Giving Keys
(Photo courtesy of

by Jade Hanley

“We are all like [used] keys – unique, flawed, scarred and at risk of being discarded.” These flawed keys gave Caitlin Crosby the idea to start an incredible not-for-profit organization that would help thousands. It all began with wearing old keys after engraving them with inspiring words.

The keys serve as a force of what the person felt was lacking in their life. Common words engraved are “faith” “courage” or “inspire”. According to, “their message is yours for a time, but once they’ve served their purpose with you, pay it forward to inspire another. This means, when you’ve felt you no longer need the message of the key, you give it to someone who does.

There are a multitude of stories of people who are grateful for their Giving Keys, many of which can be found on the website. One woman talked of her triumph with Courage. “I could definitely use some courage while dealing with my two year old son! I’ve…finally decided to give it to my younger sister. She recently went through a divorce after being together for 10 years.”

Crosby eventually made The Giving Keys a not-for-profit business after meeting two homeless persons that changed her view on life. She ended up hiring them to create the keys into jewelry pieces.

United Way, PATH and Chrysalis joined up with the team adding to their mission. “These valuable partners helped The Giving Keys build their team through their in-depth screening process, ensuring that those employed were truly determined to reset the course of their lives.”

With the keys being sold in over 500 stores nowadays, it’s easy to say that the effect of something that started in a New York hotel room has expanded into something incredible.

As Crosby said, we are all “unique, flawed, scarred and at risk of being discarded” but we can be renewed over and over again.