by Ashley Lodato
It's widely known that giving has as many--if not more--benefits for the giver than for the recipient. Giving makes you feel happy. It lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. Giving increases self-esteem, lowers depression, and feeds contentment. Giving nurtures cooperation, social connection, and civic participation. And most importantly, giving inspires gratitude, which opens hearts and minds to the beauty and wonder of life.
There are hundreds of reasons to give, and chief among them is the concept that when we all do good, we all do well. Giving results in cleaner air and water. Giving feeds the hungry and clothes the poor. Giving preserves open spaces. Giving builds libraries, schools, and shelters. Giving protects civil rights and civic liberties. Giving produces a higher standard of living.
At Bronwen Jewelry, charitable giving has been at the core of our company's vision since its inception. Sure, we make jewelry that helps people feel great about how they look, but we've also always been committed to making a wider impact on social and environmental causes.
Take, for example, our partnership with Driftseed, a nonprofit with the mission of education, outreach, and documentary storytelling to build a better world. Bronwen gives the foundation a portion of sales of our Litte Stones Bracelet, which we designed specifically for the organization. We also support EarthWorks' No Dirty Gold campaign, which drives change in the mining industry's human rights and environmental practices.
Many years ago we stopped using coral in our jewelry designs and joined prominent jewelers such as Tiffany & Co. in coral conservation awareness through the Too Precious to Wear campaign. And we support the Bend-based WorldMuse, which inspires women to create positive social change from within. WorldMuse connects women to their own sense of purpose as well as to each other, and provides the tools and support they need to create positive change in their lives, in their communities, and in our world.
We feel proud of all of our charitable giving, but we hold a special place in our hearts for conservation causes, since our Active Jewelry line is designed for gals who love the great outdoors as much as we do. One of our favorite organizations is the Conservation Alliance. Located right here in Bend, OR, the Conservation Alliance engages businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values. It's the 1989 brainchild of leadership at REI, Patagonia, The North Face, and Kelty, who wanted to increase outdoor industry support for conservation efforts by funding community-based grassroots campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat.
If you're an active gal, you might already support your local land trust or conservation group (Central Oregon gals--consider the Deschutes Land Trust!). Giving to local and regional conservation organizations is a rewarding way to ensure that the special places you play will remain wild and open in perpetuity.
If you're invested in social causes, we highly recommend Kiva, a global microlending non-profit. If the recent wildfires in northern California are causing you grief, the two best ways you can help are: 1) visit the Napa Valley--bring your tourist dollars back to the region; and 2) contribute to the Napa Valley Community Foundation's disaster relief fund. If Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands' devastating hurricanes broke your heart, join 5 former presidents in providing relief through their One America Appeal.
The sheer number of organizations eligible for charitable gifts can be overwhelming, so always vet your recipients through a source like Charity Navigator, which helps you determine how and where charitable funds are spent.
At Bronwen Jewelry, we're filled with ideas of things that you can give to others. But the best gift you can give us is the knowledge that you join us in helping care for the planet and its people, one thoughtful charitable gift at a time.