Holiday Shopping? Last Minute Gifts for Good!

New York, N.Y. Doing things at the last minute is not usually a good idea… until now. If you still have gifts to purchase you are in luck because you are able to access this: Our Gifts for Good Giving Guide.

DSC_3419-1024x638Even famous people do it… local music sensation Fuzz and Carrie of the Caravan of
Thieves talk over their choices from Our Woven Community, while Jan Ivarsson, of
shows a tie he has picked at Mama Jane’s Global Boutique in Southport, CT.

We work with many organizations who can offer an interesting last minute gift. A gift that benefits the J. Luce Foundation, The Stewardship Report, and Orphans International Worldwide as much as it benefits the recipient.

A refugee from Congo displays the purse she made through Our Woven Community, other items can be found at Mama Jane's Global Boutique in Southport, CT.
A refugee from Congo displays the purse she made through Our Woven Community, other items can be found at Mama Jane’s Global Boutique in Southport, CT.

Outside the City:

The Drawing Room, 220 East Putnam Avenue, Cos Cob, CT

Visit and ask about some of their many items that support social and economic development in other countries as well as the US. Two that come to mind are beautiful repurposed ikat pillows from Found Objects and clutch purses made with recycled rice bag and vintage silk from Hands In.

Mama Jane’s Global Boutique, 363 Pequot Avenue, Southport, CT

Founder Barbara Johnson opened the not for profit store to offer a marketplace for impoverished artisans around the globe. The store is a tribute to art and ingenuity. Every item there has a story. Though it is hard to not to touch if you pass the alpaca blankets by Alpaca Lifestyles, sourced by Hilary Nimons of CT to promote sustainable development in Ecuador.  A recent trunk show featured Our Woven Community of Bridgeport CT. OWC uses donated upholstery fabric, vintage weaving and even old ties to sew bags and pillows. The seamstresses are African immigrants living in the Bridgeport, CT area. OWC offers them a meaningful role and community in their new home.

Becker Salon, 2nd Floor, 380 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, CT

Treat yourself or a friend to a lux spa and feel beautiful. Or hint to a special someone how much you would enjoy a visit to Becker. Leave there looking and feeling great and knowing Becker donates a portion of proceeds to non-profits.

Greenwich Women’s Exchange, 28 Sherwood Place, Greenwich, CT

This non-profit is part of the larger Womens Exchange chain, each operated independently. Many of their products are created by local artisans or locally based non-profits including fun soap made by Abilis. There are gifts, childrens clothes, women’s clothes, jewelry and even some antiques.  If you cannot make it Greenwich, visit one of the their partner locations in Brooklyn, Southport, or Scarsdale.

Saffron Trading Company, 14 South Broadway, Nyack, NY

An homage to creative, eclectic foreign décor, you can get lost in here. Not from the size but the wide array of gifts, clothes and decorative items. Their fun felted ornaments made by a non-profit in Nepal are a place to start but you don’t know where you will end.

In New York:

Tusk Ltd., 242 W. 26th Street, New York, NY

In addition to hosting a recent fundraiser for an OIWW partner orphanage in India, which we appreciated, we love their beautiful leather. You may also purchase their bags and wallets at a number of high end boutiques and department stores but if you visit this HQ you get to meet the founders and designers.

Swap the Biz

It is not your usual gift but the recipient would be very happy to be given a membership, for one event or many, to attend one of these targeted networking events. This is ideal if they are in sales, financial services or are looking for a new place to hang their hat.

Red Leaf Coaching

Give a gift that means you will be thanked in the most gracious, mellifluous terms that you have ever heard from the recipient. Ideal for someone who would like to polish their presentations or simply feel better about how they communicate.

Incognito Bistro, 30 West 18th Street, New York, NY

Give this gift to yourself or someone else. The food is great and the ambience even better. They make a very friendly, welcoming spot to area non-profits as well and we love having events there.  It is also enjoyed by members of partner groups such as the NY Lions Club.

Yefsi Estiatorio, 1481 York Avenue, New York, NY

If you know someone who likes greek food, send them a gift certificate to Yefsi. If you don’t know someone who likes greek food, send them here and you soon will. The home of our recent Hellenic Fund launch everyone was reminded how much they love many dishes even if we cannot pronounce them.

Orpheus Luxury Collection

If you are not sure who you would give an Orpheus trip to, I will volunteer myself. Whether you choose a jet or a yacht to reach your destination you will be part of a luxury travel initiative. Your trip helps to fund partner non-profits.

Buddy’s Dog Den, 429 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

A visit to Buddy’s is a gift to you and your dog. You can go wherever you need to go, knowing they are receiving top care. Buddy’s has outdoor space as well as a commitment to natural foods, treats and products. We also appreciate Buddy’s support of area animal rescues.

BFD Firehouse Studio, 176 Norman Ave, Brooklyn, NY

If you know an art lover, stop by BFD to see the unique sculptures of Janet Rutkowski. You may walk out with a gift for yourself as well.

Haresh Lalvani, SEED54, 1330 Ave of the Americas, NYC (54st Street at Sixth Avenue)

After you visit BFD Firehouse Studio on Brooklyn make your way to the home of Haresh Lalvani, the renowned sculptor and professor. If you cannot get to the Avenue of the America’s, ask for his work at the MOMA store.

Heifer International. If you still don’t know where to go for a gift, don’t have a cow….g ive one. There are many wonderful online charitable gift options including Heifer International. Heifer will donate, in the name of anyone you suggest, a life altering gift of livestock to an impoverished village in the developing world.

Sculpting for a cause.  Haresh Lalvani and Janet Rutkowski.

Sculpting for a cause. Haresh Lalvani and Janet Rutkowski.

If you have a veteran in your life or if you don’t- we all owe a gift of gratitude that can be donated to The Wounded Warrior Project. We know the good work being done for the many refugees fleeing war and disaster by the American Red Cross. We have had interaction with a much smaller organization that is finally receiving international recognition, the founder of People Improvement Organization of Cambodia has just been awarded the World Childrens Prize (  You prefer something in our hemisphere?  Look at NicaPhoto ( and their amazing work in the barrio outside of Managua. Or find an organization with meaning to yourself or a friend a make a donation.

Book lovers, do not despair.  We have you covered.  We have had fun reading ‘Little Princes Orphanage: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal’ by Conor Grenan.  Proceeds go to the foundation Next Generation Nepal (  If you are the person who needs to give the absolute latest gift to your reading friends, pre-order ‘Greenpeace Captain’ by Peter Willcox and Ron Weiss, especially if they are fans of Whale Wars or sailing.

If you are concerned because books do not fit in stockings, there is still good shopping to be found.  A jewelry designer with a quiet commitment to supporting non-profits and sustainable living is Nicole Zahour (, don’t forget to ask about custom cufflinks.

If you have gone through our list and exhausted your shopping through these good gifts but still have one left for that hard to buy person, think of a local business who supports a cause that means something to you.  It is not too late to shop for good.

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Susan De Rafelo
Susie De Rafelo is a humanitarian worker who divides her time between the US and overseas. She is the founder of S3 Works sustainability consulting and Hands In fair trade marketplace. Upon joining the non-profit world she earned a B.A. In development and an M.A. Humanitarian Services and has worked with groups in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

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