LOOKING FOR A WAY TO ADD MEANING to this year’s gift-giving season? Stop by the Giving Marketplace at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center on Dec. 2 and 3, and you’ll be able to support a good cause while checking off everyone on your shopping list.
Dozens of vendors will be on hand selling unique gifts—handmade ornaments, jewelry, books, cozy scarves, locally roasted coffee and chocolate. Best of all, the proceeds from every purchase go to organizations that support immigrants and refugees, women and girls, global health, education, the environment, and much more.
Along with shopping for gifts, you can enjoy family-friendly holiday activities, gift wrapping, jewelry making and performances. You can also discover ways to take action on issues you care about.
“These days you can buy your holiday gifts anywhere,” said Ming-Ming Tung-Edelman, the founder and executive director of Refugee Artisan Initiative, one of the vendors participating in Giving Marketplace. “It’s wonderful that the Gates Foundation Discovery Center gives us this opportunity to galvanize the community in shopping in a meaningful way.”
Refugee Artisan Initiative (RAI) is a Seattle-based nonprofit that partners with immigrant women to foster an inclusive, prosperous transition to the United States through artisan skills training in zero waste and small-batch manufacturing. RAI collects discarded textiles like burlap coffee sacks, used sweaters—even new bed sheets returned to Amazon—and turns them into baskets, market bags, pet toys, placemats, jewelry and more.
The refugee women who work for RAI are from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Morocco, China and Vietnam. The nonprofit ensures they are paid a living wage and get training to further develop their sewing skills.
“The proceeds from (Giving Marketplace) will go back toward more training,” Edelman said. “We currently have 33 women in our program, and in 2023 we’d like to onboard an additional 12 women.”
RAI is just one of nearly 30 vendors participating in this year’s Giving Marketplace. Some of the other organizations include:
BaMatooke Made: greeting cards that support small businesses and academic scholarships forwomen and children in Uganda.
Otra Vez: boho-inspired jewels that employ, equip and empower local women via a Seattle-based co-op.
Ten Thousand Villages: purposeful goods and gifts crafted by hand for home and life, created by artisans in under-resourced communities.
Giving Marketplace takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, at the Gates Foundation DiscoveryCenter, 440 Fifth Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109.
Visit the Giving Marketplace website for the full list of vendors and more event information.