(For more information on the Gift² project, click here.)
ORGANIZATION: Product (RED)
PERFECT FOR: Gifts of electronics and apparel; stocking stuffers of iPhone apps or gift cards
COST: Varies way too much for me to track down
WHAT YOU GET: The same items you’d already be buying, such as popular electronics, apparel, iPhone apps, even vodka
WHAT YOU GIVE: Financing for HIV health and community support programs in Africa, with a focus on women and children
BOASTS: To date, (RED) partners and events have contributed more than $180 million to the Global Fund and impacted over 7.5 million people. The Global Fund grants support locally-designed programs that provide ARV therapy for HIV+ individuals, support HIV prevention, feed and educate children orphaned by AIDS, and provide the low-cost treatments needed to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV from mother to child. There are currently more than 240,000 HIV+ positive people on ARV treatment, more than 95,000 HIV+ pregnant women with preventative antiretroviral treatment to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV to their babies, and 7 million people have undergone HIV testing and counseling as a result of funds from the Global Fund and (RED).
LEGITIMACY: (RED) is technically a brand name, officially Product (RED). All of the money raised through the (RED) items is given to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, a public-private partnership based in Switzerland. As such, I found no information on the BBB website.
MORE DETAILS: If I started a charity, this is about what it would look like, and not just because I love red colored items. I think it’s a great idea if people bought less of what they didn’t need in order to donate to people who need more than we can ever imagine. And yet realistically, that isn’t going to happen with the vast majority of Americans (I can’t speak for other countries). So (RED)’s genius is that it allows people to keep buying the exact same things they’d already be buying, but a portion of it goes to something good, all by choosing a (RED) product over a regular product. The product price is the same. And I love ideas like the (RED) Starbucks gift card–people who are Starbucks fanatics can get the (RED) gift card, preload it for a month’s worth of coffee, and then use it to pay each time they order coffee. Five cents from each purchase goes to the Global Fund, and it may not sound like a lot, but if you’re willing to drop $5 every day on a cup of coffee, why not make sure someone somewhere can benefit directly from that? And in exchange for promoting the (RED) partners for the (RED) campaign, partnerships pay a licensing fee to create the products. Basically it’s a win-win-win-win situation. I already own several (RED) items, from apparel and accessories to electronics and an iPhone app. I love it, and I highly endorse it.