Innovation That Matters

Tees & totes by artistic activists

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Local artists have long donated their talents in support of charities—to the benefit of both. Artists get name recognition, and worthy causes receive cash from the sale of donated works. British venture Part of It shows how the concept can be streamlined and taken online, and in a way that perhaps more effectively harnesses the creative energies of the artists who are showcased. While many charities solicit donated works from artists as part of a fundraising effort, Part of It invites artists to submit works in support of causes they themselves are passionate about. Money from the products’ sales, of course, goes to the charities they’ve chosen. The likely theory being: an artist just might channel some of that passion into a superior work. The bright designs of Part of It’s t-shirts and tote bags support causes ranging from saving polar bears to combating dyslexia. That’s also in keeping with a philosophy shared by founders Christopher Sleboda and Kathleen Burns who are themselves artists. “Activism,” the pair say on their website, “can be fun, personal, beautiful and engaging.” Bios of contributing artists help establish links between products, creators and buyers. That kind of person-to-person connection is eons removed from what consumers experience at large retailers when purchasing mass-produced items marked with a charity badge denoting that an (often undisclosed) portion of proceeds will be donated to a good cause. We’re not saying that massive fundraising doesn’t make a huge difference to charities. But—as is the case in many areas of business—small can be big for social entrepreneurs looking to make a connection while making a difference. Spotted by: Ozgur Alaz


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