In a season where it is so easy to get caught up in consumerism, it’s so important that we, as individuals, take the time to remember the true spirit of the holidays. It’s a time for giving back to those less fortunate, for counting our blessings and doing our small share to make the world a better place. As a human, a mom, a social good advocate and social influencer, I love to see when large companies take the time to spread social good throughout the year, but especially around the holidays. This year a few of my favorite brands that give back and are doing amazing things for the world and those around them. 

Scholarshare 

Making an investment in a child’s future is one of the most inspiring things you can do for them. By investing in their future you’re validating their worth and letting them know how much you believe in their potential. College is one of the biggest investments you can make in a child’s future and for the upcoming holidays, ScholarShare wants to double the joy by offering its second matching promotion.

ScholarShare Matching Promotion_Holiday

Beginning on Thursday, 12/10/15 at 12:01am PST through Friday, 12/11/15 at 11:59pm PST, California families who open a new ScholarShare 529 college savings account with $50 can receive a matching initial deposit of $50 from ScholarShare. To be eligible for ScholarShare’s matching promotion, California families will need to:

  • Open a new ScholarShare College Savings Plan with an initial deposit of at least $50 – to be contributed and invested at the time the new account is opened.
  • Enroll in the automatic contribution

The matching deposit of $50 will be made to the eligible ScholarShare 529 account on or before 11:59 p.m. PST on June 30, 2016. There is a limit of one matching deposit per new ScholarShare account opened for a new beneficiary. Additional details about the matching promotion, including the complete terms and conditions, can be found at www.ScholarShare.com/holidaymatch.

Best Buy

In 2013, Best Buy launched the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign in stores and raised $887,000 to help St. Jude kids live. The following year that number jumped to nearly $10 million, making Best Buy the second-largest fundraising retailer for St. Jude’s Children’s hospital.  If you have never heard of St. Jude, they’re a is a pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children’s catastrophic disease. 

Also read:  My Inspiring Journey with the Vanity Fair Women Who Do

Samsung

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90% in the next decade. They won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. In addition to their incredible work, what makes St Jude even more special is that families NEVER recieve a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Through their Thanks and Giving campaign,  Best Buy provided the iPads, computers, digital cameras, DVDs and big-screen TVs that outfit the St. Jude Teen Rooms on our campus, where patients can reclaim a sense of normalcy during a challenging time in their lives.

Samsung

Samsung uses it’s Hope for Children umbrella platform to support a total of 8 charities that focus on supporting children’s health, education, and sustainability. Hosting benefit galas, online auctions, and consumer interactive experiences are just some of the many ways they have helped raise over $30 million and awareness for their partner since 2002. 

Microsoft

Microsoft

This year Microsoft is celebrating the launch of Windows 10 through the Upgrade Your World initiative. They have partnered with 10 global nonprofits and 100 local nonprofits who are committed to making the world a better place. 

Sandals

Along with 100 local nonprofits, these 10 global nonprofits were chosen by Microsoft—and you—for their consistent commitment to making the world a better place.

  • Beagle Freedom Project
  • Care
  • Code.com
  • Keep a Child Alive
  • Malala Fund
  • Pencils of Promise
  • Save the Children
  • Special Olympics
  • The Global Poverty Project
  • The Nature Conservancy

This year, they are donating $10 million to #UpgradeYourWorld project in an effort to make the most important upgrades. You can learn more about how Microsoft is working with each nonprofit.

Sandals Foundation

The Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International – spends all year doing charitable work for the communities in which they reside. But each holiday season they work extra hard to make Christmas special for thousands of children through their annual toy drive. By working with the community and guests, Sandals matches each of the $13 dollar donations it receives towards its toy drive to raise funds.

Also read:  How to Donate Your Gently Used Plastic Toys

sandals foundation reading road trip

For instance, during a recent stay at Sandals Ochi Beach, we were able to participate in a Reading Road Trip where we visited a local school to drop off donations and interact with the children. I honestly can’t think of one better way to spend one afternoon of my vacation. Even if you choose not to spend an afternoon with the children, you can always still bring much needed school supplies to donate at the front desk!

It also partners with brands like Hasbro, who have donated 8,300 toys and games as part of their philanthropic contribution to the cause. With their partners they were able to make over 12,000 children across the Caribbean smile this holiday season. 

Verizon

Verizon supports a lot of causes year round, the most important one being Hopeline – truly a year-round campaign and a big drive to collect old/used cell phones that go to support victims of domestic violence. However for Giving Tuesday and the month of December, Verizon is also supporting the team at organize.org – the winner of Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award where Verizon awarded them $1,000,000! Their million dollar idea? To find ways to galvanize the country and promote people to register as organ donors.

Verizon

Did you know, one organ donor can save the lives of 9 peoples?  Yet sadly, 21 people die every day waiting for organ donors. This holiday season you can easily support this noble cause by signing up to be an organ donor yourself through Organize

Kia

Whether they’re supporting teen drivers, green technology and environmental conservation or Veterans programs, Kia is routinely showing their dedication to social good and giving back. This holiday season, Kia has partnered up with DonorsChoose.org to host a series of teacher appreciation events and hands-on project funding workshops in an effort to empower teachers in some of the country’s highest-need schools. 

DonorsChoose.org

The Kia “Holidays on Us” Road Tour will provide nearly $500,000 of flash funding for eligible projects in San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.  The Road Tour will support the DonorsChoose.org goal to have an active project in 100 percent of high-need schools in the next five years.  

Also read:  Turning a Cancer Diagnosis Into a Wedding For a Cause

Teacher appreciation events will be held Dec. 7, 2015, in the San Diego-area at El Cajon Kia, Dec. 9, 2015, in the Phoenix-area at Mark Kia and Dec. 11, 2015, in the Tucson, Arizona-area at Royal Kia.  Meanwhile, best-practices funding workshops will be held Dec. 6, 2015 in the San Diego-area at the Sheraton Mission Valley San Diego and Dec. 8, 2015 in the Phoenix-area at the Clarendon Hotel.

Marriott

For the 17th year in a row, CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, along with its partners, will be raising money to buy thousands of toys for distribution to needy children this holiday season as part of the Spirit to Serve mission. Not only are they filling their “sleigh” with toys, but they’re taking it a step further to also construct playgrounds in these communities. Last year, in partnership with Toys for Tots, they distributed 9,000 toys and built 2 playgrounds for a grand total of 10 playgrounds and 120,000 toys donated in the last 16 years. 
 
Marriott
 
And over in the Caribbean, this holiday season, the executives at St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino will once again be spreading holiday cheer to the surrounding community by giving back. Each year, the executives are given a turkey or ham for the holidays (provided by the resort) and whomever chooses to, will donate that turkey or ham for the chef to cook, along with all the other trimmings of a holiday meal. The resort then works with a local church that provides a list of families in need and the executive team delivers the meals, as well as gifts for the children, to their homes as close as possible to Christmas Day. How cool is that?!?!? 

Disclaimer: While I work with many companies on a regular basis throughout the year, these brands I’ve mentioned above truly hold a dear place in my heart – not only because I enjoy or can’t live without their product, but because of their desire to give back to our community. I’m so proud and honored to be have developed long term partnerships with each of the above and can’t wait to see all the social good they will inspire in 2016!

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