What is an Alternative Gift Market?

An Alternative Gift Market is an opportunity for you to give a holiday gift that is unique and life-giving, a gift of peace and justice that is sustainable and that builds stability for those who are suffering. These gifts challenge our modern culture of consumption and transform lives both regionally and internationally. Westminster’s Alternative Gift Market also provides the unique experience of combining advocacy and research, allowing you to not only support these important causes, but to gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding them. Donate on behalf of someone on your gift-list this year!

Westminster College supports the Alternative Gift Market as a Service Learning experience for students. This event is put on by First-Year Inquiry students and serves as both an introduction to academic research and a way for them to investigate and discuss significant issues from multiple cultural and intellectual perspectives and to evaluate their own moral and ethical responsibility toward various communities. Students are then able to take this new knowledge and reflection and use it to advocate on behalf those most impacted by hunger, poverty, gender inequality, health disparities, and environmental concerns.

Service learning is defined as “a credit-bearing, educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.”    

Bringle and Hatcher, A Service Learning Curriculum for Faculty, The Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning, Fall, 1995

The Alternative Gift Market directly reflects Westminster College’s Mission Statement by helping students to acquire knowledge of self, society, human cultures, the natural world, and human relationships to God, apply knowledge to contemporary issues, demonstrate moral and ethical commitments to neighbor, society, and the natural world, and demonstrate a commitment to responsible service as world citizens.

Can I Be Sure My Donation is Properly Allocated?

Donations to the international causes supported in this year’s Alternative Gift Market are managed by Alternative Gifts International (AGI), a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization. All donations process directly to Alternative Gifts International. Donations are 100% tax deductible. AGI commits that 90% of donations go directly to the causes designated by the donors. Each donor will receive a tax-receipt for their gift. For more information, check out AGI’s FAQ page.

Sustainable Pittsburgh, Three Rivers Water Keepers, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, The Bair Foundation of Pennsylvania, and The Pittsburgh Foundation are all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Donations made to these organizations are processed directly to the organizations and are not processed by Westminster College. Questions concerning how funds are allocated should be addressed to the specific organizations.

When Can I Donate?

You can donate directly to these causes throughout the year, but in order for your donation to be counted to the fundraising goal for Westminster’s Alternative Gift Market, your virtual donation must be received between Thursday, November 4, 2021 and Friday, November 12, 2021. In-person cash donations will be accepted in the Office of Faith and Spirituality (McKelvey Campus Center 223) on campus between 9:00 am-5:00 pm on Friday, November 5, 2021.

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