Auctioning a family heirloom for a cause: With this Ring Project

It’s true that it takes very little to make a difference in people’s lives. A few thousand dollars could either cover a fraction of an American wedding, or stretch pretty far in philanthropic work in places like Nepal, Mexico, or Ecuador.

Or in this case, both at once.

Starting January 1st, a serious blind-the-wedding-party diamond ring is going up for bid on With This Ring‘s website for five weeks. The project’s founder, Chris Ammon, inherited it – but as beautiful as it is, it’s not her style.

What’s a philanthropic gal of the world to do? Chris is auctioning it off and donating the money to eight international grassroots projects that she’s personally been touched by — including quilt making in Nepal that helps send kids to school, veterinary assistance in Mexico, and schooling for low-income children in Ecuador.

If you’re in the market for a ring, this is one for the record books – a platinum setting, with an emerald-cut 2.75 ct. main diamond and smaller diamonds on the side. Its estimated value is $22,000.

You can place your own bid for the ring on the website’s blog until February 7th.

Don’t tip the locals, build them a library instead

Literacy is a gift that keeps on giving–unless, of course, there are no books to read.

This is a tragic situation for those with limited means to travel, because books are often the only window they have to the outside world.

Sadly, public libraries can be a very scarce resource where they are needed most–in developing countries. But they don’t have to be. Providing one for a local community is surprisingly affordable and a great way to give back to the wonderful people who made your travels through this part of the world so enjoyable.

Room to Read is a nonprofit organization which has established 3,600 libraries in the developing world since 2001. Naturally, they are looking for travelers like you to help out–travelers, for example, who have spent time chatting with the small children of a mountain village in Nepal and know the joy that even a few books will bring to their lives.

But let’s not settle on just a few books. For just $3,000 a sponsor can fill an entire room full of books and convert it into a library in Nepal, or a handful of other countries the organization works with.

Naturally, smaller donations will help as well…. So pull on that Santa hat and start giving.