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BLOG: On the Lam

with Chrissie Lam

Paying It Back vs. Paying It Forward

Paying It Back vs. Paying It Forward

Here’s why charitable donations matter—and why we’re paying it forward in 2018.

Love Is Project is not a jewelry company—we’re a movement pushing for equal educational and economic opportunities for women worldwide. We seek to accomplish this by helping female artisans in developing countries develop careers that benefit them both professionally and personally, and by using these fairly-produced goods to build a global supply chain of love and empathy.

We think of this ethical supply chain as paying it back. In other words, we’re fairly compensating people for the amazing work they’re doing by applying generations of handicraft and experience into making beautiful bracelets, bags, and dog collars using local materials. We pay it back by offering fair wages, benefits like healthcare and paid vacation, and by working with our artisans as equal partners.

But what about paying it forward? Love Is Project is already global in our reach, but practically speaking we can’t be everywhere and solve everything. That’s why we want to amplify our impact in any way possible by supporting other organizations doing the hard and important work of creating opportunity, providing support, and mitigating disaster both at home and around the world.

In 2018 we’ve made a concerted effort to seek out organizations that could use our assistance, and to make donations that enable them to provide help, resources, and healing when it’s needed most. We’d love to share some more info on these organizations, if you’re interested in reading more (or donating!)

RENEW (Bhutan)

Founded by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sanjay Choden Wangchuck, RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture, Empower Women) supports women and children in Bhutan with a special focus on survivors of domestic violence and sexual or gender-based violence.

RENEW is unique in that it provides much-needed relief during times of crisis, but also empowers women by equipping them with support and resources to rebuild.

Founded in 2004, it’s the only organization of its kind in the entire country, and provides absolutely critical resources including:

  • Free legal aid (utilized by 95% of clients)
  • Free counseling
  • Emergency medical assistance
  • Educational scholarships
  • Micro-financing including micro-loans and insurance

In additional to these services, RENEW also operates Gawailing Happy Home, a 24-hour shelter that also offers crisis intervention, meditation practices, childhood education and livelihood training for adults.

ACCESS Development (India)

This nonprofit works tirelessly to reduce poverty in India. Poverty is a systemic, multifaceted issue, but ACCESS uses a special two-prong strategy to ameliorate suffering and create economic opportunity: a microfinance platform and their Livelihoods program.

The microfinance platform provides critical services to Micro Financial Institutions, organizations that offer loans and financial services to those who need them. Microfinance is an essential component of the fight against poverty, because it provides credit and liquidity to start businesses, ride out a rough period, and make investments.

The Livelihoods program seeks to improve the lives of the working poor by developing and applying sustainable solutions for income-generating activities.

It Gets Better Project (International)

It Gets Better started as a viral social campaign, and has evolved into an international multimedia movement that uplifts, empowers, and connects LGBTQ youth. Their mission is to provide resources for kids struggling with sexuality and gender identity, regardless of their culture or country.

Founded by Dan Savage and Terry Miller, It Gets Better reaches millions of young people around the world through screenings, book readings, videos, community-based service providers, and more.

Bali Children’s Foundation

Rural communities in Bali are heavily dependent on farming, which leaves them vulnerable to both natural and man-made disasters. A lack of a social safety net can mean dire consequences, and a high cost of education that makes it difficult or impossible to seek better opportunities.

Bali Children’s Foundation helps lift rural families out of poverty by funding education for disadvantaged children. They support traditional boarding schools, but have also recently expanded to funding community-based education projects, which enable children to live at home with their families.

In May, the Foundation put on an Ultra Hope Marathon to benefit 100 Balinese children and their families. 15 participants from around the globe ran an 84-kilometer endurance challenge over the course of seven days with the help of the community and local businesses.

Green School (Bali)

In a wall-less campus in the heart of the Balinese jungle, Green School turns out the world’s next generation of green leaders. An international community of students focus on sustainability issues, entrepreneurial learning, and receive a community-centric education.

Green School relies on scholarships to make this incredible educational experience (and important contribution to worldwide sustainability) accessible to children from a variety of backgrounds.

Cruz Roja Guatemalteca (Red Cross Guatemala)

The recent eruption of Volcán de Fuego killed dozens and injured hundreds, forced the evacuation of thousands, and otherwise impacted over 1.7 million people in Guatemala.

Cruz Roja Guatemaltec stepped in to provide disaster relief that included blood drives, much-needed emergency medical aid and supplies, and food.

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School

On Valentine’s Day this past February, 17 children were brutally murdered in school by a classmate wielding a gun. The kids of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida turned their grief into action by standing up to the government, the media, and to ineffective adults to demand change.

In the process, they’ve awakened a new movement: They planned the March for Our Lives (attended by millions worldwide), organized boycotts of companies that support the NRA and gun sales to children under the age of 18, and went on a countrywide tour this summer to share their stories, continue the conversation about gun violence, and to register voters.

Colorado Correctional Industries (Colorado)

The Colorado Correctional Industries Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program is designed to give back to everyone involved by providing pre-trained dogs to the outside world.

Offenders receive vocational training to earn their certification in Canine Behavior Modification, allowing them to effectively train dogs. In the process, they’re acquiring valuable skills, earning a salary, and building a resume.

Dogs in the program are rescues from all over the state of Colorado, and in turn become a huge asset to the community by learning the necessary skills to become everything from a well-mannered (and loving!) family pet to a caring companion for the elderly.

What’s Next

One huge component of women’s empowerment is their health. We’re on the hunt for a standout organization that’s doing important educational, advocacy, and healing work on behalf of women with breast cancer. Do you know of any organizations that meet this criteria? Please send ideas our way!

Xo,

Chrissie

Help us spread more love around the world by purchasing a bracelet.