I considered giving pears as client gifts again this year. I settled on pears a few years ago because I love giving local — I order pears from Harry & David’s, based in Medford, Oregon — and pears are so, well, holidayish. But for some reason, pears feel too mundane right now. Pears won’t change the world, and it seems like, right about now, the world needs some changing.

Then I read Nicholas Kristof’s column, Gifts That Inspire (New York Times, 12/6/14). Kristof writes about ‘presents with meaning.’ He lists seven nonprofits in the United States and around the world making a positive impact. This got me thinking about an alternative to pears, but I found myself hesitating. Studio Kate is a growing business, so our gifts to clients and partners are heartfelt but modest. What can my donation really do?

Kristof read my mind: 

We want to help out, but the problems today, from gang violence in America’s inner cities to disease in India, seem so overwhelming and unrelenting that we often turn away. What possible good could one measly donation do?

The truth is that in recent years it has become clear that modest sums can help overcome disease and ease malnutrition and that innovations allow organizations to become more effective in saving lives and attacking the cycle of poverty.

Don’t…scorn a ‘drop in the bucket.’ That’s how buckets get filled, that’s how lives are changed, and that’s how opportunity is created.

There was something uncanny about his list this year: each organization listed is tackling the same, big issues our clients are tackling. Often, our clients feel alone in the fight -- the fight to bring health care to remote parts of Africa, the fight to provide quality preschool free of charge to children who have never held a book, the fight to provide innovative loans to entrepreneurs who have been shut out of the system for generations. This list, culled from Kristof's firsthand knowledge of national and international organizations, is proof you are not alone. With this gift, I want you to know we are all connected. I like to think there's a movement afoot. 

To my clients and partners: look for a card in the mail from Studio Kate. In it, I’ll explain which of the seven organizations from Kristof's list I made a donation to on your behalf, and why.

Photo by Sol Neelman

Photo by Sol Neelman

Kristof's list:

We will continue to fundraise for each of our clients through film production and distribution and through bragging about their amazing work on this site. However, right now -- in this moment in time -- I am going to redirect money spent on our gifts of appreciation from pears to people: organizations working on our same issues both nationally and internationally. I want to lift my view above the horizon, connecting -- for a moment -- all of our incredible efforts into a movement. I don't know about you, but I think it's high time for a good movement; it will take our support to get there, one drop at a time.

Watch our short video of Nicholas Kristof here.

There are so many organizations doing great work. Whose bucket are you working to fill? Why is this organization close to your heart?