The Uncommon Life

Why it’s Better to Give with The International Rescue Committee

June 20, 2016

*Editor’s note: June 20 is World Refugee Day. Established by the United Nations General Assembly and held each year, World Refugee Day celebrates the strength and resilience of refugees. It is a day to spread awareness and show support for the millions of refugees in need across the globe. Find out how you can get involved by visiting today

“The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities.”                                                                                                     –The International Rescue Committee 

There’s a lot of information packed into that mission statement, and it’s difficult to actually sum up everything it means, because the organization behind it, The International Rescue Committee (IRC) does so much to help those in need. Humanitarian crises include war, natural disasters, famine, drought, and numerous other man-made and environmental tragedies. The IRC’s responses to those crises include education, vocational training, economic support, emergency medical care, and countless other programs to empower those impacted by situations they had no control over. While it’s hard to outline all of the fantastic work IRC does in a blog post, it’s less challenging to express the pride and honor we feel as we welcome them to our Better to Give program.

Through Better to Give, each time you shop with us, you’re given the opportunity to select one of our non-profit partners at checkout and we’ll donate a dollar on your behalf (at no cost to you). By selecting IRC, you can help them help displaced individuals and families.

Soudan | IRC

[Kiryandongo, Uganda] Two children fill their jerrycan with water from an IRC-constructed well to bring back to their tent in the transit center. This is the only well in the transit center, serving 1,300 refugees daily. The IRC is repairing five other wells in the camp. | Photo: Parbat Chapagai/IRC

According to the IRC Fast Facts page, in 2015 alone they:

  • Helped more than 21 million people gain access to primary and reproductive health care.
  • Supported 2,384 clinics and health facilities that helped more than 315,000 women deliver healthy babies.
  • Supported more than 13,000 community health workers to treat communicable diseases in children under age 5 and treated 186,000 children under age 5 for acute malnutrition.
  • Gave 2.6 million people access to clean drinking water or sanitation.
  • Provided schooling and educational opportunities to more than 1.3 million children; trained more than 54,000 educators and supported 7,959 schools.
  • Provided job-related skills training to more than 27,000 people and helped create or support 8,760 businesses.
  • In the United States, helped resettle 9,961 newly arrived refugees and provided services to over 36,000 refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking and other immigrants.

And these are just a few of the ways they’ve created positive change so far.

“IRC works to help vulnerable people across the world – and core to our work is also celebrating the diverse knowledge, skills, culture that these individuals bring to strengthen their communities,” said IRC Corporate Alliances Officer Shannon Paz, whom we worked closely with to launch this partnership. She continued, “We are proud to partner with UncommonGoods, a marketplace that curates unique, sustainable goods from entrepreneurs from all over the world, and that shares our commitment to social good, as evidenced in their being one of the founding certified B Corps.”

Syria | IRC

Refugee volunteers load boxes of food onto a flatbed truck. The staples have been stored in a warehouse for more than four months awaiting approval to be shipped into Syria. The IRC monthly food ration is comprised of items that are not only healthy, but have a long shelf life. | Photo: Ned Colt/IRC

Here at UncommonGoods, we’re equally excited to kickoff this partnership, as the “commitment to social good” Shannon mentioned is a driving force in our business.  As part of this commitment, our Founder and CEO Dave Bolotsky asked members of our Sustainability Steering Committee to research aid organizations responding to the current global refugee crisis.

Sean Cullen, co-leader of the committee, explained, “We proposed IRC because we admired their transparency and how they focus their attention not just in one area, but on all refugees in crisis through means that help short term–such as clean water and lifesaving aid– and longer term–such as protection for women and girls, education, economic recovery programs, and resettlement of families. They also have an office here in New York City, and we’re looking forward to finding ways to work more closely with them in the future.”

Ban Mae Surin | IRC

Chronic malnutrition and stunted growth afflict 35 percent of the children in all camps on the Thai-Myanmar border. The IRC and its partner organizations provide supplementary food. | Photo: Peter Biro/ IRC

As it turns out, we actually had a connection to IRC all along, since Dave and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the IRC, Tracy Wolstencroft, happen to go way back. “David and I worked together years ago at Goldman Sachs, and while we have remained good friends over the years, we recently connected at an NYU gathering,” said Tracy. “We realized that the IRC and UncommonGoods share so many values, particularly to support under-served populations and leave a net positive impact on the world. I was happy to connect David with the IRC, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be their newest Better to Give partner. We look forward to a collaborative and lasting partnership with UncommonGoods.”

Team members across UncommonGoods echo Sean’s eagerness to learn more about IRC and get involved in their mission. We recently had the opportunity to meet an individual who was personally helped by the organization and we’re pleased to bring a new item into our assortment that benefits their cause. To celebrate the official launch of our partnership, we’re also doubling our donations to IRC (contributing $2 for every customer that selects the organization) from June 20 through June 26, 2016.

To donate directly to the International Rescue Committee, or to learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit

1 Comment

  • Reply Uncommon Impact: Counting Beads, Caramel and the IRC - The Goods | The Official Blog of UncommonGoodsThe Goods | The Official Blog of UncommonGoods June 22, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    […] this week, we were honored to officially launch our partnership with the IRC on World Refugee Day. Based out of New York City, the IRC is an organization that “responds […]

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