! The holidays bring joy and happiness to many faces, until you see your bank account. Nothing kills the joy of holiday gift giving quicker than a pile of holiday bills. Don’t let financial worries ruin the most joyous time of year! Shopping Vera Bradley’s awesome gift ideas through Giving Assistant will save you a bundle and put the joy back in the holiday season.

Cash Back

Vera Bradley carries some beautiful gifts for that special lady in your life. Not only does Vera Bradley carry their famous bags, but you will find many other suitable gifts as well! From stationary to footwear, you’re sure to find the perfect gift. Many items even allow for personalization to make that gift extra special. You may find many items on sale for the holidays. Sign up with your email to receive exclusive offers, birthday savings, and updated sales information. Combine these super deals with cash back from Giving Assistant to make your holiday shopping a little easier!



You can save up to 50% when you use coupon codes from Giving Assistant. Giving Assistant offers coupon codes for many different Vera Bradley items in varied styles and colors to fit anyone’s fashion choice! You will also find coupons for free shipping.


Don’t let the worries of holiday debt get you down. Shop Vera Bradley through Giving Assistant for cash back and money saving coupons to brighten your holidays and bring the joy back to gift giving!