Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Just in time for Black Friday: Giving gifts that give back

I don’t know about you, but I detest how our culture elevates consumption during the holidays. The media hypes it as if they’re town criers: Buy! Buy! Get the greatest deals! Limited supply!

It’s no wonder people get crushed rushing into the stores.

But if you do have people on your shopping list, you can reduce income inequality by simply shifting about 5% of your purchasing to poor neighborhoods. Try out a coffee shop, eat lunch at a hole-in-the-wall ethnic bistro, check out the arts and crafts place. Buy your groceries once in a while in that neighborhood.

Researchers were shocked to find that if as few as 5 percent of commercial transactions were changed—so that capital flowed from richer to poorer neighborhoods—income inequality in those cities was drastically reduced, up to 80 percent.

Want an alternative to the Holi-daze? Give charities. You’ll find a bunch of charities you never heard of if you start searching for ones tied to interests of your family members.

When my neice was a tweener, she was in love with snow leopards. So I adopted one in her name for a year. My godchild was an avid soccer player so I found a charity that gives soccer balls to kids in war-torn areas to give them a sense of normalcy. When my neice grew up, I once asked her about my practice of giving charities: did she think it was weird, a cop out or did she like it? She said it was really cool; she got to brag about adopting an animal, supporting it for a year. And what about my soccer godchild? When I gave him a graduation check, he decided to give half of it away to charity.

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