12 Generous Businesses in the Social Entrepreneur Industry

The landscape for charitable organizations and foundations has widely diversified in recent years as groups and companies have developed and refined new platforms for achieving positive social change. One such innovation is the “buy one, give one” or “one for one” business model, which TOMS first launched in 2006.

Buy one, give one (BOGO) allows for-profit companies to run their businesses while simultaneously supporting the cause of their choosing. In the case of TOMS, consumers buy a pair of shoes, and the company matches their purchase by donating shoes to children living in impoverished areas of the world.

TOMS has set a trend in the social entrepreneurship marketplace, which now includes dozens of businesses operating on the BOGO model. Here is a look at the efforts of some of these companies, starting with the industry pioneer:


toms_logoFounded by Blake Mycoskie, TOMS started with the vision of providing footwear to children in need and has expanded its reach to include eyesight and clean water initiatives. The decade-old company has donated more than 50 million pairs of shoes, assisted more than 360,000 individuals with their eyesight, and generated safe water in six countries.

2. Project 7

Tyler Merrick launched Project 7 in 2008 and has created an opportunity for consumers to donate to a variety of causes by simply purchasing gum, candy, and similar items. Each purchase combines to support environmental initiatives, build homes and emergency relief centers, and improve education in developing nations.

3. Better World Books

betterworldbookslogoBetter World Books (BWB) launched its “you buy, we donate” campaign in 2011, and since that time, the company has supplied more than 17 million books to the nonprofit organization Books for Africa. BWB also contributes to book recycling and raises funds for library and literacy support.

4. Out of Print

Another partner of Books for Africa, Out of Print offers a line of clothing and accessories featuring themes of classic literature, such as Shakespearean t-shirts or library card-inspired coffee mugs. Every purchase translates into a donated book for a community in need.

5. Yoobi

yoobilogoWith a flagship store in Arcadia, California, as well as an online marketplace and availability at major U.S. retailers, Yoobi produces and sells unique office and school supplies with the slogan “one for you, one for me.” The company matches each purchase by donating an identical or similar item to schools across the United States without adequate resources.

6. Faucet Face

The developers of Faucet Face have created a product and business model with two objectives. First, the company sells glass water bottles and promotes the consumption of tap and hose water to eliminate the pollution associated with plastic water bottles. Second, the company donates 100 liters of clean water to communities in India for every bottle sold, and it assists the Third Millennium Awakening organization with setting up local water filtration systems.

7. Baby Teresa

babyteresalogoDedicated to clothing babies in need, Baby Teresa sells 100-percent organic cotton clothing and accessories for infants. Customers buy these outfits and the company donates an outfit on a one-for-one basis. In addition, a percentage of sales from accessories cover formula costs for babies in more than 20 countries around the world.


In 2010, WEWOOD designed its first wood timepiece in Florence, Italy, and months later the company opened its first location in Los Angeles, California. WEWOOD has established partnerships with American Forests and Trees for the Future, and with every watch sold, the business sponsors the planting of a tree. WEWOOD has planted more than 420,000 trees and aims to reach one million by 2020.

9. Warby Parker

warbyparkerlogoThe founders of Warby Parker started with a goal to make glasses more affordable. In the process, they set up a system that contributes to nonprofit organizations with each transaction. As a result, these charity groups donate eyewear for people in developing countries to sell. They also sponsor eye exam training for men and women in less-developed regions.

10. FIGS

Heather Hasson and Trina Spear founded FIGS to give people who wear scrubs an alternative. They started by developing new uniforms with a focus on comfort and function, and they added a “threads for threads” selling model that benefits healthcare professionals in more than 25 countries. FIGS donates a set of scrubs for every set sold, and these clean medical uniforms help decrease infection rates in hospitals around the world.

11. Hand in Hand Soap

handinhandlogoSocial entrepreneurs Courtney Apple and Bill Glaab founded Hand in Hand Soap in 2011 to help people around the world gain access to proper hygiene and clean water. They specialize in bath soaps and beauty products such as lip balms and fragrances. The company matches every sale of a bar or bottle of soap and include a month of clean water for a child for each purchase.

12. 2 Degrees

The staff at 2 Degrees leverages the BOGO business model to help their customers eat healthy snacks while simultaneously contributing to end childhood hunger. By selling items from a menu of vegan, gluten-free bars, the company has facilitated more than one million meal donations in countries such as Somalia, Kenya, and Haiti.

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