Global Playground Inspires New Nonprofit That Combines Art with Charitable Giving

Sunday, October 25, 2009 | posted by Global Playground News |
From bringing hope to the lives of children in the genocide-ridden fields of Cambodia to an overwhelming feeling of goodwill, a long list of amazing things come from making a donation to Global Playground. To that list, Jennifer Rinker, the founder of Altruistic Trinkets, has added another: hand-crafted jewelry symbolizing the storied pasts of countries in which Global Playground operates.

After making jewelry for more than ten years as a hobby, Jennifer founded Altruistic Trinkets this year to encourage charitable giving. "I spend a considerable amount of time working on the pieces, sometimes as much as twenty hours on a given weekend, and until now simply gave the jewelry away to friends, family, and coworkers," said Jennifer. But now donors and their charities of choice are the beneficiaries of her creative talent. To receive one of her unique pieces or sets of jewelry, one simply has to provide her with evidence of a donation to a 501(c)(3) charity equaling the "giving amount" for that piece or set.

Although Jennifer honors donations to any charity, she strongly encourages support of Global Playground. "I chose Global Playground as my preferred charity because of the unique opportunities Global Playground offers not only to provide children in developing countries with critical educational resources, but also with ways to interact with Global Playground's network of schools through Internet connectivity and directed curricula." said Jennifer. "These cultural exchanges are vital in fostering a global community, and I want to do all I can to assist in those efforts."

Jennifer places special care and thought into crafting each piece of her jewelry or, as she describes it, "wearable art." This is particularly evident in the four collections she specifically designed with Global Playground in mind. Those collections attempt to not only capture the culture of the countries in which Global Playground operates, but also the rough and harsh aspect of the lives of the children whom Global Playground is helping.

Of those collections, her personal favorite is the "Khmer Rouge," a ring, bracelet, necklace, and earring set inspired by Global Playground's work in Cambodia. There the educational system was devastated by the destruction of schools and the genocide of teachers during the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s. "I put a lot of time and thought into making this collection. To capture the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge and the suffering experienced by the Cambodian people, this set is fashioned out of copper wire, olive pits with hand-carved wailing figures, and many natural stones of browns and reds, reflecting the bleeding across Cambodia's beautiful landscape," said Jennifer.

The "Khmer Rouge" collection

Jennifer--an accomplished archaeologist and lawyer--got involved in creating jewelry after attending a wholesale bead show in Houston with a co-worker. "It blew my mind to see the jaw-dropping variety of colors and material types, faceted corals, tourmalines, onyx, turquoise, pearls, and tables of gold, silver, pewter, and vermeil clasps and chains," said Jennifer. With a penchant for "doing crafty things and wanting to put prettiness into the world," which she attributes to her grandmother's influence, Jennifer could not resist transforming the beautiful beads into her own unique creations.

Jennifer recently showcased her "wearable art" at the annual Labor Day art show at Glen Echo Park in Maryland where she secured several donations for Global Playground. She is also marketing Altruistic Trinkets on Facebook where people can not only view her collections but also become "fans" of her efforts. To date, more than half of Altruistic Trinkets' "fans" are unknowns to Jennifer, suggesting that her efforts are gaining attention beyond her personal contacts.

Jennifer hopes to continue showcasing her creations at art shows and wishes for a big holiday season. More importantly, she hopes that her efforts will further Global Playground's work around the globe and in turn inspire even more Altruistic Trinkets.

-Doug Smith

To see a catalogue of Altruistic Trinkets' collections, click here or contact Jennifer directly at jjrinker@altruistictrinkets.org. She also accepts custom orders.