Wintery holidays are a great time to think about gift-giving, and what better way to honor the season of giving than to not only do something great for friends and family, but also for the people creating, packaging, and selling the gift items?
The Robert Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), created by KKR founding partner George R. Roberts in 1997, has just released a social enterprise gift guide with suggestions for holiday gifts to purchase through companies and organizations that help provide job opportunities for the underprivileged.
REDF’s gift guide includes products from companies that hire the formerly homeless and incarcerated, as well as those that empower women and those with mental health issues or other disabilities. The highlighted companies include:
- Homeboy Industries, which sells apparel, bags, and office goods created and distributed by formerly incarcerated individuals and former gang members;
- The Homeless Gardening Project, which employs the homeless and produces organic products, including lavender, bath salts, and soy candles made with items from a certified organic farm;
- The Women’s Bean Project, which offers handcrafted jewelry and gourmet food items in an effort to help women fight poverty and develop careers;
- Thistle Farms, which offers natural bath and body products as well as helping women develop manufacturing, packaging, marketing, and sales skills;
- The Casey Project, which sells a variety of gourmet cookies and promotes independence and increased quality of life for those with physical or mental disabilities
“For the first time ever, REDF has created a gift catalogue that offers you a simple and meaningful way to do your holiday shopping in style while also changing people’s lives!” wrote REDF President and CEO Carla Javits in the catalogue introduction. She also emphasized that all the products are American-made.
George R. Roberts founded REDF, a California-based nonprofit, with his own money to help end joblessness in the state. After great statewide success, the organization now hopes to expand to a national level, encouraging mission-based businesses to hire individuals who have a hard time getting jobs but are ready to work.