As we head into the 2006 holiday season, many people seem as interested in making a contribution to the greater good as they are in checking friends and relatives off of their shopping list. Fortunately, there are ways to do both, as a variety of companies offer products that benefit particular causes.
We have listed here a few places to start, and there are plenty of other ways to help make a difference: Ralph Lauren's Bruce Edwards Golf Shirt to fight Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) or Pink Pony line to prevent breast cancer; The Body Shop's lip care stick and soap that support domestic-violence-prevention programs; MAC Cosmetics' Viva Glam lipstick and gloss, which supports the MAC AIDS Fund; and Lilly Pulitzer's "Tied to the Cause" scarf benefiting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation are just a few.
While this may be a budget-buster, Tumi's backpack, designed by sculptor Anish Kapoor, is also very cool. The bag contains a solar panel for charging PDAs and cell phones, a laptop sleeve, and a slew of pockets and removable compartments for keeping gear ready to go in any environment; 100 percent of profits benefit Doctors Without Borders. $695; www.tumi.com
For the 2005 holiday shopping season Riedel, the acclaimed producer of wine glasses, created a Pink O Wine Tumbler benefiting Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The product was such a hit that Riedel created Pink O Champagne Glasses for 2006 to support the same organization. $27 for two; www.riedel.com
When Giving a Little Gives a Lot
Microlending is the practice of giving loans as small as $100 to entrepreneurs in the U.S. and internationally to help them start a business and improve their lives. Forty-year-old ACCION International allows you to make a donation in someone else's name, and ACCION will send him or her a card announcing your gift. Amounts vary; www. accion.org