Gifts That Give Back

With the holiday season upon us, everyone is looking for those perfect gifts. For philanthropic-minded friends and family, the perfect gift is one that not only benefits them, but also helps contribute to a good cause – especially locally. These charitable gift ideas are the best of both worlds: They’re gifts anyone would love, and they give back to the community that means so much to all of us.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art (925 Camp St., 539-9650) is a local institution of timeless art, but it also makes substantial efforts to give back to the community, especially in times of crisis. This set of “I’m a Gulf Coaster” drink coasters designed by Tom Varisco embodies the spirit of our region, and proceeds benefit the Gulf Coast. The Ogden also offers opportunities to give gifts that support the museum itself, such as its “O” logo items, which include hats, T-shirts, coffee mugs and more, with all proceeds benefitting Ogden programming.

Mignon Faget jewelry is always a must-have for Christmas, but what better way to show your fashion sense than with a piece that also benefits the environment? Proceeds from this pelican pin (and other pins, pendants and glassware from Mignon’s “Gulf Coast” collection) go toward coastal organizations for Gulf oil spill recovery.

Normally, the amount donated is 10 percent of the purchase, but The Historic New Orleans Collection (533 Royal St., 598-7147) matches that donation, bringing the total proceeds to the Gulf to 20 percent. Visit for more information

For the arts-lover in your family, the perfect charitable gift is tickets to the opening reception of artist Terrance Osborne’s latest exhibit, “If ‘Feeling Good’ Were a Color,” on December 4 at Harrah’s. Proceeds from the event as well as artwork sales from the exhibit go toward the New Orleans Ballet Association’s free training and education programs, which provide more than 3,000 free dance classes in the Greater New Orleans Area. The reception will feature wine, cocktails, hot passed hors d’oeuvres and music from The Mark Weliky Jazz Trio. Visit or call NOBA at 522-0996 for tickets.

Businesses looking to make a contribution to the community this holiday season on behalf of their clients should look no further than Louisiana Children’s Museum (420 Julia St., 523-1357), which is encouraging corporate sponsorships to its holiday giving program this year. These gifts benefit important children’s programs through the Museum, such as community outreach, educator training and family and school admission to LCM. Donors receive a holiday e-card for clients as well as recognition in the Museum’s atrium through 2011. For more information regarding LCM giving programs, contact Jake Yunker at 586-0725 ext. 203.

Children and adults alike have been enjoying New Orleans City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks for years; the event is a local holiday staple. Support Friends of City Park with its seasonal holiday ornament featuring a classic image from Celebration in the Oaks: the Storyland whale. The ornament is the second in a series of Storyland ornaments, following the Storyland Castle ornament in 2009. Give the gift of holiday nostalgia while also supporting City Park and Celebration in the Oaks. (A pair of tickets to the “Celebration” would also make a great holiday gift!) Visit for more information.

The New Orleans Opera Association has been in operation since 1943; the organization relies on the community’s support to keep opera and the arts alive in New Orleans. With 38 percent of all NOOA costs coming from ticket sales, what’s a  better gift to a loved one (and to the arts!) than a pair of tickets to the opera? With recent successful runs of classics such as Porgy and Bess and The Magic Flute and upcoming performances of The Pearl Fishers (January 28 and 30), the options are endless. Visit for more information.

If there’s one thing New Orleanians love more than a good cause, it’s a good drink. Thankfully there’s a holiday gift that satisfies both your civic duty and your thirst. The Greater New Orleans Foundation’s gift shop features New Clean Coast Wines, a line of wine that supports Gulf Coast clean-up efforts. Award-winning winemaker Susie Selby recently launched the wine label to benefit the Foundation’s Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund. Cheers to holiday cheer! Visit for more information.

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