History of Alternative Gifts International

In 1980, Harriet Prichard, then director of Children’s Ministries at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church in California, wanted to model a new, noncommercial way to give authentic gifts at Christmas for the church’s children. She organized a market in which children and many adults sold relief and self-development goods and animals for persons in need in the Third World as alternative gifts. Cards were inscribed with the gifts purchased and sent to friends and relatives to inform them that an alternative gift was given in their honor.

This project was so motivating that other churches soon wanted to conduct alternative markets. In 1981 five churches in the Pasadena area held markets and each year the idea spread to many other churches, schools and community organizations. By 2004 there were 325 markets in that year held in 43 US states. Alternative Gift Markets have also been organized in England, Holland, Japan and Korea. In the course of 30 seasons over $29 million has been raised for people in crisis around the world and for the environment.

Non-Profit Corporation
In July, 1986 because of the fast growth of this project, Alternative Gift Markets, Inc. was organized as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, tax exempt corporation. All donations are tax-deductible.

Alternative Christmas Markets®
In 1986, AGM applied for the federally registered service mark, "Alternative Christmas Markets" and received this legal mark in June, 1987.

Network of Sending Agencies
Each year AGI develops a global shopping list designed to meet the needs of hungry-sick-homeless people and our endangered planet. In order to send designated gifts overseas and to poverty areas of the United States it is necessary to partner with many grass roots organizations. AGI has chosen nonprofit agencies with excellent reputations and track records to send gifts to the poor through our annual catalog "Gifts Inspiring Change".  If you are a non-profit interested in learning more about being featured in our catalog, please contact: publications@alternativegifts.org

Policy on Designated Gifts

It is the policy of AGI that ninety percent of the monies received by AGI for the alternative gifts will be granted to cooperating agencies who in turn guarantee that the funds received will be used only as designated in their established projects. AGI retains ten percent of these funds to pay for its administrative costs. AGI’s annual audited financial statement is available upon request.

AGI is listed on GuideStar, the on-line standard for nonprofit accountability. 
The BBB Wise Giving Alliance has granted full Accreditation to Alternative Gifts International. 
AGI meets all 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.




Request a Catalog

I would like to receive electronic communication

I would like to receive print communication

I would like a brochure about Alternative Gift Markets