Who We Are
What makes American great? The answer is you - you are an individual with a background and set of values that is utterly unique. Our diversity makes us stronger, spurring innovation and creativity at levels seen nowhere else in the world. We started American Certified (www.americancertified.com) to make it easy for shoppers to support American workers - whoever they may be, wherever they may be working, and whatever they may be making.
Our goal is simple - transparency. More than ever, American shoppers want to make conscientious purchases, and make sure that they vote with their wallets to support those whose values they can agree with. This ambition, however, is tempered by the time and difficulty involved in researching every maker and product prior to purchase. Many of us simply do not have the time to do as much as we'd like - we're too busy taking care of our kids, or putting in long hours at our jobs to keep food on the table. Yet, we want to do the right thing.
What if finding out everything you wanted to know about a company wasn't so difficult? What if a free resource existed that allowed you to look up an American manufacturer by name or product and immediately find out everything you ever wanted to know about that company, for example, do you want to buy products only from companies which pay their workers a living wage? From woman, minority or veteran-owned businesses? From organizations which share your political or religious values? That makes products in a sustainable, environmentally conscious manner?
With over a hundred characteristics to choose from, American Certified hopes to make it as easy as possible for individuals like you to make informed purchases that support your unique belief system. But is a huge undertaking. We estimate that there are more than 250,000 makers who will qualify for our Directory, including not only traditional manufacturers, but farmers, craftspeople and artisans, as well as, tinkerers with 3D printers.
For example, take the seal below for the Yuengling brewery, located in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Each icon tells you something about Yuengling, the way it operates, and how it makes its products. Just by looking, you can determine that Yuengling is an American owned and family operated German-American company, which employs both disabled and American veterans, providing medical benefits for both. These workers make a product, which is 100% Made in the USA, fully vegan, and bottled in recycled glass in the Greater Philadelphia area.
No matter what characteristics you are particularly interested, and whatever your values may be, our Directory connects you with makers who share them, bridging American communities and making it easy to make purchases you can be happy with.
Our Veteran Initiative
The Directory of Certified Makers is an enormous undertaking, to be built in stages. As our initial focus, we're launching a campaign to reach out to American veterans (and their spouses) whose businesses are making products here in the USA.
Veterans face many issues returning home - nearly a third of American homeless are veterans, they suffer unprecedented rates of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and face huge backlogs for claiming benefits, while unemployment among veterans is twice the national average.
Nonetheless, thousands of enterprising veterans (and veteran-spouses) have managed to build new lives for themselves, starting new companies, opening new plants, and creating tens of thousands of new jobs. We want to celebrate America's veteran makers, and have made it our goal to reach out to them, and promote their products, making it as easy as possible for Americans to support our returning heroes.
What We Need
The Directory of Makers is a powerful tool - yet we do not charge for participation. We estimate that there are over 50,000 veteran (and spouse owned) maker businesses which will qualify for certification. We want to identify and then promote these hero-owned businesses, without charge.
Specifically, we need $7,000 for compensation and travel expenses. This will cover the direct and indirect costs of hiring two returning veterans for a month to begin the research and networking. This will be a transitional stipend (with the intent to convert to permanent, full-time) aimed at helping some of our returning troops learn new skills, adapt to a civilian workplace, and build important resume experience for continued growth, while helping us do the same for many of their fellow soldiers. We will reach out to national and regional organizations, including local community leaders in that can serve as our ambassadors to the local makers who they already live and work alongside. We estimate an average cost of more than $5 per completed Directory listing. With 50,000 potentially qualified veteran-business prospects, the funding we are seeking will at least help us to get started.
Full disclosure. We are a for-profit business. Our associated store (featuring over 1.5 million American made products) helps fund some of our costs, including rent, compensation for our staff and programmers, for our social media presence (to promote the Makers), and also helps cover the remaining hosting expenses. But American Certified is a bootstrapped start-up, and companies in the Directory (including veteran-owned) are not required to participate in our e-commerce site. We simply cannot afford to undertake this project without your support.
What does promoting American manufacturing help? Why do my spending decisions matter?
- When you support our makers, all Americans benefit - every dollar spent with an American veteran maker has a multiplier effect equal to a $1.35 on our economy; each new job creates more than four additional ones!
- Financially support companies making a positive change in the American marketplace, creating market solutions for social problems!
- Find new makers who share your values which you never even knew existed!
- Help the environment! The world's fifteen largest oceanic freight barges produce more CO2 annually than every automobile combined!
Other Ways You Can Help
We understand that not everyone who may want to help us has the resources to do so. Nonetheless, there are many ways you can help that won't put a strain on your wallet!
- Like us on Facebook andTwitter. Create the buzz we need so that we can spread the word about the veterans and others who are putting Americans back to work building great products.
- Join the Movement on our website! Create a profile to share with the world why you try to Buy American.
- If you are purchasing a product through Amazon anyway, do so through our site. The commissions we earn help us fund our operations just the same as a donation, and is just as appreciated!
No matter what, we thank you for your interest and support.