Giving Back.

photo: Shawn Gust

Sometimes a gift doesn’t have to be wrapped up with a big bow. Sometimes it’s your time, your funds, and your heart that do the giving. A few years ago at my design firm we decided to donate to the charity of our choice instead of exchanging gifts. And to this day I think it’s still one of the best gifts I never received.

Here are just a few organizations that would love to have any donation you’re be willing to make. Check out charities and organization in your own region to make a local impact.

World Vision
A humanitarian organization working with children, families, and communities worldwide to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

Girl Effect
Adolescent girls are capable of raising the standard of living in the developing world. Girls are the most likely agents of change, but they are often invisible to their societies and to our media. When everyone knows about the Girl Effect, then real change can happen. The end is nothing less than ending poverty.

Oxfam America
An international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. Rather than provide short-term aid, Oxfam works with local communities to create lasting solutions to poverty by helping people address the root causes themselves.

The Humane Society
Work to reduce suffering and improve the lives of all animals by advocating for better laws; investigating animal cruelty; encouraging corporations to adopt animal-friendly policies; conducting disaster relief and animal rescue; and providing direct care for thousands of animals at their sanctuaries, emergency shelters, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and mobile veterinary clinics.

Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.

Boys & Girls Club
Providing a safe place to learn and grow, ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals, life-enhancing programs and character development experiences, and hope and opportunity. Enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Habitat for Humanity
A nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live.

American Red Cross
Offers neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war and victims of devastating natural disasters with the aim of preventing and relieving suffering.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Finding cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.

For Oklahoma City locals, this is the group I volunteer through. ProjectOKC is a group of online and offline friends committed to loving and serving Oklahoma City. We partner with non-profits, churches, schools, civic organizations and businesses to bring good to the community.


The Gift of Sugar.

I like receiving homemade foodstuffs (weird word, right?) for Christmas, so I imagine others do as well. Cookies, breads, mixes – sure, I’ll take it. But how about taking things a step further, I’m talking about things that someone wouldn’t normally make for themselves. And that something is sugary delicious candy. Perfect to eat at you tiredly write out your holiday cards or just as perfect to set out for company. (As always, click on the photo to be taken to the recipe source.)