Business's Bleeding Hearts
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26 Companies That Are Doing Good Deeds With Your Dollars

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Business's Bleeding Hearts
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Big-Hearted Businesses

There's a famous quote by Bill Gates, uttered in 2006: "I believe that with great wealth comes great responsibility, a responsibility to give back to society …" Gates has always been ahead of his time — both in philosophy and generosity — but 13 years later, his words prove prophetic yet again. Corporate giving has been on the rise for years, with The Giving USA Foundation reporting that charitable contributions by corporations reached more than $20 billion in 2017. So, who's doling out all that philanthropy? Cheapism looked to recent news and rankings, recommendations from thoughtful consumers, and the trends within the corporate-giving sphere to find out which companies — big, small, and behemoth — are giving back in spades.

Amazon
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Amazon

Amazon has become the first signer of a pledge that could help actively address climate change by meeting the goals of the Paris Accords held back in 2015 — and meeting them by 2040, a full decade earlier. It would mean filling 80% of Amazon's energy needs from renewable sources by 2024 and 100% by 2030. But as good a deed as this may sound for people worried about life on Earth, company founder and leader Jeff Bezos made the pledge Sept. 19, only six days after doing a very bad deed: cutting health benefits for part-time workers at his upscale grocery store chain, Whole Foods Market.

Patrón Tequila
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Patrón Tequila

Patrón places a lot of importance on both environmental and social responsibility. The premium tequila company has focused on reforesting efforts in its Atotonilco el Alto, Jalisco, community, and is the first distillery to use a natural gas pipeline as a main energy source to reduce CO2 emissions. Its state-of-the-art water treatment system reclaims clean water from its tequila production, which is then used in cooling towers and for cleaning. Agave fibers and other waste products from tequila production are used to create compost that is then donated to local agave farmers. It also guarantees fair wages for its agave farmers, provides free employee transportation, and offers flexible hours and after-hours educational opportunities to its workforce. The company and employees also participate in philanthropic efforts in the community, including supporting a local food bank and orphanages, as well as through international charitable efforts.

Related: 20 Splurge-Worthy Tequilas That Are Perfect for Summer Sipping

Newman's Own
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Newman's Own

Not many companies can claim to give 100% of profits to charity, but Newman's Own does. The food and beverage company that was founded in 1982, and whose products feature the visage of one of the world's most iconic movie stars, does exactly that. In 35 years, it's donated more than $535 million to organizations in the areas of philanthropic encouragement, children with life-limiting conditions, human rights and empowerment, and nutrition.

Patagonia
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Patagonia

At this nearly 50-year-old outdoor clothing company, "the protection and preservation of the environment isn't what we do after hours," they say — "it's part of our everyday work." From sourcing its fabrics from sustainable sources — think organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles — to establishing fair working conditions and wages to the people who help sew its products, to giving a percentage of its sales to grassroots activities and beyond, Patagonia has shown for decades that it's dedicated to environmental and social causes.

Whole Foods
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Whole Foods

Yes, we complain about their prices — albeit probably less than we used to — but that wallet pain might be alleviated by the knowledge that the Whole Planet Foundation, a private non-profit established by the grocery chain, has dedicated itself to alleviating poverty around the world through microcredits in communities where Whole Foods sources its products. It also runs the Whole Kids Foundation, which uses grants to establish things like a school garden, salad bar, or bee hive to help spark kids' curiosity about where their food comes from.

Dr. Bronner's
Dr. Bronner's

Dr. Bronner's

If you're outdoorsy, you probably know this company that makes organic, Fair-Trade soap products. Founded more than 70 years ago, not only is it committed to environmentally responsible products, it bases its every move — from employee compensation to fair supply-chain principles to advocacy — on six "cosmic principles." Sounds a bit hippy-dippy, sure, but who can't get behind practices like providing 100% free health care to employees, or capping its executives' salaries at no more than five times what its lowest paid employee makes? It also innovates in the areas of sustainable agriculture and packaging, and much more. It's why it was named one of the world's "Top 25 For-Benefit Companies" by Conscious Company Media, a company that serves "as the voice of the conscious business movement."

4ocean
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4ocean

A for-profit company focused on removing plastic from the world's oceans, 4ocean says it has removed nearly 5.5 million pounds of trash from the ocean and coastlines in 27 countries since 2017. It funds its efforts in the simplest way possible — by selling products, mostly bracelets, that come in the original, classic 4ocean version, or are customized to different ocean-dependent species like the whale shark, manatee, and polar bear. Its current goal is to pull about 3,000 pounds of plastic and trash from aquatic environments in Haiti each day, but its efforts continue beyond that region as well.

Tentree
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tentree

This Certified-B Corporation from Canada, which sells men's and women's clothing and accessories, says its goal it to become "the most environmentally progressive brand on the planet," and with a mission to plant 1 billion trees by 2030, it's certainly ambitious. The aim of all this reforestation is multi-pronged and includes wood sustainability, CO2 absorption, habitat preservation, and more. It plans to reach its goal by planting 10 trees for each item purchased on its site, and it's already planted more than 30 million trees to date.

Bombas
Bombas

Bombas

Headquartered in New York City, this sock and T-shirt company donates a pair of socks or a shirt to the homeless population for each item purchased on its website. What's more, it specifically designs its clothing to meet the needs of the population it aims to serve — the "people who don't have the luxury of putting on clean clothes every day" — by using antimicrobial finishes, reinforced seams, and darker colors to show less visible wear. To date, Bombas has donated more than 22 million items.

Tom's
Tom's

Tom's

You're gonna need shoes to go with those Bombas socks, and Tom's has you covered. In fact, Tom's was doing the "One-to-One" purchase-donation ratio long before most other companies. Since its 2006 founding, Tom's and its customers have helped provide shoes, sight, and safe water to more than 94 million people around the world. And it's expanding its philanthropic reach to include donations to ending gun violence and addressing homelessness, mental health, and equality.

Pura Vida
Pura Vida

Pura Vida

Also on the bracelet bandwagon is Pura Vida — although its bracelets are decidedly different from 4ocean's. In addition to employing more than 650 bracelet- and jewelry-making artisans in countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, India, and beyond, Pura Vida established a Charity Collection, devoting a portion of those products' proceeds to 175 charities around the world — around $1.7 million to date.

Aquafil Group
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Aquafil Group

A synthetic fiber and polymer company, Aquafil was established in 1965, and it has a presence in eight countries with 16 plants employing people in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Thailand, and China. The company strives to be sustainable in pretty much everything it does. One of its main contributions to the greater good is through the manufacturing of Econyl, yarn for carpets and garments made from recycled, repurposed nylon waste collected from landfills, mills, and oceans.

Studio Movie Grill
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Studio Movie Grill

This theater chain has more than 30 locations in 10 states, but few of its patrons probably know just how much good the company does. It regularly holds fundraising events for the communities its theaters are located in and beyond, including blood drives, runs, hunger-relief campaigns, and so on. For every 1,000 points its moviegoers earn in the theater's rewards programs, SMG donates a movie and a meal to a non-profit in that community — to date totaling more than 10,000 Movies and Meals. And, finally, calling cinema an "engine of empathy," the company launched the "One Story Movement," an ongoing collection of short films designed "as a platform to open hearts and minds, one story at a time."

TRU Colors
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TRU Colors

Visit this Wilmington, North Carolina-based brewery's website or Instagram page, and it's not immediately clear that TRU Colors is a brewery. But a brewery it is — albeit one as focused, maybe more so, on ending gang violence as it is crafting beer. Founded by rival gang members, the company also employs only gang members, and even started an offshoot, TRU Work, to help more people find employment after its own workforce coffers were full. Conscious Company Media, which profiled the brewery's VP of human resources, Khalilah Olokunola, in its "Top 22 Conscious Business Leaders of 2019" article, noted that, "In December 2018, though TRU Colors had not yet opened its doors, gang violence in Wilmington was already down by 90 percent due to the work they had already begun."

Starbucks
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Starbucks

This global chain gets a lot of grief for the price of its lattes, frappes, and so on, but does it help to know that some of those proceeds go to programs supporting opportunities for youth, employee contribution-matching grants to community non-profits, and support to the tune of nearly $14 million that helps provide access to clean water in developing countries? If that's not enough, consider this: Starbucks has committed to hiring 10,000 refugees in its stores by 2022, and 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2025. That's not all the Starbucks Foundation does, but it's a pretty good start toward feeling a little better about the money you spend there.

Aveda
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Aveda

Founded in Minnesota in 1978, this cosmetics and beauty products company claims to be "a pioneer of holistic beauty, and a champion of environmental responsibility," and it walks the walk. Its Blaine, Minnesota, manufacturing plant uses 100% wind power and is certified as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. But the giving back extends far beyond the corporation's front doors: It leads and supports many initiatives to protect the environment and, since 2006, its charity water program has provided $230 million in clean water initiatives, funding over 35,000 water projects that have served 9.5 million people.

Cuddle + Kind
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Cuddle + Kind

A doll-making company based out of Canada, Cuddle + Kind is a family of five "on a mission to help feed children." To that end, each doll sold translates to 10 meals given to kids in need, and the Woodgate family's goal is to provide 1 million meals each year. The manufacture of its dolls also brings sustainable, Fair Trade employment to a group of Peruvian artisans. Through the end of 2018, the company had provided nearly 7.5 million meals to kids in 66 countries around the world.

Prudential Financial
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Prudential Financial

Founded nearly 150 years ago, this Fortune 500 company has been incredibly successful, and it makes sure it gives back, claiming that since 1976, it has made more than $2.4 billion in what it calls "impact investments" around the world, and almost $900 million in grants and corporate contributions to nonprofits to "strengthen communities, help tackle social challenges, and solve complex problems." It encourages its employees to do the same. In 2017 alone, its employees contributed nearly 80,000 volunteer hours toward impacting local communities across the U.S. Finally, it claims to be the largest capital provider to B Lab, the 2007-founded nonprofit that leads a global movement to promote business as a force for good, and the entity behind the B Corps Certification.

Who Gives a Crap
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Who Gives a Crap

A toilet paper manufacturer is probably an unexpected entry on this list, but this Australian company with the cheeky name, which also sells tissues and paper towels, donates 50% of its profits to building toilets in developing countries, noting that 2.3 billion of the world's residents don't have access to a toilet. While that might not seem like that big a deal, that statistic translates to disease caused by poor water and sanitation, and, says WGAC, the resulting death of almost 300,000 kids under 5 each year. To date, WGAC has donated the equivalent of $1.3 million. And, it notes, its eco-friendly products have "saved a heck of a lot of trees, water, and energy" in the process.

ME to WE
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ME to WE

Based out of Toronto, this company sells goods — jewelry, totes, chocolate, coffee and, yes, more of the ultimate activism-declaring fashion statement, bracelets — that "turn gifting into do-gooding." Through its WE Charity, it donates a large majority of its profits — nearly $20 million cash and in-kind donations to date. It also employs around 1,800 goods makers in Kenya and Ecuador and runs Take Action camps to turn kids into leaders. Not resting on its laurels, ME to WE also recently launched WE Well-Being, a youth-service program aimed at awareness and identification of childhood- and adolescent-onset mental health problems.

Ikea
Ikea Foundation

Ikea

Founded in 1982, the Swedish-founded furniture giant's Ikea Foundation has a mission of creating "a better everyday life for as many people as possible around the world." In 2009, it began to focus more exclusively on improving the lives of children by creating opportunity for them. To do this, it works with strategic partners around the world and, in 2018 alone, donated nearly $200 million to those partners' initiatives. Other projects it's helped fund include those fighting climate change and providing clean, renewable electricity to countries where it's lacking.

Related: 20 Ikea Products to Buy — and 20 to Skip

Google
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Google

In 2018, Forbes named this tech titan one of "The World's Most Reputable Companies for Corporate Responsibility" based on a study done by the Reputation Institute, a reputation measurement and management services firm. Not many people know that Google has a philanthropic arm, Google.org, that focuses on initiatives and projects such as translating books for students in India, using data to uncover racial injustice, and using technology to help job seekers more easily navigate the workforce. Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently announced ways in which the company is working to create more opportunity for everyone, including a 5-year goal to award $1 billion in grants and contribute 1 million employee volunteer hours.

Warby Parker
Warby Parker

Warby Parker

This eyeglass company is yet another business using the "buy one, give one" model, noting that 2.5 billion people around the world need — but don't have access to — glasses. To date, Warby Parker has distributed more than 5 million pairs of glasses. The company also runs the Pupils Project, providing free vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses to schoolchildren in the U.S.

Lego
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Lego

The famed toy brick company has a number of initiatives aimed at building a better world for children, including many that focus on the importance of play in learning, education, and development. But that's not all, of course. The 70-year-old company has invested heavily in wind turbines, also releasing a fully functional 826-piece wind turbine kit made from sugarcane. And, recently, Lego introduced a bricks set designed to help blind and visually impaired children learn Braille. These are just a few of many examples; Goodreturns.org recently named the company as a prime example of "creative corporate social responsibility."

Yoobi
Yoobi

Yoobi

Yoobi makes school supply products for kids — often sold at Target stores. With the profits generated from all sales, Yoobi — working with the Kids in Need Foundation — distributes "classroom packs" to elementary schools across the U.S., in communities where 70% or more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program. Their efforts so far have equaled more than 62 million school-supply items, impacting nearly 4.5 million kids in nearly 150,000 classrooms.

Microsoft
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Microsoft

We started with Bill Gates, and we'll end with him. Tech giant Microsoft has its hands in many philanthropic endeavors. It's investing $25 million in an initiative that will help American workers adapt to changing workplaces and the digital economy. Its Technology Education and Literacy in Schools program is helping bring computer science into educational environments across the U.S. and British Columbia. It's donated cloud services to help more than a million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. There are, of course, plenty of other examples — in total, Microsoft works with more than 200,000 nonprofits and has donated nearly $1.4 billion in grants and technology. In 2017 alone, it gave nearly $170 million in cash to various charities. That's above and beyond the more than $36 billion donated through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.