Unless you’re a total scrooge, the holiday season conjures up the spirit of charitable giving along with dreams of tinsel-tied packages. Tackle two turtledoves with one stone by shopping at social enterprises that use a market-driven approach (i.e., creating employment opportunities and selling goods) to address social or environmental issues and stabilize underserved communities. Gifting for good in this way empowers marginalized groups, who benefit from the jobs and training created by these enterprises. That translates into fair wages and marketable skills for them and unique gifts with a thoughtful twist for you to share with everyone on your nice list.
Here, we highlight five social enterprises to help you double down on holiday cheer this season.
Forward-thinking fashion: Muhra
The Syrian refugee crisis has seen more than 3.5 million displaced people settle in Turkey, with more than half a million in Istanbul alone. But given Turkey’s all-time high unemployment rates, opportunities for those refugees to earn a living are limited. Under the Muhra lifestyle and fashion label, displaced Syrian women earn a reliable income (approximately a month’s worth of groceries for a family) by handcrafting colorful drop earrings, versatile messenger bags, screen-printed T-shirts, and more, available in stores and online.
Most of the work is done in the suburbs of Istanbul’s ancient Sultanahmet neighborhood at Small Projects Istanbul—a grassroots NGO and community center that falls under the umbrella of the B Corp–certified Intrepid Foundation—which provides development training, education resources, and a safe space for Syrian families to build community as they rebuild the lives they were forced to leave behind.
Snacks that give back: Women’s Bean Project
After volunteering at a women’s shelter in Denver, Jossy Eyre noticed that the women, though temporarily safe, lacked a sustainable path forward. Thus the Women’s Bean Project was born. After 30 years, Eyre’s initial investment of $500 in two women has grown to $2 million in annual revenue, providing more than 1,000 chronically unemployed women with a pathway to self-sufficiency.
Former gang members, women with a history of incarceration, and addicts alike earn a living manufacturing gourmet goodies like gluten-free baking mixes, seasoned popcorn, and spice blends along with a new line of snacks (Think chili-spiced mango and Thai curry cashews). Also new: peanut butter and molasses dog treats, a collaboration with Wagster, a social enterprise focused on homelessness.
Backpacks with a buzz: BeeKeeper Parade
A cacophony of color crackles behind the doors of BeeKeeper Parade’s modest shop front in Melbourne’s hip Fitzroy neighborhood; nearly a dozen types of bags in vibrant prints hang from the walls and decorate every bit of shelf space. Regular and mini backpacks, weekender duffel bags, toiletry pouches, flat-zip purses, and more are made for fair wages in Cambodia, founder Koky Saly’s homeland, from discarded textiles that would otherwise contribute to the 13.1 million tons wasted annually. Because of that, every piece is totally unique, often with surprise patterns hiding behind zippers. More than simply diverting waste, BeeKeeper Parade puts profits into supporting education for children in Cambodia, where Saly opened a school in his sister’s name in 2014.
Life-changing chocolate: ME to WE
A certified B Corp, ME to WE was founded a decade ago with the vision of what it calls “shifting from ‘me’ thinking to ‘we’ acting” in order to effect global change. The social enterprise’s reach is wide: Some 1,500 women in Kenya and South America are empowered to become artisanal entrepreneurs; 140,000 students benefit every year from leadership training; and more than $20 million has gone back to WE Charity in cash and in-kind donations.
The robust catalog of products—like the Kenyan leather passport holder with a glass bead accent to honor Maasai tradition—are made by the vulnerable populations that sales benefit, such as the Ecuadoran cacao farmers who make the Chocolate That Changes Lives. Sold in dark, milk, goldenberry, and confetti flavors, the bars have won international acclaim at prestigious shows, and every sale helps safeguard access to education for local children.
Smart straps: Hiptipico
In rural Guatemala, Maya women weave to preserve their indigenous culture, creating immaculate embroidery—the very textiles that line Hiptipico’s camera straps and bags. The B Corp–certified ethical brand connects buyers directly with female artisans in the Guatemalan Highlands, who in turn receive steady employment at a pay rate that’s higher than the living wage. Both new weavings and upcycled huipils (the tunic-like garments typical in the region) that can no longer be worn give color to Hiptipico goods, no two of which are the same.
More on holiday shopping from Fortune:
—Give these world-class experiences as gifts this holiday season
—Tiny tech gadgets great for stocking stuffers
—Travel must-haves to give your favorite globe-trotters
—The best books to gift people you know well—and people you don’t
—Must-have luxury items for everyone in your life
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