A couple of weeks ago, Beth wrote about alternatives to birthday gift giving, and I allowed my daughter to select our Kiva loan recipient. Recently, I discovered another option for low impact birthday giving: markmakers.org. These charitable gift cards allow children to choose goods and services in need around the world.
There are over 40 choices for children on markmakers.org. Once a child receives a gift card from markmakers.org, they enter the number to begin “shopping” for ways they want to give. Children may allocate the money in small increments to as many projects as they want. The presentation is kid-friendly on markmakers.org, and parents are raving about the service. One mother wrote, “My 8-year-old loves the idea that she can help feed homeless dogs!” With their gift card, children can “shop” in six shops:
- Environmental Protection,
- Peace & Justice,
- Kids in Need,
- Disease Prevention & Healthcare,
- Poverty & Hunger and,
- Animal Protection
Over $70,000 was given away by kids last year using markmakers.org. Here’s how it works:
Markmakers Foundation was founded by Eric and Diane Garfinkel and their 4 children, ages 22, 20, 15 and 7. The idea, conceived at the dinner table, was to give kids the freedom to make their own choices when it came to making a difference in the world.
Markmakers is an IRS approved, 501c3 not for profit. Markmakers is staffed on an unpaid, volunteer basis by the Garfinkel family. The 7% service fee collected from card buyers defrays, in part, credit card processing, web programming and hosting, legal and media relations expenses. 100% of the amount placed on a markmakers card is distributed to the organizations listed here. We deduct nothing.
I think this is a fabulous idea, and one I will encourage my family and friends to use. After seeing how my daughter enjoyed picking out our Kiva loan recipient, I can see her really getting into this. It is also a great idea for the classroom! As Markmakers explains,
Markmakers can be used in the classroom to introduce children to the concept of charitable giving and social activism. One idea is to ask childern to bring in 50 cents or $1 each and then pool their funds. The teacher uses the funds to purchase a markmakers card. The class then explores each of the six areas for giving within markmakers (kids in need, poverty, disease, animal welfare, the environment, peace & justice) and discusses where among these categories to allocate the class’ funds.
I will definitely be forwarding this to my daughter’s teacher!