If you’re anything like me, you’ve felt anger, despair, and sadness over the current president and his administration. Trump and his cronies are cutting policies and programs most people want (affordable and accessible healthcare, equal rights, funding for education and the arts, environmental regulation, gun control, etc.), putting us in a bizarro world where people at the top—who are supposedly working for us—are doing anything but. What’s behind Trump’s policies? Money. Power. Greed. Sometimes it feels like we’re helpless to stop it—it’s as if this administration is a wrecking ball destroying everything that’s been built in the last eight years.
However there is one way for you to make a difference, and it might be the last thing you’d think of: Go shopping. More specifically, go shopping at local businesses that are contributing to organizations that oppose Trump’s policies or helping people most affected by them. We’ve said it a million times, but here we go again: Shopping locally directly benefits the Portland community, because your money stays HERE instead of going into the pocket of some billionaire who likes to shoot hibernating baby bears.
Many local shops, designers, and events were contributing to progressive causes even before Trump was elected, and are continuing to do so. In total, these businesses have donated almost $50,000 of their hard-earned revenue, and all are aiming to donate even more this year. Here are just a few of them, along with their reasons for contributing to these non-profits, joining the resistance, and how they’re standing up to political backlash.
Communion | 3556 SE Hawthorne
Donates to: Planned Parenthood, Girls Inc., American Red Cross
Marcy Landolfo, Owner: “Personally, I hate that we don’t get to decide how our tax dollars are spent. Important tax dollars are funneled into big business political agendas, rather than infrastructure, education, and public health, which benefit EVERYONE! Non-profit donation is the only way to support causes that are truly important to me.”
Frances May | 1003 SW Washington
Donates to: ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, Water Protector Legal Collective, Portland Menstrual Society, PICA
Pamela Baker-Miller, Owner: “Community is my number one concern. I wasn’t afraid to contribute... just the opposite really. I felt it was my duty to support my ladies, people of color, queer and transgender people, artists, creatives... the list goes on. The overwhelming reaction to voicing our views has been positive.”
Worn Path | 4007 N Mississippi
Donates to: Standing Rock, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Street Roots, BARK, Boise-Eliot School
Niles Armstrong, Owner: “I’m a person who doesn’t believe in a society based in staunch capitalism, so I think it’s important to share with organizations and people who are fighting against the values I disagree with, or promoting the values I support. I think it’s the responsibility of those of us reaping the benefits of a capitalist society to share those benefits if we truly disagree with what capitalism is rooted in.
As for backlash, I’ve kept my beliefs and politics at the forefront of my business from the get-go. When someone shares my values I’m more likely to support them, and if someone promotes an ideology I have a problem with, I’ll certainly stay away from that business. If I lose customers in Portland because I believe in equality and environmental preservation? I’m okay with that.”
Folly | 1005 NW 16th
Donates to: Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Raphael House
Sarah Bibb, Owner: “In years past I was clear about keeping politics out of Folly, but times have changed and the current situation is something that cannot be ignored or shrugged off. I’m not worried about backlash and have heard such positive feedback from my customers who are also experiencing the same feelings of frustration.”
Gem Gem | 2324 SE Belmont
Donates to: Standing Rock, ACLU, Planned Parenthood
Allison Bartline and Heidi Lieberman, Owners: “When Trump was elected, a dark cloud moved over our little store, like it moved over everyone in this country. It was already very challenging to keep a brick and mortar open and to inspire people to choose to spend their money in a small local store over a cheaper big box. We’ve participated in the general strike, marched in the Women’s March, and spoke out about both on Instagram. We did lose some followers, but if those ex-followers aren’t comfortable with two women owning a small business being honest about their fear for the future of women’s rights and small businesses, then they just don’t get it.”
Betsy & Iya | 2403 NW Thurman
Donates to: Girls Inc., Friendly House, Friends of the Children, River West Church
Betsy Cross, Owner: “Donating to important organizations is not a new thing for us. We’re glad to see the buzz around this in response to our current political climate. It’s something we’ve always done since being in business, and something we will happily and proudly continue. We haven’t received any backlash. In fact, people seem to be more supportive of our company. I will say that we try to maintain a positive and impactful message at all times.”
Wildfang | 1230 SE Grand
Donates to: Planned Parenthood, I Am That Girl, ACLU, Bradley Angle House, Q Center, Girls Inc., Standing Rock, and Friends of the Children. Ten percent of profits from all Wildfang-made goods go to Planned Parenthood and ACLU. Monthly free speech events donate 10 percent of proceeds and 100 percent of tips to Planned Parenthood.
Amy Hjorth, Retail Manager: “Everyone at Wildfang is extremely committed to fighting for our rights and those of others. We’ve built our brand on our close relationship with our community and consumers, and we want those individuals to know we support them and will do anything we can to win the big fight. Our mission is to create an inclusive environment for everyone and we want this to be reflected across the nation/world.
Honestly, we’re not afraid of backlash. It’s something we feel so strongly about and being able to voice our opinions and support causes that need it is so worth it. Of course we’ve received emails or messages from people who disagree, or are upset about our participation or support of certain businesses, but ultimately we don’t want that to influence what the larger masses of our community and we believe is important. The positive always outweighs the negative.”
Milk Milk Lemonade/ OLO Fragrance | 1407 SE Belmont
Donates to: ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Oregon Food Bank, Women’s March, Period, Street Roots, The Empowerment Plan, Standing Rock, Planned Parenthood
Heather Sielaff, Owner: “We have a voice as a small business. We also have a responsibility to support the community that supports us. We’ve always tried to donate money and give back, but the current state of affairs locally and nationally made us acknowledge the fact that we’re not doing enough.
We weren’t afraid to get a little ‘political.’ Our brand hasn’t really received any backlash. Our customer base is relatively like-minded so the response has been mostly positive.”
VAVA Lingerie | 811 E Burnside, #115
Donates to: Standing Rock, Planned Parenthood, one percent of total sales to environmental causes
Alyssa Woods, Owner/ Designer: “Starting my business was a lot about finding a way to pay my rent that didn’t feel soul-crushing. And even though independent businesses generally have far fewer ethical issues than large corporations, the reality is that the production of pretty much everything has negative consequences for the environment and/or for the human beings lost somewhere back in the supply chain. For me, regularly donating to organizations that have a positive impact is just a way to mitigate the effects of being a producer and consumer of goods in an ethically murky world.”
West Daily | westdaily.com
Donates to: ACLU, Northwest Children’s Outreach Program
Jason Calderon, Owner/ Designer: “I come from a multiracial family made up of people who have immigrated to the USA. My dad moved here from Mexico when he was a boy. I felt compelled to show support to those feeling attacked by the rise of anti-immigrant/anti-minority rhetoric in our country. I’m not concerned with a backlash from those who might be offended by the concept of equal rights and basic human equality—in fact, I’d prefer they don’t wear my designs.”
Theeth Jewelry | theethjewelry.com
Donates to: Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Standing Rock, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Asylum Seeker Advocacy Group
Kimi Kaplowitz, Owner/ Designer: “I wanted to donate to organizations that work to support those Trump condemned during his campaign. I believe the strength of a nation should be judged on its ability to help those who need it most. And if the government won’t choose to support its people, hopefully those of us who are able to donate time or money can make a little bit of difference.
In January I began a project where I crafted four tiny hand pin designs specifically to raise money for Planned Parenthood. Each hand holds a different lady-specific object or body part. Through this project I donated 70 percent of my sales and was able to raise over $1000 for the organization. I never realized this tiny project could raise as much money as it did! It was overwhelming how many people purchased pins in support.”
If you want to attend an event where 100 percent of the proceeds go to Planned Parenthood, there’s an amazing one coming up in May. The Bodies Empowered Fashion Show, exclusively featuring Else Lingerie, will serve as Lille Boutique’s 10th anniversary party as well as a benefit for Planned Parenthood with the goal of raising $20,000. Everyone involved is donating their time (including myself, full disclosure) and there are some seriously amazing raffle and auction items up for grabs from some of Portland’s most beloved businesses.
“Like everyone,” Lille owner Sarah Wizeman said about producing the event, “I’ve been experiencing a lot of fatigue, anxiety, and anger about the current political climate. As a small business owner in a luxury market, retail can often feel very disheartening and trivial when there are such bigger issues at stake. Especially as a mother, I started to think, ‘How can I make what I do every day (selling beauty to the world, one hand-made bra at a time) make sense and serve the greater good’ and that’s how this event sprang up. We’ve held fundraisers before, but I’ve never been more determined to raise every possible dollar I can and put it toward a good cause. Planned Parenthood makes a lot of sense for Lille, as we are all about female empowerment.”