A year or so ago, I made this post about philanthropy and how to best go about giving. My plan, at that time, was to decide on a charity or group of charities that best met my giving priorities and set up a monthly gift, to be automatically deducted from my account. In this way, I hoped to both help the organizations to the greatest degree possible and meet my personal goal of giving 5% of my income.
Though I didn't blog about it anymore after that post, I did follow the steps I laid out. I identified my priorities, identified the charities I thought best spoke to each one, and set up monthly gifts. The charities I selected for monthly/regular giving were:
Heifer's mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.
By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.
With gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. We refer to the animals as "living loans" because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal's offspring to another family in need. It's called Passing on the Gift - a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace.
Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending
The ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Our mission, as stated by our founder, Henry Bergh, in 1866, is "to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States."
Amnesty International is a global movement of 2.8 million supporters, members and activists in more than 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights.
Our vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.
B-Word Worldwide, doing business as Bitch Media, is the nonprofit organization best known for publishing the magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Bitch Media's mission is to provide and encourage an empowered, feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture.
EngenderHealth is a leading international reproductive health organization working to improve the quality of health care in the world's poorest communities. EngenderHealth empowers people to make informed choices about contraception, trains health providers to make motherhood safer, promotes gender equity, enhances the quality of HIV and AIDS services, and advocates for positive policy change. The non-profit organization works in partnership with governments, institutions, communities, and health care professionals in 25 countries around the world. Over 65 years, EngenderHealth has reached more than 100 million people to help them realize a better life.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come.
The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, is the nation's largest natural-habitat refuge developed specifically to meet the needs of endangered elephants. It is a non-profit organization, licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and accredited by the Association of Sanctuaries, designed specifically for old, sick or needy elephants who have been retired from zoos and circuses. Utilizing more than 2700 acres, it provides three separate and protected, natural-habitat environments for Asian and African elephants. Our residents are not required to perform or entertain for the public; instead, they are encouraged to live like elephants.
I supplemented my monthly gifts with a few one-time donations, as things came up. The organizations to which I made one-time gifts were:
Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of factory farming and to encourage a new awareness and understanding about "farm animals." At Farm Sanctuary, these animals are our friends, not our food.
The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
Since 1972, the Center has expanded the possibilities for women and girls in this country. We have succeeded in getting new laws on the books and enforced; litigating ground-breaking cases all the way to the Supreme Court, and educating the public about ways to make laws and public policies work for women and their families. Today, an experienced staff of nearly 60 continues to advance the issues that cut to the core of women's lives in education, employment, family and economic security, and health and reproductive rights--with special attention given to the needs of low-income women and their families.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center serves as the nation's principle information and resource center regarding all aspects of sexual violence. It provides national leadership, consultation and technical assistance by generating and facilitating the development and flow of information on sexual violence intervention and prevention strategies. The NSVRC works to address the causes and impact of sexual violence through collaboration, prevention efforts and the distribution of resources.
Scholarship America mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college. The movement began in 1958 with the first Dollars for Scholars chapters. We became a national organization in 1961 -- and since then, we've helped more than 1.7 million students follow their dream of getting to college.
Though I didn't do quite as swell a job keeping track as I'd planned, my estimates show me giving about 4.5% of my pre-tax income. This doesn't quite meet my goal, but it comes close, and it's better than I have done in previous years.
In 2011, I want to follow the same pattern. The monthly deductions were barely missed when I was working full-time (and I, probably stupidly, kept them up when I was unemployed). If all goes as planned, my income will be substantially higher this year, so I should be able to either add some new organizations to my list or increase the amount I am giving to the ones I already have. This is where you come in--what do you think of the organizations I've selected? Do you see any glaring omissions? We all have different priorities, obviously, so if you're going to say something like, "it's dumb to worry about animals when people are starving," please just don't. If you have any helpful thoughts or advice, though, or if you know of a reason why any of the organizations I've selected SHOULDN'T be receiving my giving dollars, please do let me know.