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Tools of the Trade

Better Giving

Caring is one of the standards of professionalism shared by Ontario teachers. This season, lead by example and show you care with gifts that contribute to the greater good.

By Tracey Ho Lung

  1. The Body Shop’s Give Joy initiative donates $300,000 from gift sales to the construction of five new schools in Community Fair Trade areas around the world — Nepal, Southern and Northern India, Honduras and Ghana.

  2. The Canadian Women’s Foundation and the Big Sisters of Canada mentoring programs benefit with each purchase of Avon’s Start Something bracelet, $9 (with rhinestones, $20) — they receive 100 per cent of the net proceeds. A hidden multi-tasker, this rubber bracelet doubles as a 1 GB USB key.

  3. Half the net profit from Me to We’s array of locally made collectibles (clothing, stationery, accessories, books and travel), in such countries as India, Kenya and Ecuador, goes directly to their charity partner, Free The Children, with the other half reinvested into the social enterprise.

  4. For every $5 spent in-store at an Urban Barn between November 15 to December 8, one brand new fleece blanket is donated to a local shelter. Last year, Urban Barn donated 8,000 blankets across Canada.

  5. The Canadian Fairtrade-certified, organic Ethical Bean Coffee producer ($11.99 for a bag of whole beans) is involved with charities that focus on children, arts and culture, including a $20,000 per year donation to Child-Aid and Project Somos. The latter is helping to build a village in Guatemala for orphaned and abandoned children.

  6. Plan Canada

    ( Improve the lives of children by supporting Plan Canada, which builds schools, educates teachers, opens health clinics and develops sustainable living for locals. It’s also the charitable brains behind the “Because I am a Girl” initiative, which empowers girls throughout the world to overcome discrimination by giving them tools (an education, access to food and a safe living environment) to become strong and independent women.

  7. Operation Smile

    ( Contributions allow children born with cleft lips or palates to receive reconstructive surgery in a nurturing environment. The organization trains local doctors, provides medical volunteers and supplies. Last year, Operation Smile performed 18,668 surgeries, which makes it the largest volunteer-based charity providing free cleft surgeries in the world.

  8. Canadian Feed the Children

    ( The Canadian charity provides long-term sustainable food solutions in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Uganda — and even at home in Canada — through their creation of school gardens and nutritional programs. Their Best Gift Ever section makes donating easy, buy a chicken for $15 or equip an ECE centre for $300.

  9. Kiva

    ( Provide a secure interest-free microloan (as little as $25) to those around the world who don’t have access to traditional banking systems. You choose who borrows your donation: finance a farmer to buy seeds in Guatemala or help someone fix a roof in Pakistan. You’ll be notified once the loan is repaid and can then invest in another borrower, continuing the feel-good cycle.