PhiLAnthropist Gift Guide: Gifts That Give More, Part I

ABJECT.jpg Abject Object's Pocket Scarf is the product of a collaboration between the Downtown Women's Center and Project H. Photo courtesy Project H.

The holiday season is all about giving. We know that. Somewhere in between waking up at 3am for the doorbuster deals, braving the mall crowds and boycotting consumerism all together, we can maintain our "holiday sanity" by buying gifts that support those organizations working to drive social change and improve the lives of others. We've divided this into two parts. Part I lists those gifts for when you actually need to present the recipient with a tangible good, otherwise, you ruined the Festivus...for everyone. In Part II, you'll find organizations that use your donation to give a gift to someone else less fortunate

Have some gift ideas of your own that we missed? Leave them in the comments, and as always, email us with your PhiLAnthropist ideas.

Project H's Abject Object Accessories
Empower homeless women
A partnership between Project H Design's LA chapter and the Downtown Women's Center has led to the creation of various unique and sustainable accessories made out of recycled and found materials. Items include a bag that doubles as a hammock, a pocket scarf (pictured above) and a rug made out of TOMS shoe scraps. Local designers volunteered their time to work with women at the Center and teach them sewing skills to help design and make these products. Each individual items has it's own story behind it and they will be available next week, December 12, at Artecnica, during Abject Object's official launch party. Expect to see these items other local stores thereafter.


mud-cares-palette.jpg MUD Cares Palette eye shadow, $25
Support impoverished children in Kenya
NextAID teamed up with MUD to create this eye shadow palette and 100% of the proceeds go toward building homes for African children who are orphans as a result of AIDS. 100%! The proceeds will "fund the final construction and initial operations of two children’s homes in a poverty-stricken town located 25 miles southeast of Nairobi" Buy online or at the MUD Store in Burbank
129 S. San Fernando Blvd.//Burbank, CA 91502//818-557-7619


Unique LA + 826LA
Buy local, support local design and children's creative writing programs
We mentioned this last week, and with over 300 vendors, you are certain to find a gift for just about everyone on your list at this weekend's Unique LA gift show. Every attendee gets a free cotton tote bag designed by Shepard Fairey's Studio No.1. That's a pretty good gift in itself! And most importantly, $1 from each ticket goes to 826LA, certainly one of LA's most fun and creative organizations dedicated to inspiring creative writing among students ages 6-18. LAist visited the 826LA Time Travel Mart and it's also a perfect gift shop.


bark.jpg Bark Pet Photography
Photograph your pet, help other animals find homes
For more than a year, the founders of Bark Pet Photography have been busy with lots of "pro-bone-o" work. In addition to offering affordable pet photography services, they volunteer their time to photograph rescue animals and create local and national adoption campaigns, such as this 6-month campaign for Sugar and another for Scooby Roo (pictured). They work with Molly's Mutts and Meows and Fuzzy Rescue, two local adoption agencies, to spread the word about rescue animals. So this year, if you really want to prove that you do in fact have "the cutest dog ever," use Bark Pet Photography to take some portraits and your argument will be much more convincing.


The Best of The Moth CD Set, $50
Support literature and a growing storytelling community
LA is fortunate to be one of the cities that hosts a bimonthly Moth StorySLAM, giving individuals a chance to share their stories and take part in this wonderful and growing community event
(and LAist did). In addition to the SLAMs, The Moth, a not-for-profit, produces a phenomenal podcast each week, while running a the Moth Community Outreach program. "The Best of the Moth" is a 10-disc CD featuring some of the best original stories told by Dominick Dunne, Lewis Lapham and Jonathan Ames.


Pablove Foundation; CD, $15, Cycling Jersey $110 and more.
shortsleevejersey.jpg Raise awareness and support the fight against children's cancer
After losing their son Pablo to a bilateral Wilms’ Tumor, a rare form of children’s cancer, six days after his sixth birthday, his parents Jo Ann Thrailkill and Jeff Castelaz, started the Pablove Foundation. Pablo underwent treatment at Children's Hospital Los Angeles; the mission of the Pablove Foundation is to both support CHLA and give money to improve the lives of children with cancer, nationally and locally. Last week, Pablo's father finished a 3,100 mile ride from St. Augustine, FL to Los Angeles, all part of the foundation's efforts to fight and raise awareness about children's cancer. They have some amazing merch for sale from such as their Give. Listen. Help. CD as well as a variety of cycling gear, from caps to arm warmers to jerseys.


kiehls.jpg
Khiel’s Limited Edition KAWS Crème de Corps Holiday Collection, $27-$70
Engage young hospital patients through the medium of contemporary art
This is way better than giving someone a bottle lavender lotion you found last-minute at CVS. Artist Brian Donnelly, professionally known as KAWS, designed these limited edition bottles and 100% of the profits go to RxART, an organization that utilizes art and encourages creativity to improve the experience of pediatric patients while "mending the broken spirit of patients caught in that failing system". Yes, 'that failing system' means healthcare. This hand cream available online and various Kiehl's locations.


Funk Aid for Africa Compliation, $10
Support impoverished children in South Africa
Sales from this afro-beat, reggae, funk compilation will help raise funds for South African children devastated by AIDS and poverty. More specifically, they will go toward a "green sports facility at NextAid's environmental community center in Dennilton, South Africa". You don't even have to leave your house to buy this one...it's available online.

charity: water
Bring clean water to those in need
big_box.jpg charity:water is committed to bringing clean water to people in developing countries. With over a billion people in need of clean water, charity: water has their work cut out for them, and they are bringing donors along to watch their progress every step of the way. Recently, they featured a live webcast during the drilling of wells in Ethiopia. For $24, you can buy their "Little Black Gift Box", which includes a charity water bracelet but also provides clean water to one person in a developing nation for 20 years. For $80, send someone a charity: water tee, 5 bracelets, a DVD and a sustainable Thermos Hydration bottle.


good hlp 3.jpg
And finally, a PhiLAnthropist gift guide wouldn't be complete without including our favorite magazine, GOOD, whose founder, Ben Goldhirsh (LAist interview) was kind enough to spend some time with LAist earlier this year and our favorite shoe company,TOMS, whose founder, Blake Mycoskie (LAist interview), also spoke to LAist in 2009.

Thanks to Sasha Mann and Julie Wolfson for help with this guide.