A few weeks back I had the pleasure of being introduced to Baby2Baby, a non-profit started by three mom-friends here in LA, who after watching their children grow out of the baby phase, found that they had tons of gear and didn't know how/where to donate it. I learned about Baby2Baby through Honest because, as you may or may not know, Honest is a B Corp (socially minded company) who works in partnership with Baby2Baby, AKA they donate time, money, and product to Baby2Baby throughout the year as part of their "Honest 2 Goodness" initiative.
In Baby2Baby's words:
Baby2Baby supplies Los Angeles families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for their children up to age 12. By distributing new and gently used items to over 40 non-profit organizations including homeless and domestic violence shelters, Head Start programs and hospitals, Baby2Baby serves over 50,000 children each year.
(In order to be eligible for Baby2Baby donations, you have to be below the poverty level and enrolled in some kind of educational program. ED: Similar to Baby2Baby are Room to Grow in NYC and Westside Baby in Seattle.)
I had the pleasure of meeting some of the volunteers when I came in to visit Baby2Baby a few weeks back. This is Amanda who explained to me that most of what she does is "sort" but on this particular day she was wrapping Christmas gifts. Hi, Amanda!
"We rely on the help of our volunteers to sort, organize, and prepare donations for the families our partner organizations serve—we couldn't do it without them," explained Baby2Baby Program Director, Jacqui Khastoo.
When I asked how someone like me could get involved, I was given three options. "Give time, give stuff or give money." (To find out how to get involved in any or all of those options you can go here.)
ED: For those who live in LA, I HIGHLY recommend donating your (gently used) baby items of yesteryear to Baby2Baby. It's super easy to drop your stuff at their Wilshire location and unlike Goodwill, who will turn away toys and plastics, Baby2Baby will take EVERYTHING. I was also told they are desperate for strollers so if you have a stroller you no longer need and you're in LA please consider donating it, here. Thanks!
Last month I interviewed co-founder Jessica Alba about her involvement in Baby2Baby on the same morning as she announced the 2013 Golden Globes noms at, like zero o'clock am PST. When we spoke she was operating on one hour of sleep and she could not have been kinder and more excited to talk about, not only Honest, but Baby2Baby. She also gave me the name of her chiropractor (I had just thrown my back out, ugh) because she is awesome like that. (Thanks, Jessica!)
GGC: Can you tell me why you started Honest?
Jessica Alba: Christopher Gavigan, Brian Lee, Sean Kane, and I started The Honest Company because we were so utterly frustrated with the lack of options for our families — there was so much greenwashing out there and companies would say they were eco when they weren't. They were lying to me and you, and it wasn't right. So we decided to start our own company that was HONEST, a company whose mission it was (and is) to create safe products of the highest quality that could also be affordable and accessible to everyone, and yes, pretty to look at, too. (I was tired of the fact that many eco products were like paper bag brown with no style.)
Will it take us longer to become profitable? Yes. But it will be worth it.
GGC: Why was it important to have a charitable aspect to Honest?
Jessica: I think it's important for every business to have a charitable aspect, especially businesses directed to families. It's our responsibility to give back. So it's a part of our DNA as a company—when you build a company from the ground up, you get to incorporate that into every aspect of your business model. Honest is about giving every child and family access to the safest and best in baby and family products.
GGC: Can you tell me a little bit about why you chose Baby2Baby to be your current charitable partner?
Jessica: I've worked with a lot of non-profits over the years, and I love Baby2Baby because they have very little overhead. Most non-profits spend a huge amount of money trying to raise money, host expensive galas, support large staffs. Baby2Baby is really truly serving families and that's important to us—that the proceeds are going back into the community, that the money we raise and products we donate are going directly to the people we're working to serve.
GGC: Baby2Baby is a local Los Angeles organization. What about communities outside of LA?
Jessica: Yes. We're working with a lot of really smart women to expand Baby2Baby outside of LA. It will stay rooted in Los Angeles, of course, because that is our community, but taking it national is a priority. In the meanwhile, Honest is also working to connect with other national charities like The March of Dimes to start helping other underserved communities that we have not yet reached. Ultimately, we hope to reach everyone and truly make a lasting difference.
GGC: I love that Honest staff, as part of their job description, volunteers their time — that community service is part of the job. (ED: Staff members regularly take time off from work to volunteer within the community. Awesome, right?) How do you manage to keep a business going while also donating so many work hours to help the community?
Jessica: Our values are a huge part of who we are and our employees and their actions reflect that. When we hired, we were looking for passionate people above all else. Experience mattered, too, but to be honest, it was the passion that hooked us. We wanted our team to be passionate—about their families, their community, the environment...our future. This is a company defined by passion, values, and giving back.
GGC: How has your relationship with Baby2Baby impacted your work at Honest?
Jessica: Our mission is to to try to create a healthier environment for children. Baby2Baby reminds us not to take what we have for granted. It reminds us to be thoughtful in our growth and practices and in branding and running the company. We want to make sure we're forever cognizant of our greater mission. Baby2Baby inspires us and we're grateful for that.
GGC: Do you involve your kids in your charitable work? Do you have advice for families who are looking for something charitable to do together? How does one go about talking to their kids about charity?
Jessica: Charity is a very tough thing to articulate to children - trying to explain to them why they have "more" is something that has to be dealt with delicately but I think in this day of senseless consumption, it's important to set an example for our children and to teach them how to share and give. I tell my daughter, Honor, "Hey! Let's go through your toys and find some things to give away." We talk about giving toys a new life with someone else—like the toys, clothes, and things her older cousin Nea passes down to her. She loves that connection with her cousin whom she looks up to. We talk about sharing what we have with others. I think a great way to introduce young children to charitable life is to model the importance of recycling, reusing, passing things down and up to other people. Toy Story was really helpful in getting the charitable dialogue going, actually -- the idea that something can start a new life with someone else. That giving brings joy to others.
photo by: Koury Angelo
And to make your comment FURTHER awesome, Honest is offering a $100 gift card to one randomly selected commenter. ANNNND x 783728, because we're on a roll here, Honest will be donating a package of diapers to Baby2Baby for every diapers or family essentials bundle subscription purchased through this link, one for one style. Triple whammy amazing charitable giveaway action on this fine Monday afternoon. (I'll pick one winner next Monday, January 21st.)
Thank you all in advance for participating in Honest's call to action. I love this company and it's been an honor and a privilege working with them these past few months.
UPDATE: Congrats to Elena for winning the gift card and thank you so much for your insight in the comments. Will keep you all posted with Honest's chosen charities. Much love and thanks again!