Monday, June 6, 2011

Companies That Give Back: Global Handmade Hope

Name of Company: Global Handmade Hope

Years in Business: 2

Main Products: Fair trade accessories, cards and bookmarks, Christmas, children’s items, home decor

In what ways do you give back? “Global Handmade Hope (GHH) is a fair trade company located in Park Ridge, IL,” says Cynthia Glensgard, president. “I opened the company in November of 2009 after completing a mission trip to Rwanda. I was so touched by the people. They work so hard for so very little, yet their generosity and faith is so great. What I have found is that people in developing countries may not be monetarily well off, however they are often richer in their generosity and faith than those of us from developed countries. After the trip, I felt as if this area is where my skills and training could best be put to use. GHH’s mission is to promote social justice, help families provide food, shelter, education for their children and gain access to health care by offering artists a place and opportunity to sell their goods.

While the items my company sells are from developing countries, I also firmly believe in the importance of working within my own community. As a way of giving back to the local community, I offer free meeting space to any non-profit. After years of volunteering, I became keenly aware of how tight finances are and how expensive meeting space can be. Through the gifts of others, I am fortunate to have office space and I want to pass that blessing along to others.

Education is the key to eradicating poverty; these children deserve the right to receive an education. Therefore, each year Global Handmade Hope sponsors an essay contest for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. The goal is to help educate youth in the U.S. about how fortunate they are to attend school, to broaden cultural awareness and acceptance and to facilitate the pride our children can feel by helping others. Students write an essay about daily life of children in Africa who are their age. All participants are honored at a ceremony where the winning students receive a $50 award and a matching award is donated in their honor to help pay for the education of an African child.

Global Handmade Hope continually offers promotions in which we donate a percentage of sales to local community funds, national organizations, churches, etc. Since inception, Global Handmade Hope has donated 20-percent of the revenue to charities.

Why is giving back important to you? “Giving back is important to me because I believe that everything we have is a gift from God, a gift that should be shared. I believe that it is our responsibility to help care for the needy and vulnerable. To share the story of fair trade and not profiting from the misfortune of others and to share the joy of Christ’s love through my work. The motto I run Global Handmade Hope by is, “Together, we can make a difference in the world.”

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