In case you've been wondering about some places that could use some of your extra Christmas money, these are some great organizations. If you've donated before, you know that anything given before the 31st will be tax-deductible for this year (*subliminal motivation*).
Invisible Children is trying to help people in Uganda, Africa living in the middle of a 23-year civil war. Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been kidnapping children in efforts to vanquish the government. The children are brainwashed into becoming vicious soldiers while loosing their childhood. IC, like all of these organizations, strives to foster empathy and global awareness.
KARA (Kids At Risk Action) tries to influence the public agenda regarding children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect. Mike Tikkanen apparently is one of the advocates. KARA focuses on promoting support programs for those involved in the child protection system including: mental and physical health, legal and criminal justice, and education.
WildAid has acquired grants to pay for their administrative costs, so that 100% of what you donate is used for their programs. The current programs include conservation awareness, Samlaut, Cambodia (MJP), Galapagos island ecology, activist training, and shark conservation. Their motto is "when the buying stops, the killing can too," advising that people should stop buying items made at the expense of endangered species.
National Council for Support of Disability Issues (NCSD) seems like a very informative and active organization. They are advocates by facilitating employment, legislative improvements, encouraging voting for candidates concerned about people w/ special needs, informing the public about current issues, and promoting recreation.
Greenpeace is currently addressing the issues of global warming, oceans, forests, nuclear energy, and toxics. You don't really have a choice about which of the issues you want to support; you're funds just go into the whole pot. It seems there are always side projects & petitioning to policy makers for law changes. GP has a laundry list of accomplishments from the beginning of their endeavors in 1971.
Kiva organizes micro-loans to people trying to get a business off the ground gaining economic independence. Some of the loans are $175, some $600, etc. Several people can contribute to one loan or you can devise a "team" for lending. These are 0% interest. Entrepreneurs profiles are on the website for you to choose from.* Journal updates are posted on the site & e-mailed to you regarding your personal loan. This is a loan system, so you'll receive repayments, which can be recycled into another loan or cashed out. To date, Kiva has facilitated raising over $540,000,000 worth of micro-loans. ----- *Aparently, Kiva has had a great influx of donations and all of the loans have been met as of right now. However, this is temporary, so keep checking back as new loans are updated hourly. You can also contribute to Kiva for overhead expenses.
Prosperity Rings focuses on helping women become entrepreneurs. They facilitate micro-financing, which is where we come in. Like w/ Kiva, these women are trained in creating a business plan and form groups that keep each other accountable for monitoring their monies and repaying the loans. They do charge interest though.
My friend Sue is participating in "Climb Tampa" 03-21-09; She is going to climb 42 flights! This is a fund raiser for the American Lung Association which helps to "fight against diseases such as lung cancer, asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." CLICK HERE to visit her personal web page and contribute towards her fundraising goal of $200. If you're in Florida and feel up to it, go climb with her!
Folks at Stuff White People Like have a list of 17 charities to donate to, 11 w/ descriptions, some which are listed here. A handful of the org. they highlight I am familiar w/ and their work is impressive. They're also planning on donating proceeds from t-shirt sales to one of eleven org. and you can vote about which one you think should get the proceeds. They also have a link to Charity Navigator if you would like to look for more non-profit groups in need.
There are a variety of ways to also help these organizations without donating money. The websites will certainly tell you how. These are just the tip of the iceberg; all you have to do is look for org. in need and you'll find them. If you have any others you like to support, please leave a comment. I'll check it out, at least. ^_^
All of the above are classified as "non-profit 501(c )3 organizations."