December: A Time to Give

Every year at this time I start receiving many more solicitations from NGOs, non-profit organizations. Because I give small amounts to many groups, I must be on everyone’s mailing list. Sorting out the ones I feel comfortable giving to, either with Charity Navigator orfrom  previous info on the organization, I pick and choose the ones I prefer, giving to new ones on my list as well as some I give to almost every year.

Because I will be going to the west coast to celebrate my  birthday the first week of December with my children and several nieces and nephews who live in California, I wanted to let them know that I don’t need anything for my birthday, just their presence, not  their presents! Instead, I gave them a list of some of my favorite organizations — mostly food, humanitarian, and environmental groups — and let them choose to give (or not) in lieu of a personal birthday gift. They can even choose to donate to their own favorite organization.

I am posting the list in case you want to investigate these organizations and perhaps make a donation. But give from your heart as well as your pocketbook. If you begrudge giving, or you are too financially strapped to do so, then no need to feel guilty about not giving. Take care of your needs first and then give whatever you can, if you can. The quote below by diarist Anne Frank sums it up for me.  Center for Victims of Torture: 2356 University Ave.W., Ste. 430, St. Paul, MN 55114. Donations used to help survivors of torture heal their wounds, rebuild their lives, and rejoin their families and communities as caring, productive members. Earth Justice, 50 California St. Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94111. As the nation’s original and largest nonprofit environmental law organization, we leverage our expertise and commitment to fight for justice and advance the promise of a healthy world for all. We represent every one of our clients free of charge. Environmental Defense Fund, PO Box 5055, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5055. Help us protect polar bears and other living creatures from climate change, habitat destruction, and toxic pollution. Your tax-deductible donation will help create a safer future for us all. Friends of the Earth, Washington, DC and Berkeley, CA. Friends of the Earth is a bold and fearless voice for justice and the planet. “We believe all people deserve to live in a healthy environment.” Organic Consumers Association, 6771 S. Silver Hill Drive, Finland, MN 55603. This organization safeguards organic standards, promotes org. agriculture, and challenges genetic engineering and factory farming. Seacology (1623 Solano Ave., Berkeley, CA 94707) For 25 years, it has helped protect island habitats and local communities by offering a unique deal: if they agree to create or enforce a forest or marine reserve, we’ll provide funds for something the village needs, like a schoolhouse or health clinic. Global Fund for Women, 800 Market St., 7thFl., San Francisco, CA 94102. This organization envisions a world where all women are strong, safe, powerful, and heard. Mazon, 10850Wilshire Blvd. Ste 400, L.A. CA 90024: Mazon is a Jewish response to hunger and this year they are focusing on food insecure veterans the support they need. (I posted this on Veterans Day in early November.) Services all denominations and groups in need of food security. National Resource Defense Council, PO Box 1830, Merrifield, VA 2216-8030. Current project involves sending a petition to Bayer to stop using “neonic” pesticides that are a key factor in the alarming collapse of bee colonies. Progeria Research Foundation, PO Box 3453m Peabody, MA 01961. Mission: To discover treatments and the cure for Progeria and its aging-related disorders, including heart disease. Southern Poverty Law Center, PO Box 5604, Montgomery, AL, 36177-7455. Fighting Hate/Teaching Tolerance/Seeking Justice. MOrris Dees has been doing this work at risk of his own life since 1971. Union of Concerned Scientists, Two Brattle Square, Cambridge, MA 02138, Science for a Healthy Planet and Safer World. Puts independent science to work to solve the planets most pressing problems. United Farm Workers of America, PO Box 62, Keene, CA 93531.
Begun in 1962 by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Gilbert Padilla and other early organizers, the United Farm Workers of America is the nation’s first enduring and largest farm workers union. The UFW continues organizing in major agricultural sectors, chiefly in California. (Mostly Hispanic men & women working in poor conditions.)

Note: Charity Navigator rates many of these organizations, if they are large enough. For some of the organizations, I have first-hand knowledge of what they do because I either visited the organization (ex. Mazon)  or because I know someone who is on the staff there and can vouch for the work that the organization does (ex. Progeria Foundation). You can also ask for the yearly financial profile and check to see is fundraising is a small part of their budgets and prgrams are the major part of their budgets.

3 thoughts on “December: A Time to Give

  1. Ellensue, Thanks for posting this – a good reminder for people who perhaps don’t have a tradition of giving, or even for those who do. I use Charity Navigator, especially if I receive a solicitation and am not sure if they are legitimate.

  2. You might want to suggest also The Nature Conservancy,
    which does a tremendous amount of conserving of all kinds
    of natural lands and resources internationally. My top pick of environmental
    organizations. You are very generous to spread your “wealth”

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