Celebrate a mother in your life by helping another.

Americans are planning to spend a record $25 billion this year on Mother’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. That includes an expected $843 million on greeting cards, $2.6 billion on flowers, $4.6 billion on an outing like brunch or dinner, and $2.3 billion on clothes or accessories. 

Don’t you wonder what could happen if just some of that spending went to thoughtful gifts that give back to women in need? (Probably a lot of good, that’s what!) 

Here are a few ideas for Colorado and internationally-focused charities to help kickstart your gift-giving makeover:

Shop gift items from the Women's Bean Project.

Photo courtesy of the Women's Bean Project.

Food for the Soul

From soups and chilis to bread and cookie mixes, popcorn, spices, sweets, and even dog treats, every item and gift basket from the Denver-based Women's Bean Project helps a woman succeed. The local nonprofit hires women who are chronically unemployed and teaches them to find and keep a job, changing their lives and the lives of those they care for in the process. Every product on their website has been hand-made and/or packaged by the women enrolled in their program.

Adventurist Backpacks provide meals to families in need.

Photo courtesy of Adventurist Backpack Co.

Get Mom Ready for Hiking Season

Buy the mom in your life a backpack (or a hat or a tote) from the Denver-based Adventurist Backpack Co., and you’ll also help provide meals to families in need. Every backpack sold delivers 25 meals to families in need across the U.S. – including to Food Bank of the Rockies right here in Denver, which distributes food to families (including many women) in need across the state. The charity has partnered with the national nonprofit, Feeding America, to help reduce food waste, help farmers sell excess food, and help feed hungry women and families in need.


ArtRestart, a project of The Gathering Place, offers gift items that help women.

Photo courtesy of The Gathering Place/ArtRestart.

Scarves, Cards, and Journals 

The Gathering Place is Denver's only daytime center for women, children, and transgender individuals experiencing poverty or homelessness. Through their Art Restart program, they take art made by their members and use it to create a variety of products, from scarves to cards, journals, original artwork, and more. Each item you thoughtfully purchase translates into a check for that artist experiencing poverty. Your generosity helps put the woman on a path to self-sufficiency – but, more importantly, you’re helping raise her confidence and prove that she's an artist. Plus, your mom will get a uniquely designed gift to treasure. What’s not to love about that?

Cafe United is a project of Work Options for Women. Eat at this Denver-based spot and change lives in the process!

Eat Here, Not There

Instead of heading out to an expensive brunch or dinner, why not take your mom to a restaurant that’s serving up opportunities for graduates of a local culinary job-training program that trains hard-to-employ individuals? Café United is located in the Denver UnitedWay building and serves breakfast and lunch on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The café is staffed by graduates of Work Options for Women, which prepares disadvantaged workers to obtain entry-level employment. The program ensures graduates have the culinary skills, job-readiness, life skills, and ongoing support needed to keep sustainable employment and pursue a permanent career.

Or, put a date on the calendar to take your Mom to a local meeting of Dining for Women. At these monthly meetings, people gather to share a potluck meal and donate what they might have spent on a dinner out to a monthly highlighted charity that helps women. Find a local chapter (or start your own) here.

This Nonprofit Will Mail Mom a Card for You

Fistula Foundation helps mothers in Africa and Asia by providing free reparative surgery.

Fistula Foundation helps mothers in Africa and Asia who suffer from a debilitating childbirth injury called obstetric fistula by providing free reparative surgeries. In exchange for your donation of $15 or more, they will mail your mom a special card that lets you know that you made a donation on her behalf. 

Do you have a mom-focused charity to add to the list? Add it to the comments section below!