Gifts That Give Back
Spread some cheer while uplifting the community as a whole
By Holly Cowart
A lot has changed lately, including the ways we celebrate. As we enter the year’s final months, the holidays still feel like a warm, familiar respite among the unpredictable. While there’s no wrong way to give, why not make a little extra impact with your gifts this season? Normally generating donations through annual galas and fundraisers, nonprofit organizations have also had to rethink the ways in which they connect with supporters. However, these local establishments have hit the nail on the head, making it easy to spread some cheer while uplifting the community as a whole.
Austin Parks Foundation
Holiday Sweater, $50
Investing in Austin’s green spaces since 1992, the Austin Parks Foundation is one of the reasons we get to brag about our city’s natural beauty. But some may be surprised to find that the nonprofit also has a pretty sweet selection of merch, from YETI tumbler collabs to embroidered beach towels. A favorite is the detailed holiday sweater, which matches the comfy People + Parks-themed socks, available online after November 16. A standout at any sweater- friendly party, these looks will keep nature lovers cozy while helping our parks and trails thrive for years to come. shop.austinparks.org
Texas Food & Wine Alliance
Texas Treats Gift Box, $59
Ultimate Texas Treats Gift Box, $99
What if you could bring the flavors of Texas’ best chefs home for the holidays? Whether gifting your favorite foodie or feeding the mouths around your own table, these deliveries from Assembly Kitchen can’t be experienced anywhere else. Forget a stocking—each box is stuffed with locally made, chef-curated treats that will delight any and all taste buds. Find all things sweet and savory, from a heavenly pairing of tamales and smoked Fresno salsa by Comedor’s Gabe Erales and Philip Speer to seasonal macarons crafted by Chefs Anne Ng and Jeremy Mandrell of Bakery Lorraine—just for starters.
Those looking to step up their game with the Ultimate Texas Treats set can expect an epic finale of flavors thanks to a decadent rice cereal bar from Chef Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar, a biscuit cinnamon roll prepared by Chef Michael Fojtasek from Olamaie and an impressive 16 ounces of pecan-smoked bacon sausage courtesy of Underbelly Hospitality’s Chris Shepherd. The price of each gift set will also ensure a $5 donation to the Texas Food and Wine Alliance, contributing to the group’s mission of supporting Texas food communities through valuable culinary grants and educational programs. Orders can be placed for delivery throughout Texas until Monday, December 21.
Art From the Streets
Fine Art Prints, From $25
Established in 1991, Art From the Streets provides artists who experience or have experienced homelessness an encouraging space to create and sell their work. Throughout the pandemic, their makers have been busy keeping the online marketplace stocked with beautiful artwork and apparel. Although\ unable to host its Annual Show and Sale at the Austin Convention Center this winter, the event will take place virtually on December 5 and 6, providing opportunities for holiday shoppers to snag original pieces, with artists receiving 95 percent of the proceeds. Prints and merchandise for the newly released items will become available online the following day. The nonprofit is also in the process of raising funds to publish a collection of work titled Through Our Eyes: Art From the Pandemic, from which future exhibitions both online and in person will arise. artfromthestreets.org
The Kindness Campaign
Build Your Kind Kit, From $20
This year, everyone could benefit from a little extra kindness and support, especially our kiddos. Founder Andra Liemandt created The Kindness Campaign with the goal to normalize emotional health and instill confidence in the next generation of leaders. Its customizable Kind Kits, perfect for pre-K through fourth grade, bring the TKC curriculum home, starting with the four pillars of emotional learning: self-image, emotional awareness, empathy and community. Choose from different adventures to find the bundle that best fits your child’s needs.
The organization has also had to change plans for its annual gala, moving the evening of fundraising to a virtual format. From November 12 through November 24, Art of Kindness 2020: Feed Your Soul will give supporters the opportunity to purchase an elegant dinner party in a box—feeding up to 12 guests for a celebratory evening in. Even better, the act will provide holiday meals to Central Texas families in need and further spread kindness to students through TKC’s mission. family.tkckindness.org
craftHER Box: Stay Well Edition, $50
Founded by Jane Claire Hervey, bbatx is a nonprofit providing community for women and nonbinary artists in Texas through creative programs and networking events. Quick to pivot to virtual endeavors during the early days of the pandemic, the group has come up with inventive ways to empower local makers. Commemorating its first-ever craftHER Market Week, which took place in October, the craftHER box is still available to order throughout the rest of the year and is filled with goodies made to enrich the soul. Hand-selected from small-business owners in Texas, the gift includes a mini-face planter from Howdy Studios, a golden butter salve from Flowers & Moondust, a selection of teas from Basic Ass Tea and more. Also make sure to look out for Creative Medicine, the new series featuring virtual film showcases and open- air sound medicine sessions at the LINE hotel, launching November 6 and 7. bossbabes.org/thebox