Loyola University Chicago

Loyola Magazine


Cardboard with a cause

Cardboard with a cause

Eduardo Barrientos (MBA ‘13) is a partner in and advisor for Give Back Box, which allows consumers to reuse boxes to ship donations to charity.

Through Give Back Box, Eduardo Barrientos (MBA ’13) helps consumers send items to charity free of charge.

Eduardo Barrientos (MBA ’13) was planning to open a microbrewery—it was his capstone project at the Quinlan School of Business. A friend introduced him to Monika Wiela, a marketing executive who agreed to help him set up the brewery’s website and online store. 

As the two became friends, Wiela mentioned an idea she had for a new business. She had been walking down Michigan Avenue when she saw a homeless person with a sign asking for shoes. She had access to women’s stilettos, but those wouldn’t do. She brought men’s shoes to the same place the next day, but couldn’t find the man she had seen.

Frustrated by her inability to match her resources with a person who needed them, she came up with Give Back Box.

“I was like, 'this is amazing,'” Barrientos says.  “It’s gonna fly.” The microbrewery fell by the wayside.

Give Back Box, in which Barrientos is now a partner and advisor, provides online retailers with prepaid addressed mailing labels. When a consumer buys something online from a participating retailer, the retailer sends a label along with the box received by the consumer. The consumer can then fill the box with goods to donate, put the label on it, and mail it free of charge via UPS. 

“I’m thrilled about this, because now what I’m doing professionally aligns with what I want to do with my life,” Barrientos says. “This is such a simple concept, but I think it can make a sustainable social and environmental difference as more than 10 million boxes are shipped by retailers daily in the U.S.

"Loyola planted the seeds for social responsibility in me, and I’m grateful to have a way to use my degree to that end.” 

Right now, all goods sent through Give Back Box go to Goodwill. You don’t have to make a purchase to make a donation. Print a prepaid mailing label from givebackbox.com, and follow the instructions on the site.   

Read more stories of outstanding Loyola alumni