For the last ten years or so, my extended family gathers for Christmas dinner but instead of giving each other gifts, – we really don’t need anything – we all put whatever amount of money we feel we can afford to donate into a hat – money that would have gone toward store-bought gifts. Then each person puts in one suggestion of a charity that they would like to support. One suggestion gets drawn and the pot of money gets allocated to that charity with the suggester receiving the tax receipt.
My kids, age 6 & 9 when we began, even did extra chores throughout December so they could have money to contribute too. They were happy to pass up gifts from aunts, uncles and grandparents in order to give to a worthy cause (after all, they still got gifts from Santa).
The tradition of giving is not new at this time of year. Whether you think of giving as a feel-good practice, a feeling of obligation, or maybe simply as a tax break before the year-end, the choices of places to donate are endless and varied.
That, my friends, is why I am so excited to share these two companies I’ve come across that I feel break the mould of traditional donation locations. (I get absolutely zero kick-back, I pinky swear!)
If you’re an entrepreneur, or know one, you know how hard it is to get a business off the ground.
Now add to that third-world conditions, very little money or food, and just struggling to survive from day-to-day.
What if there was a way that these people could help themselves get out of that situation using the skills they have and the knowledge of what they need based on their daily lives and traditions.
Well, the companies I’m about to reveal assist in entrepreneurial endeavours in third-world countries, empowering citizens to create businesses that change the lives of thousands of their fellow countrymen and women.
Given a leg-up, these people are able to stand on their own and grow profitable businesses. Money invested, once re-paid – and it is repaid – gets reinvested toward other entrepreneurs. A real pay-it-forward practice.
But don’t take my word for it, check out the websites for yourself and read about the hundreds of people, families and communities that are being helped to help themselves.
Being an entrepreneur myself, I know how much time and effort it takes to get a business off the ground and keep it rolling. I can’t imagine even attempting it, let alone thinking about it if faced with the challenges of poverty.
Wouldn’t a donation in the name of an entrepreneur you know – who really doesn’t need another reindeer sweater – make an excellent holiday gift? (I can hear them thanking me now!) You’d be saying, “Your entrepreneurial spirit has inspired me to give someone less fortunate the chance to succeed, just as you have.”
I can tell you from first-hand experience that it feels great to know my money is helping kick-start a chain reaction of good.
Please take a look and decide for yourself.
The Acumen Fund