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The Story of The Giving Keys

Caitlin Crosby was staying in a New York Hotel on her travels as a singer songwriter and started wearing her key on a chain around her neck. She was touring with an album written around self-belief, loving your flaws and not believing the ‘Hollywood’ version of beauty. Happening across a locksmith, Caitlin asked him to engrave a positive word on to her key and noticed hundreds of discarded keys while there, so she took away with her.

Caitlin started selling these handmade key necklaces at her gigs, keys engraved with different words like peace, love, courage – she encouraged people to buy one with a specific meaning, but when they met someone who was in need of that positive message, to pay it forward to them and write to Caitlin to tell her why. She was taken aback with the response, receiving hundreds of stories of paying forward the giving keys.


At a crossroads Caitlin wasn’t sure what the next step with her jewellery was, that’s when she happened across Rob and Cera living on the street, with a sign reading ‘ugly, broke and hungry’ she knew that somehow they would work together. Caitlin took the couple to dinner and after food and wine Cera mentioned that she loved making jewellery, that was the a-ha moment!


Rob and Cera joined the team and started making jewellery the next day, as the business started to develop The Giving Keys partnered up with the United Way and PATH. United Way want to advance the common good and mobilize the caring power of communities, and PATH is a reputable transitional home based in LA. Since the beginning The Giving Keys has now employed 19 people experiencing homelessness with the aim to transition team members into permanent housing.

The Giving Keys story continues with every key bought and every one passed on, hear Caitlin tell her story in this fabulous TED talk…

Who will you pass yours on to? Be inspired by others who have passed theirs on

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