We've Made Our First Batch Of Donations!
About our mission.
Why we do what we do.
I'm Steve, the founder of Kindest Gifts. I started this project out of a desire to help make the world a better place. One person can only do so much, but lots of people working together can make a massive difference!
As a front line Mental Health Worker, I saw the impact that serious mental health issues can have on the lives of people struggling to cope. Aside from the obvious challenges of living with symptoms of mental illness, people impacted also experience difficulty maintaining relationships, trouble keeping a job, challenges in finding affordable housing, and much, much more. The challenges are virtually endless.
Working in the mental health system, I saw the many gaps in service that existed, and how people often fell through the cracks. The man in desperate need of housing, unable to find an apartment because the waiting list for subsidized housing was over 10 years long. The woman experiencing command hallucinations, harming herself while waiting to be assigned a case manager. Kids living in unsafe conditions because mom or dad abused alcohol or drugs. People facing stigma, being denied services they badly needed because people were afraid of them.
After losing my wife to cancer at the age of 45, I realized there was more I could do by not working in the mental health system than by working in it. I resigned from my position to care for our young daughter, now as a single parent, and set out to create a business that I knew could do far more to improve the mental health of others than I could ever do by working my job.
I taught myself website design, product design, marketing and more, learning as much as I could along the way. I knew I wanted to help people by raising money for mental health initiatives, and realized I could also help people by designing gifts they would be thrilled to give to their loved ones. A true win-win situation.
Given that my late wife worked in youth mental heath (we met at work, actually), it was a natural choice to direct the funds raised from sales to the kinds of organizations and programs that she worked for. That our child has also had to go through the awful grief of losing her mother, experiencing mental health struggles of her own along the way, only served to cement the decision on how to distribute the proceeds from sales.
I'm proud to say that we've begun the process of distributing funds with our first batch of donations. As with many businesses, we're starting out slowly. While not a lot of money (yet), these much needed funds have gone to organizations that provide mental health support and education to youth and children. Thanks to the purchases made by valued customers like you, those organizations have now started to benefit from your kindness. We're doing this together.
It's how we donate that makes us different.
There are many businesses that donate to charity. Many choose to start their own charitable organization as a means to realize tax savings or other benefits. Sometimes those benefits are the primary driving force for a company's goodwill, turning the charitable endeavour into an afterthought.
What seems on the surface like a company doing good is actually an elaborate, expensive structure meant to shelter profits from taxation, provide public relations cover for misdeeds, or give justification for outrageous costs of administering the funds raised. At the end of the day, fewer donation dollars end up making the difference they were intended for.
We do things very differently, intentionally. Every donation we make will be direct to the organizations we support, with no separate foundation in the middle to siphon off the dollars we raise.
Every donation we make will be made without fanfare, without photo-ops with enormous (and expensive) novelty cheques, without anything asked in return. The only expectation we have is that the organizations that receive funds from us will continue to do the great work they're already doing, and more of it, thanks to customers like you.
It's also how much we donate that makes us unique.
Every year of our existence, we will be more generous than the last. Last year, our first in existence, we pledged to donate $2 from every purchase to youth mental health. This year, we upped it to $3 per purchase. We'll keep increasing the amount we donate until we're giving away virtually every dollar of profit we make.
Our promise to you is that we will keep our operations as streamlined as possible to maximize the number of dollars that we can direct towards these terrific organizations. We promise to carefully monitor expenses of equipment and the things we need to do business, to make sure that we're not wasting money unnecessarily. We promise to carefully monitor the wages and compensation of the people that work for us, to ensure that they are treated fairly and paid well for the work they do for us. And we promise to grow the business in a responsible way, caring for our customers, our partners and our communities along the way together, with you.
Lastly, we promise to post regular updates with receipts for every single donation we make. Proof to you that we are doing what we said we would, and backing it up with transparency and accountability.
Our first set of receipts.
A little bit of background before we begin. We started selling products on this site, as well as through an Etsy shop under the name KindestGifts in late 2021. We do this because each option offers it's own benefits, and allows us to reach more customers and raise more money.
Last year, we pledged to donate $2 per Etsy sale to Habitat For Humanity, an organization that provides affordable housing for families, which indirectly benefits the mental health of youth whose families are housed by Habitat for Humanity. Going forward each year, we will identify on our Etsy shop a specific organization that we will donate to. For 2022, we've identified The Youth Mental Health Project.
On this site, we will do our best to support a variety of organizations, selecting one or more agencies each month that we will support. We will do our very best to ensure that the donations going out match the sales coming in with respect to country of origin. We want to make sure that the funds we distribute are helping in the communities in which our customers live and work.
Without further ado, here's the moment you've been waiting for!
In 2021, we had 11 sales on our Etsy shop, for which we pledged to donate $2 each. We also had 5 sales on this shop, for a total of 16 sales, or $32 dollars in donations pledged. We rounded that up to an even $40, and made our first donation on January 31, 2022! 🎉
As expected, sales have been slow to start of the new year in 2022. From the first of January 2022 through the last day of February 2022, we made a total of 6 sales on this site and one sale on our Etsy shop. Those 7 sales at $3 each mean that we were able to donate $21 to the Youth Mental Health Project, thanks to valued customers like you!
This is just the top of the iceberg! With each sale, more funds will be distributed to wonderful organizations such as these. With each sale, youth in America will have greater access to support. With each purchase, you help make the world a better place.
Thank you! ❤️