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Charity Spotlight

By on March 6, 2015

The Giving Keys

By: Kelsey Wehsels

The Giving KeysThe Giving Keys is a non-profit organization founded by actress, singer and songwriter, Caitlin Crosby, to inspire people in need of hope and help people transition out of homelessness.

It started with an old New York hotel room key. She got the idea to engrave the inspirational saying, “love your flaws” on the key and wear it as a necklace.

Liking the idea of the encouraging words, Crosby began engraving words on keys and distributing them at her shows. They quickly became a hit, admitting that they sold better than her albums.

Wanting the keys to make an impact beyond the people who bought them, she encouraged people to pass them along to people in need.

“My encouragement to you today is this: keep your eyes open to all the needs that you see around you,” Crosby said at a conference. “I think it’s our responsibility as humans to take care of each other, I think it’s our duty as humans to care for people when they’re weak and broken.”

photo-4She told people to share their stories about giving their Giving Key, and today her website boasts hundreds of stories of people paying it forward.

Wanting to add a charitable dimension to her business model, Crosby soon found one when she found two homeless people, Rob and Cera, under an umbrella on a rainy day on Hollywood Boulevard. Their sign, which read, “ugly, broke, and hungry,” caught her attention and she took them to dinner. After a lengthy conversation, Crosby learned that Cera made jewelry, and in an enlightened moment, found the altruistic aspect she wanted for her business, and offered them to be her business partners. The couple began making Giving Keys the next day.

The business soon found its vision, partnering with The United Way and PATH, a renowned transition home in Los Angeles. To help find more employees, in March of 2013, The Giving Keys partnered with Chrysalis, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a pathway for self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals.

the giving keys strength necklace charityFrom its inception, the Giving Keys has employed 19 people experiencing homelessness, providing opportunities for the team members to move into permanent housing. And Crosby is proud to add that both Rob and Crosby not only escaped homelessness, but have gone to school to receive a formal education.

The Giving Keys has expanded to include other merchandise including iPhone cases, sweatshirts, beanies and stickers, which can be purchased on their website. Giving keys are also carried in over 500 stores in the United States and internationally, including Button Up Boutique in Folsom.

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