This post brought to you by American Century Investments. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Surf and Sunshine.

Each day we make choices that impact our lives, our children’s lives, and the future of the Earth. While we don’t always think about how our small actions can have a global effect, they can and do have an effect on the world around us. As responsible citizens, it is up to us to choose businesses that work for the greater good of the world, and give back in any way we can. Here are five businesses and organizations that are inspiring change and giving you the opportunity to make the world a better place.

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American Century Investments

While most of us spend our lives trying to get our money to work for us, there are companies like American Century Investments putting money to work for the good of the world. Jim Stowers started American Century Investments in 1958 with a small amount of money from friends and family, but over the decades it grew into a thriving business with over 1,300 employees. As Jim pondered the legacy of his company, he formed an idea that would become an incredible gift to the world of science.

Jim Stowers and his wife Virginia were both familiar with the medical field and understood the importance of research. Jim’s father had been a surgeon, and Jim had also studied medicine for two years before he entered the Army Air Corp. Virginia had a career as a nurse anesthetist devoting her life to medicine. Beyond their medical experience, they also had personal experiences that changed their lives forever. Jim had survived a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and his wife Virginia had survived her own battle with breast cancer. Their battles with such a terrifying disease inspired them to look for a way to help other families struggling in the wake of illness. 

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In their desire to help others, they decided to start the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. In 2000, ground breaking began for the institute, and the Stowers  created a $2 billion  endowment with cash gifts and 40% equity ownership in American Century Investments allowing for a promising future of dedicated research.

The institute is about a mile from the American Century Investments office in Kansas City, and it is one of the most innovative biomedical research institutes with cutting edge technology to aide in new experiments for the world of science. Today, there are 18 labs persistently studying new ideas that range from curing deafness to treating spinal injuries as well as studying cancer.

The generosity and kindness of Jim and Virginia Stowers is potentially saving lives all over the world, and working towards the cure of devastating diseases. Learn more about Jim Stowers.

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Sand Cloud

By purchasing beautiful beach towels and products you can give back to the beach. Created by three friends that loved beach life, they wanted to find a way to keep them clean and save the vast marine life found in our oceans. In their efforts they began Sand Cloud which offers colorful products, and every purchase it helps keep the ocean clean and safe. Ten percent of all net profits are given to organizations that help save and rehabilitate injured marine life. Our oceans contain some of the last unexplored environments and wildlife that may hold the key to our Earth’s biggest mysteries. It is crucial that we protect the oceans and marine life to help save our planet.

The Empowerment Plan

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Veronika Scott was a 20 year old design product student based in Detroit, MI when she had an incredible idea. She wanted to find a way to help the homeless of Detroit while teaching employable skills and offering people a chance to work for a better life. Veronika would do this by employing mostly homeless parents from local shelters and teaching them seamstress skills so they could work to earn an income that would provide housing and basic necessities for their families. Their seamstress skills would be put to use in making coats that doubled as a sleeping bag for other homeless on the streets. Veronika’s idea was dismissed over and over again. She was told it would never work and that the homeless would not be employable. However, Veronika proved her doubters wrong, and now she is offering a second chance to many that just needed the opportunity. 

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Through The Empowerment Plan she gives previously homeless individuals the skills to make coats that can be used as a sleeping bag, and the sewers are paid a living wage for their work. It gives them the opportunity to gain their financial independence while helping others as well. The coats they make are distributed to homeless on the streets and are given at no cost through the many partnerships and organizations all over the country.

The Empowerment Plan has conducted studies that show for every 1,000 coats they distribute they save 14 lives and there is a reduction in health care costs by $58,800 annually. They have been distributing coats to 29 states and 3 Canadian Provinces. This one small idea is changing lives across the nation and offering a second chance to people that once had nowhere to turn.

Climate Mama

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While many of us dismiss the threat of climate change because we are just too busy, Climate Mama is moving to spread education and awareness to others with facts as well as sustainable and simple ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Founded by Harriet Shugarman, the company’s founder, was in the first group of people trained by Al Gore about Climate Change on how to educate others to bring awareness and change. Harriet has traveled the world and worked on many UN International Conferences such as the first UN Earth Summit. However, it is when she became a mother that she became devoted to truly making the world a better place. She partnered with other like minded mothers and fathers as well as The Climate Reality Project to create Climate Mama. It is a place to read new articles, find a community of parents eager to stop climate change, and get tips and facts as well as ask questions. Climate Mama often references the Native American saying “We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” and it should be the beginning of a wake-up call. We have to save our Earth before it is too late, and it has to start now.

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Out of Print

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The site Out of Print sells apparel featuring elements from iconic literature. Besides their fun and funky t-shirts, they donate a book to a community in need for every product sold  through a partnership with Books for Africa. The organization Books for Africa has shipped over 35 million books to 49 different countries since its start in 1988. By purchasing a fun and eclectic piece of apparel you will be giving a child across the world the gift of a book.  

Be the change you want to see in this world, and start supporting businesses and organizations that work for the greater good of the world.

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15 comments

  1. It’s wonderful to see business that does more than just earn money for the owner. It can only give those involved a stronger purpose and makes this world a better place.

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