The Lists

november sparklers: those who choose to shine

Sparklers is a monthly series that highlights people, groups and institutions who have recently spread light in the world. Everyday, people choose to shine in ways large and small. These moments of grace and generosity don’t always get reported on, and unfortunately they can be quickly forgotten. So we’re sharing some of their stories. Because sometimes good news and kindness are the sweetest luxuries of all. Here’s our November celebration of those who choose to shine.

The month of November is not only the month we celebrate Thanksgiving but also World Kindness Day and Giving Tuesday, making it a month filled with many sparkling people, companies and actions to celebrate.

november sparklers

Here are some of the inspirational people and groups that caught our eye this month – and that we want to have as part of our celebration of those who choose to shine:


Chef José Andrés, the culinary mastermind behind the 2 Michelin-starred Minibar restaurant in Washington DC, has long been known as the authority on Spanish food in the U.S. More recently, he has been recognized for a different achievement: his disaster relief work.

This month he spent his Thanksgiving cooking for California fire victims. But it’s his earlier volunteer work in Puerto Rico that has earned him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. And a new nickname: “the Mother Teresa of Puerto Rico.”  If he wins, he could be the first chef ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.


North Carolina State Highway Patrol Trooper Sgt. Brian Maynard was in the right place at the right time. He spotted Laura and Jimmy Baker traveling at about 85 mph past him on Highway 64 one Saturday in Wake County. Unbeknownst to him, the Bakers were headed to the hospital to see a doctor when Laura went into labor en route.

Maynard was just about to pull the couple over for speeding when they stopped and Jimmy emerged from the car asking for help. With the baby on its way, Maynard called EMS and together with Jimmy helped soothe his wife. She ended up giving birth right there by the side of the road.

Thanks to Maynard, the new family was able to get the immediate help they needed. And as for Maynard, a 15-year veteran on the force? He was happy to be a part of such a joyous experience.


Designer Stella McCartney has announced the launch of the Stella McCartney Cares Green. It’s a new charitable arm of her namesake label dedicated to promoting sustainability and protecting the environment.

She also announced that – together with the United Nations – she has drafted a fashion industry charter for climate action. It will be unveiled at the Katowice Climate Change Conference on December 10 in Poland.

The designer hopes the charter will “ring some alarm bells,” while making a business case for sustainable fashion. Her goal is setting out a path for collective action to enable low-carbon production methods to be scaled up, improving their economic viability. Other signatories to the charter have yet to be announced. They’re rumored to include several major fast-fashion brands.


Hunter Shamatt had just arrived in Las Vegas for his sister’s wedding when he realized he had lost his wallet filled with cash, his bank card and his identification. He called his airline, but there was no trace of it.

The day after he arrived back home, a package turned up containing his wallet. The note said:  “Hunter, found this on a Frontier flight from Omaha to Denver – row 12, seat F wedged between the seat and wall. Thought you might want it back. All the best.  P.S. I rounded your cash up to an even $100 so you could celebrate getting your wallet back. Have Fun!!!”

The kind stranger did not sign his name. Shamatt posted a picture of the note on Facebook with a message asking for help the person. Within days, he was in contact with Todd Brown of Omaha, his mystery benefactor. It’s a great reminder that there are kind people everywhere.


In solidarity with their employees, clients and friends in California, Gucci took part in supporting the relief efforts in the local communities that have been affected by the devastating California wildfires.

The brand made generous donations to the American Red Cross, Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States, United Way of Northern California and the Malibu Foundation. The company also reached out encourage their customers to donate via social media and an email campaign.  If you also would like to help victims of the Camp Fire, you can find some ideas of how to help here.


The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has in recent years become known Giving Tuesday – an international day of charitable giving to kick off the holiday season.

This year’s event proved to be the biggest yet, with four million donors and counting. Since the day was launched seven years ago by the 92nd Street Y in New York, participants have contributed over $1 billion in total online donations.

Organizers noted that donations went to a broad range of groups, including No Kid Hungry and, which supports public school teachers. Some donors gave time instead of money, volunteering at events around the world. For example, Jet Blue hosted a volunteer trip to the Dominican Republic.

Elsewhere, Venezuelan volunteers distributed food to hungry people on the streets of Caracas and people in Puerto Rico continued efforts to rebuild their cities’ homes and beaches after Hurricane Maria.

We love that this day has grown increasingly successful, and as a result has helped so many wonderful organizations and people in need.

As we head into the giving season, it’s a terrific inspiration for us all.

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