Christmas is a time of the year when hearts are warmed with thoughts of family, tasty food, presents under the tree and cheerful moments. It’s always a good time to think of others as well and – as an individual, group or company – offer assistance where it is most needed.

Empowering people and society through the internet is at the heart of Rakuten’s founding principles and this way of thinking has also guided our charitable contributions to society. These are just some of the highlights of activities from this year’s holiday season:

Japan – Rakuten Santa Project

Rakuten employees in Japan delivering presents and cards to children in foster homes

At the core of Rakuten’s Christmas activities in Japan is the Rakuten Santa Project. Launched in 2014 as a way to support the next generation, the project allows employees to visit foster homes all around the country to deliver cards and presents to children, spend time with them and learn something about their daily lives. This year almost 600 employees will visit over 500 foster homes, giving presents and Christmas cards based on designs created by Rakuten employees to around 25,000 children.

Germany – Rakuten.de Charity Shopping

Members of the Rakuten Germany team delivering the cheque to Deutsche Kinderkrebsstiftung

To celebrate five years of Rakuten in Germany, the marketplace Rakuten.de teamed up with the Deutsche Kinderkrebsstiftung (German Children’s Cancer Foundation) to create the first ever Charity Shopping campaign. Customers could save up to 10% on selected products, while 5% of the total price would go to the foundation. The enormous popularity of the event generated a total donation of 115,000 euros in just 3 days. The donation was presented to the chairman of the foundation, Ulrich Ropertz, in Berlin on December 20.

France – PriceMinister-Rakuten HandiDon

handidon-logoIt has always been in the DNA of PriceMinister to support humanitarian causes and show solidarity by supporting various organizations such as the Red Cross or Yellow Pieces. For the third year in a row, the team there supported the Association des Paralyses de France (APF) during the Christmas shopping period and hosted the official APF HandiDon Shop. HandiDon is a huge annual lottery with prizes ranging from smartphones to cars. Online tickets could be bought exclusively through the official PriceMinister Shop (Super boutique), with all the revenue being donated to the association.

USA – Ebates

This year, Ebates teamed up with Bayview Mission to adopt families for Christmas and participate in their infant program. The infant program goes on all year with families coming to the center at designated times throughout the month and picking up baby wipes and diapers. On December 13, the Ebates team held a wrapping party at which employees wrapped all the gifts and delivered them to the Mission the following day. In all, over 500 boxes of diapers and more than 30 cases of wipes have been collected and 34 families will be adopted this year.

USA – Rakuten Marketing

Members of the Rakuten Marketing team in New York with some of the presents collected on the toy drive

Rakuten Marketing’s NYC office hosted a toy drive with donations being provided to two different organizations, Children of Bellevue and Brooklyn Gardens. Teams had to collect as many toy donations as possible and could win a special in-office team breakfast. The rally collected over 250 items that will be delivered to children in the NY area.