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Paying it Forward with The Giving Keys

June 25, 2015

By Kimberly Inskeep

It is not often that I put on a piece of jewelry and then spend time throughout the day thinking of who I could give it to, hoping to return home without it. But that has become the case as I have donned a number of key necklaces from The Giving Keys, the company founded by singer/songwriter Caitlin Crosby.

A Giving Key bears a word that has been hand-stamped, and the company’s concept is that the wearer internalize the word, and then, when the timing is right and they encounter a person who needs that word in their life more than they do, they pass along the key to a new wearer—and the cycle continues. As you can imagine, the stories that have developed as a result of this ongoing, meaningful generosity are extraordinary tales of two lives intersecting, mutually aware there is something bigger than themselves at play.

Beyond that actual moment when jewelry exchanges hands, what I have found so beautiful about wearing a piece from The Giving Keys, is that it shifts the objective of the day for the wearer. There is a heightened mindfulness to those around them, expectant that a moment will come when they get to add value to the life of another. This can evolve into a habit of others-centeredness—a readiness to connect, contribute, and lighten the load of another—that persists whether you happen to be wearing a key or not.

Knowing how the company works, you can presume there is a significant vision and some deep substance to the person who created it, and the team that has enabled it to grow, establishing a presence in over 1,000 U.S. stores. And I haven’t even shared one of the best parts. The Giving Keys employs people working their way out of the cycle of homelessness, confirming that this company is committed to making a substantive difference in people’s lives from many angles.

I was deeply inspired by my conversation with Caitlin Crosby. Enjoy some portions of our chat below, including the story behind how The Giving Keys came to be.

Learn more, read some incredible stories, or make a purchase you can pay forward at