Charity donation recommendations?

It’s the end of 2008, which means that it’s time for one of my favorite posts of the year: what charities would you recommend donating to?

As I said a couple years ago:

If you’re not aware of them, GuideStar and Charity Navigator are two good places to start. … Does anyone want to mention specific charities? Or mention other things that might not strictly be charities, but might be “good deeds” that readers would be interested in?

I’ll get the ball rolling with a few suggestions. I believe the Electronic Frontier Foundation does important work. They tackle many fights that need to be fought. I’ve also been impressed with the projects that the Sunlight Foundation has worked on, including Earmark Watch.

On a related note, I’ve been getting interested in how bloggers can be more like journalists in terms of shield law protections, or learning more about defamation, privacy, and copyright. It’s frustrating to me that MIT, Berkeley, Yale and Stanford offer dozens of courses online, but it’s much easier to find Electrical Engineering courses than “Journalism 101″ courses. I’d be interesting in groups that are creating or digitizing such information. Frankly, I’d like to see even a single free online university course in journalism. I’ve looked and haven’t found one.

Internationally, I like what Kiva does with microloans. Several people last year recommended Heifer International. The Child’s Play charity provides games for sick children in hospitals in several countries.

On open-source related items, this page lists a bunch of open-source organizations that may accept an online donation. The Alameda County Computer Resource Center in the California Bay Area will recycle computers or anything that plugs into a power outlet; they also accept charity donations and volunteer work. Personally, I’m a fan of donating to open-source projects that I use and enjoy, from Ubuntu or Synergy or Paint.NET to WordPress or PuTTY.

That’s a few charities and organizations that I’m thinking about. Now it’s your turn — what are the best charities in your opinion?

90 Responses to Charity donation recommendations? (Leave a comment)

  1. In 2009 I will be supporting charity:water (http://www.charitywater.org/) I have also been learning about micro loans, and I am currently reviewing the people listed in Kiva in search of the right person to support.

    I would also recommend that we keep in mind the local charities in our own communities. Many of them are too small to advertise or make a big public appeal, but they need our support. There are several half-way houses, rehab homes, abuse shelters, etc. in every community that are quietly working hard to make our neighborhoods a better place.

  2. On one of my websites, we’re involved with a charity called Malaria Bites, which is run by the Canadian Red Cross. Basically, for $7CDN (about $5.50US), you can buy a mosquito net for children in Liberia to sleep under. These mosquito nets are pre-treated and help protect against malaria-carrying mosquito nets when they are most likely to bite (at night). So far we’ve raised over $1400 and purchased over 200 nets. You can read more about the charity, as well as our initiative here: http://www.photographycorner.com/blog/2008/12/malaria-bites

  3. I’ve been looking at kiva a lot recently and I’m going to be dedicating both company and personal funds to them in the new year. As someone who has started a few businesses, I just *love* this idea. Not only does it create growth in countries where it is needed the most, but it cuts out a lot of the costs that normally go to the ‘middle man’. I hate the idea of donating money to some organization in Norway that needs like 40% just to cover staffing costs…

  4. I think you’ve listed some awesome organizations. I’d add to this list some of the arts-oriented charities, like the ones linked from this philanthropy page on Pandora. Especially in tough economic times like we’re experiencing today, arts programs for youth are often slashed or downright eliminated, and I think that’s tragic.

    IMHO, so many troubled or potentially troubled kids could be helped by having more purpose, more discipline, more beauty in their lives, and so I think organizations that make this opportunity available for such kids are very well worth supporting :)

  5. Hi Matt,

    Here in South Africa, there are some great charities to get involved with (there are a lot of people in need). Try this one, The Sunflower Fund: http://www.sunflowerfund.org.za/.

    Kevin

  6. I’ve always been a fan of http://reachforadream.org.za and it is something that you can often give more than just money. This one really asks people for help and not just your pennies.

    After that there is always Bill http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Pages/home.aspx ;)

  7. Not DIRECTLY a charity, but http://www.AGoodCause.com donates money to a cause of your choice each time you shop online (from a selected and rapidly expanding list of shops).

    They’ve recently expanded into the US market (plus others), so expect their list of charities and shops to grow.

  8. For my birthday I asked my wife, instead of buying me a present, to donate a few bucks to one of my favourite FOSS apps. She chose Miranda IM which, since reading about it on the official Google Talk documentation, has quickly become my favourite IM client of all time. I want to turn this into tradition to thank all the hardworking FOSS developers who give so much effort and ask for so little.

    Sure there are worthier, needier causes, but this one really speaks to me.

  9. I like http://www.thetoymakers.org/.

    They are a small organization I stumbled upon at a little, local event a few weeks ago. These men make small wooden toys for sick children. They were incredibly nice and really showed how much they care by their enthusiasm for their projects.

    I plan to donate money and services to them personally and through my small home business. They don’t make any money, it’s completely volunteer and most of the toy makers buy their own materials – though donations are available from some key businesses.

    Check them out, anyone with a child will feel the threads of their heart tugged by these toy makers.

  10. Hmm best charities in the last down turn i worked at a charity fundraiser so id say the best of the big oens I worked on campaigns for

    OXFAM
    http://www.oxfam.org/

    and of course as we are doing some work for a smaller charity at the moment

    NEDDI New European Distressed Donkey Initiative http://www.neddi.org/

  11. Help poor schools, fund specific teach projects:

    http://donorschoose.org/

  12. I have always been a big fan of Family Focus. Their goal is to end poverty in the U.S….especially among children. With three kids myself, I can’t imagine any child having to deal with poverty. Here is the link….
    http://moveto.ws/l6ohwywm9

  13. Ian M

    The UK charity Cancer Research UK does some of the most cutting edge cancer research in the world – I’d heartily recommend donating to them even if you’re not from the UK.

  14. Ian M

    Also “Wells for Africa” – such a ridiculously simple concept, such a ridiculously big benefit (and at fairly little cost per pump) it’s frankly a scandal that it’s not received massive international government funding.

    Just look at all the people dying of Cholera in Zimbabwe to see what a difference clean drinking water makes.

    Plus the huge difference to the education of children – often children cannot go to school because they need to walk miles just to bring back enough water for the family for the day.

  15. If you’re interested in spurring innovation with your philanthropy, consider Echoing Green (http://www.echoinggreen.org/). It’s an “angel investor” in the social sector and runs a competitive process to fund new ideas and people (less than 2% of ideas are funded). It has a twenty + year track record of funding great ideas (like Teach For America, CityYear, and the Freelancer’s Union).

    Full disclosure: I work at Echoing Green… but I’m also a donor.

  16. A good friend of mine is documenting the efforts of Engineers Without Borders New York chapter to build a water supply system for the health Center in Matunda-Kenya. Right now, the health center uses buckets of water to do their most essential duties like give shots. The film will allow other people to experience what the volunteers and the people of Matunda are going through during this process.

    Help make a difference. Make a donation or spread the word of my friend Tania’s fundraiser and help her to achieve this film.

    Watch a preview of The Water Cycle The Film.

  17. I recently read the book _Three Cups of Tea_ http://www.threecupsoftea.com/ by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Amazing book about one man’s accidentally-discovered life mission of building schools – especially for girls – in impoverished, remote areas in Pakistan and now in afghanistan. What an amazing way to promote peace. Anyhow, they have a charity associated with it, Central Asia Institute, and a cool program called “Pennies for Peace” that is a way kids can get involved and raise money to send to build more schools.

    My suggestion: read the book and then decide for yourself! Here is a link to the book on amazon.com, copied from their website, which donates the affiliate link back to the charity itself: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143038257?ie=UTF8&tag=threecupsofte-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0143038257

  18. bea

    my favorite:
    kalaweit
    apopo
    comaco
    wild aid
    gua africa

  19. Martin

    I second the suggestion for Cancer Research UK (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/).

    If not, or if you’re sick of helping people (as I am), then the WWF is doing a lot of very good things to ensure that the human race does not destroy all other life on this planet or, indeed, the planet itself. See http://www.wwf.org/

  20. Sears has a “Homes for Heroes” program they are collecting for. It builds homes for disabled vets. 100% goes toward that aim. They built a number of homes for vets with special needs. I supported them and the Salvation Army who could use extra help during this downturn.

  21. Matt:

    I work in higher education fundraising, so have some expertise in this matter. I should be encouraging you to give to your local scholarship fund, but this year I would VERY MUCH encourage your readers to give to local charities meeting basic human needs (shelters, food banks, etc.). Because of the economy, many of these charities are seeing an uptick in those needing service, and a downturn in donations. I like the charities that move the “big ideas”. Today, however, it is the smaller needs that require our immediate attention.

    Kristen Dugdale

  22. When it comes to donating I always end up thinking of children. Children are innocent and therefore I believe that they should all have a great childhood. I suggest that this years donations are given to http://www.savethechildren.org.

  23. Christine Searle

    For anyone that loves Wildlife and is averse to misguided humans keeping wild animals as pets, or worse still, using wild animals for their own financial gain, and in doing so keeping them in apalling conditions (lions being used as ciurcus animals confined to a cage they can barely move in), this might interest: http://www.lionrescue.org.za/. In the greater (global) scheme of things its a small project but anyone that loves the big “cats” will be understand why tgis is so close to my heart.

    If Ian M could perhaps post a link to a website for that “Wells for Africa” project, if there is a site, I would be most grateful – that sound like a no brainer for anyone who wants to donate a few dollars.

    Happy holidays!

  24. Nicole

    Youth Aids is a great organization: http://www.youthaids.org.

    Also, the Salvation Army is always in need of funding, especially in a time where there are so many natural disasters disrupting the lives of American’s…www.salvationarmyusa.org.

  25. Brian, I think donating books to FOSS developers is a good idea. They create so much value for the world that it’s nice to show appreciation.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone. This blog pre-moderates first time commenters, so I just went through and approved a big batch of comments.

    Ian M, is it http://www.waterwellsforafrica.org/ that is Water Wells for Africa? I’ve seen various places where you can fund a well, and it seems like a really good idea.

    Dan Wood, I hadn’t heard of Three Cups of Tea. Pretty neat idea. Reminds me a little bit of Room to Read and its origin with a former Microsoft person: http://www.roomtoread.org/media/book.html

  26. My favorite organization, that very practically assists homeless people and helps them become formerly homeless is Community Housing Partnership. http://www.chp-sf.org/

    Their programs provide the only real solution to long-term homelessness — permanent housing with support services. They also involve the recipients in the work and management of the organization, hiring residents to do construction and other jobs, providing training and involving residents in decision-making. And because their programs are innovative and they have an advocacy mission, their work has wider impact.

    If I won the lottery, that’s where I’d send the money.

    (Full disclosure — I worked for them for a number of years, because I believe so strongly in what they do!)

  27. Anthony S, Echoing Green also sounds pretty cool. Reminds me a little bit about http://www.project10tothe100.com/ from Google.

  28. Children International, http://www.children.org, is an awesome, recurring monthly charity. I’ve sponsored a child for over a year now.l

  29. My friend is helping start the Veterans Green-Jobs Alliance. (http://www.veteransgreenjobs.org/). It is matching vets with the growing green job economy. Besides job placement, they also want to provide job training as well. I feel like it is such a smart move at this time, and fits in well with the new administration’s direction – getting people out of Iraq and creating energy independence in our country (the US). I don’t have much to give them, but I am going to start volunteering with them.

    Thanks for the post.

  30. Unfortunately I have some cynical views on some charities, but eeek, putting negativity to one side; a charity that is close to my heart (only established about a year ago) is ‘Help for Heroes’ (http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/) a charity for sick & injured UK military personnel. I support this organisation due to it being close to my heart & because you can see a direct impact on all money that is spent.

    I like the idea of how people ‘blog for charity’ – it gave me the idea of every so often I will take on SEO work for free if a kind enough donation is passed on to the above charity.

    Merry Crimbo everyone.
    ^_^

  31. That’s easy. Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of America.

  32. Secret Santa for poor families; they have them in almost every area. They tell you the age, clothing sizes and sex of the kids of a poor family, and you actually go out and but stuff for them and donate it to the center.

    It feels good sometimes to give actual “stuff” rather than dough. I agree on EFF – they do great work.

  33. Matt

    San Francisco’s Children’s Book Project, http://www.childrensbookproject.org/ is a great organization that is tremendously successful based on a very simple model.

    The Children’s Book Project was founded to help build literacy by providing free, new and gently used books to children who need them. Since our beginning in 1992, we have collected and distributed over 1,000,000 books to San Francisco Bay Area children and their shelters, schools, community and daycare centers.

  34. An organization that helps US military. I suggest the Valour-IT program which helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries.

    http://soldiersangels.org/index.php?page=project-valour-it

  35. I’m a big supporter of Touched By Olivia Foundation who are dedicated to improving the lives of children, one community at a time. I’m happy to say my company is supporting it too. It’s so vital to donate to small, start-up neighborhood charities as well as the big ones, as making a difference in your local community can eventually have a huge impact in the wider world.
    I’m also a huge fan of One Laptop Per Child – their stated mission is to make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege.

  36. My dad (mr. funny guy) is one of the people that The National Foundation for Transplants helps. We are terribly lucky to have found a matching heart for him – it’s an unbelievable piece of news to receive. Like many others adjusting to a post-transplant lifestyle, he just underwent a heart transplant and is now selling his house and his car to pay for the insurmountable bills associated with the transplant. He was in the hospital for several weeks this summer after he collapsed from heart failure. Thank God someone was there to rush him to the hospital (on a lighter note – this was on Tony Adam’s first day at Yahoo, where he got to see his boss (me) cry. Tony is a great sport). They opened up my dad’s chest three times – once to put a ventricular assistive device in, once because of complications, and another time to put the actual heart in when it arrived. I’m still trying to put the images of my dad unconscious with tubes coming out of him everywhere out of my head.

    I used to think childbirth might be scary, but after seeing what he went through childbirth looks like a walk in the park.

    The hospital bills from this summer were just under $1M, each biopsy (monthly) is $3000, and prescriptions for the rest of his life are over $100 a month. He’s a truck driver (or was). He is not able to go back to work for some time. So my family have come together to take care of his bills where we can. And The National Foundation for Transplants helps people in his situation through donations.

    If anyone is compelled to make a donation to The NFT, they can be made through the website (you can even use Paypal). My father’s name is Frank Lippay, if you are so inclined to donate in his name. I’ll also be holding a charity cocktail party in San Francisco in February – ping me on Facebook if you’re in the area and want to come .

    Thanks for posting this Matt, and thank you in advance to anyone who donates. Please let me know if you do – I would like to know who to thank.

    xo, Laura Lippay

  37. Dave (originial)

    The “best charities” is VERY subjective. IMO, ANY charity that helps Children in 3rd World Countries and stops them living in misery and dying.

    I wont pretend to know “best charities” other than to say any genuine charity is worthy.

    Matt, why not run Adsense on your blog and donate all proceeds to a charity of YOUR choice? IMO, it seems kind of selfish not to.

  38. Chris

    Are you related to Thomas Friedman? You look like his son.

    You should donate to aynrand.org. They buy copies of Atlas Shrugged for high school students. Pick up a copy for yourself if you havent already.

    Chris

  39. Thanks Matt! Great post to help charities around the world or locally!

    I work for The Seany Foundation a non-profit that is not as well known and we find it more difficult to raise funds. Generally speaking, most people like to give to the “larger” charities. Unfortunately, those suffering from rarer diseases miss out on contributions that could have a significant impact.

    Each year, The National Cancer Institute spends hundreds of millions of dollars on breast cancer research alone, and only $20-30 million on all childhood cancers combined.

    The government is making more funding cuts for childhood
    cancers, especially sarcomas.

    The Seany Foundation is a non-profit organization founded to carry on Sean Lewis Robins’ legacy of battling Ewing’s sarcoma (ES) and to help find a cure for cancer. We are working to ensure that research programs devoted to rare childhood cancers get the funding they desperately need.

    Donations made to the Foundation will help fund new research efforts, create resources to improve the lives of kids battling cancer, and bring education about pediatric cancers to the public.

    Thanks for the opportunity to help provide awareness of our efforts for more information or to donate or volunteer please visit our website.

    http://www.theseanyfoundation.org

  40. I’m a big fan of grid alternatives. Depends alot on what your priorities are, but these guys arrange for 100% volunteer labor to install reduced-price solar panels on low-income homes in CA. It’s local, fights poverty in a way that is very cost efficient over a long-term, and simultaneously tackles climate change. http://www.gridalternatives.org/

  41. Two local angles for people that want to recycle items or donate time.

    Community Wish List for San Mateo County
    http://www.communitywishlist.org/

    Charitopia
    http://charitopia.org/

  42. This year, my wife and I decided that it was important to focus all of our giving to those who most need it, and away from “pet causes” such as Theatreworks, West Bay Opera, or various political and medical research charities we supported in the past. (We have always preferred local charities, as you can see from the list: but, that’s a separate issue).

    When Second Harvest is desperately short of funds, as it is this year, we can’t justify to ourselves supporting great cultural activities such as theater and opera at the expense of reducing hunger.

    So we gave almost all of our charity budget (the only part of our budget that didn’t shrink this year, actually increased, as we’re giving to charity instead of gifts to each other for Christmas) to Second Harvest, with a small side donation to the Humane Society (also dramatically short of funds and overwhelmed with pets abandoned by desperate owners, twice as many as most years).

    One of the kids (who also got the choice of charitable gift in lieu of normal Christmas gift) supported Wildlife Rescue, so they got a little too (wild animals suffer about as much as always at humans’ hands, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to make up for a little of it).

  43. Already mentioned but, I had a great experience last year with donorschoose.org! My donation was due in part to the certificate included with Google’s holiday gift to AdWords advertisers. I added to Google’s gift and as a result received a really nice note and photos from the classroom we helped….

    Just my two cents, either way happy holidays and all the best in 2009! : )

    -Brian

  44. I have always been a fan of http://www.ikamva.org, they are Cape Town, South Africa based. They do a lot of work in the cape flats which is our poorer communities. They do a lot of Aids work, helping Aids orphans and seniors who take care of orphans.

    They are always stretched for resources, so any help is always appreciated : )

  45. Jen

    Charities that help children, particularly children is developing countries, are always at the top of my list. I choose to give all year long by sponsoring two children in the Philippines through the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. The program has received the highest star rating from Charity Navigator. Over 93% of their revenue is spent directly on programs (not administrative or fundraising expenses).

    Getting the touching letters from my sponsored children always brings tears to my eyes. They are so grateful for my support. My monthly donation helps with food, schooling, vitamins, medical and dental checkups, etc.

    I also see it as a great opportunity to involve my own children. I share the letters and pictures with them and we talk about our responsibility to be thankful for what we have and to also give to those who have less than we do.

    I whole-heartily recommend this charity.

    http://www.cfcausa.org/

  46. Brian

    I heard the founders of GiveWell (http://www.givewell.net) give a talk earlier this year, and really like the effort they’ve been putting into gathering real data on what charities are doing and analyzing how effective and cost-efficient their interventions are. I’ve been volunteering with them going through research on some of the bigger overall questions about international giving.

    The focus so far has been on reducing inequality, and they’re definitely far from finished trying to find effective charities in that realm, but they recommend a few specific charities based on existing research, and are looking for pledges to donate based on future research. Being able to say that there’s substantial funding committed to the outcome of their research helps them to convince charities to share more of their information, from which better conclusions can be drawn.

  47. I would say donate your your time instead to any local organization you can, mentoring, big brother, boys and girls club, a shelter, soup kitchen. I used to give money but once a friend took me to feed people for thanksgiving at a shelter it’s very reward to see your part actually matter. I wish I had more time to mentor, the world to show kids hey look you can write a tv show, become president, work for NASA, NSA or even Google. I also like EFF..

  48. One that i found is IAEA’s pact program for cancer therapy; it was one of the few i found that lets you donate for a cancer program on the spot, even through PayPal:
    http://cancer.iaea.org/

    Matt, I also like Kiva and donated a bit to someone. What i like about that is that when they pay you back you can use the same money to help someone else.

    Another thing i donated for is Shareaza (yes, the P2P app :). Here’s the story if you didn’t know it: apparently what’s been said to be the music industry managed an hostile takeover of www dot shareaza dot com and is now offering their own app called Shareaza. I’m not questioning their motives but what they did seriously violates principles of a free society in my opinion. The original Shareaza team are receiving donations to fight back and continue the development of the P2P client: http://www.pantheraproject.net/

  49. Vanessa’s Big Heart Foundation (bigheartfoundation.org). They are dedicated to finding a cure for pediatric cardiomyopathy. The founders of the organization live in my dad’s neighborhood in Spring, TX. If you go to their site watch the video about their story. Thanks.

  50. I donate yearly to the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research.
    http://medschool.umaryland.edu/celiac/

    Here is how I came to know about it. Alek’s 2 sons have it:
    http://www.komar.org/

    Here is a cool article on the EDU that tells some of the cool stuff Alek does to help out:
    http://somvweb.som.umaryland.edu/absolutenm/templates/?a=45&z=5

    Happy Holidays,
    Rob.

    P.S. – Don’t forget to donate to your favorite charities. Both locally and globally!

  51. As a doctor involved in soccer I love the work that Tackle Africa do

    http://www.tackleafrica.org/

    They are a small charity run on a shoe string and they use soccer to bring HIV and AIDS education to young people all over Africa. Very innovative and very good at what they do.

    Great post Matt

  52. I just wanted to point out, that Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit, and it still runs the Wikipedia.

    We rely on donations, and every one counts :)

  53. Make A Wish Foundation, charity for children and young people fighting life-threatening illnesses.

  54. Forgot to mention, handicap and poverty go hand on hand. Poverty could lead to handicap due to malnutrition, dangerous living conditions and poor healthcare. On the other hand, handicap could lead to poverty being inable to work. Hence along with Make A Wish for children whose days are counted, any charity to the disabled to bail out them from poverty is appreciable.

  55. Sylvia

    My favorite charities are
    Doctor’s Without Borders – http://www.msf.org/
    The Smile Train – http://www.smiletrain.org
    The Fistula Foundation – http://www.fistulafoundation.org

    The Smile Train performs reconstructive surgery on children with cleft palates and the Fistula Foundation helps women, mostly in Africa, with obstetric fistula caused by prolonged childbirth.

  56. Matt,

    You could help underpriviledged children in a third world countries like the Philippines and that’s what we do by the way. For just a few a few dollars, you could help build a home, adopt a kid, do medical missions, adopt a schools etc.

    Check out the benefactors and the people behind the organization at http://www.visayans.org/about-us.cfm to know more about us.

    Kind regards,
    Volunteer for the Visayans, Philippines :)

  57. Just wanted to add one of my own for all your Irish readers http://www.unicef.ie hope you don’t mind. It is an Irish Children Charity.

  58. We support Dude, Share The Food! an Atlanta ministry that takes food (and clothing) to the streets of Atlanta and surrounding communities. This Christmas, we had 300 personal blankets donated which are being gift wrapped and given to the homeless along with some toiletry kits.

  59. fhg

    Does google earns from charity ads or public service ads which it displays??

  60. Seth Brundle

    I setup a monthly automatically deducted donation to the “Christian Foundation For Children and Aging”, because they are top-rated as far as efficiency goes.

    Having it be automatically deducted makes it easier to bear and reduces the charities processing overhead. You also have the choice of country, age, and sex of the child you wish to support.

    You can also penpal with them if you want to, although I am going to discontinue this as it obliges the child to write whether they want to or not.

  61. I like http://www.thetoymakers.org/.

    They are a small organization I stumbled upon at a little, local event a few weeks ago. These men make small wooden toys for sick children. They were incredibly nice and really showed how much they care by their enthusiasm for their projects.

    You can stumble upon something without a toolbar? Wow, you’ve got mad skills.

    Seriously, my own thoughts are along the same lines as Gordon Cameron’s, as I’m also involved as a soccer coach…except I’m going to suggest something one step further as a possible initiative for your employer. One of the problems that I see is that a lot of kids want to play soccer and are pretty good at it, but their parents simply can’t afford the registration fees. If an organization like Google (possibly by taking up a pool with you and other employees contributing) contributed as a team sponsor and/or building sponsor in various cities, that could help the kids who don’t otherwise have the chance get to play and help to solve some of the problems with kids getting involved with gangs and into drugs because they’ve got nothing better to do and no money to do it with.

  62. Reddit just launched a ‘Feed a Need” charity program where people are being asked to donate their time to non-profit organizations.

    Great idea.

    http://www.feedaneed.org/

  63. San Diego Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired http://www.sdcb.org/

    Hopefully one of our 09 donations will be an accessible website.

  64. RG

    The United Nations World Food Programme feeds the hungry across the globe for US$0.25 per meal. The amazing thing is that the cost to feed all of the starving people in the world is only approximately US$1.5 billion per year, yet people are still not getting their basic needs met. I’ve made a donation, and will continue to do so, and I would challenge Matt and others reading this to do the same.

    http://www.wfp.org/how_to_help/Ways_to_Donate/index.asp

  65. A couple of good local schools to donate to:

    http://www.eastside.org – educates under-privileged youth from East Palo Alto.

    http://www.girlsms.org – middle school for girls

    Full disclosure: my wife worked for Eastside and currently works for GMS.

    Both schools have great missions and I feel are making real differences in their communities.

  66. Lori

    Hey Matt and everyone else out there…I’m training for the WDW marathon with Team in Training and I’m raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS). LLS funds research to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. If anyone wants to donate, the link to my page is http://pages.teamintraining.org/sd/wdw09/lshannon. Thanks and Happy Holidays!

  67. It’s been mentioned twice already, but here’s one more vote for Donors Choose: http://www.donorschoose.org

  68. Simon

    At the risk of sounding down on some charities, skip those whose cause is too popular (Children, Cancer etc). Most people display little imagination in their giving.

    Look for charities that help the less popular, or deal with more difficult issues. These are the ones whom it is harder to raise cash for, and these will be more grateful for your donation, and do more with it.

    The charities fighting diseases that are easily prevented are working with the poorest of the poor. Polio is almost gone (thank goodness, and the fight in remaining problem areas reasonably well funded even if they are difficult areas to work in), but there are plenty of similar disorders that haven’t received as much attention from government or big charities.

    Similarly offender, the mentally ill need their share of help, I even donated to a charity for Gifted children, hardly oppressed but not a very popular cause – they were exceeding grateful in the kind of way that makes it clear they have no where near enough cash for the demands on their services.

    I avoid religious charities because I’m a militant atheist.

    I always try to give in the most tax efficient ways, because I trust my judgment over the government’s, I could be wrong on that but I’ll take my chances.

  69. Dave (originial)

    Look for charities that help the less popular, or deal with more difficult issues

    Helping stop children dying and anyone dying from Cancer is less difficult than what exactly?? Than working with “gifted children”?

    Hmm, let think. Give my hard earned money to *Gifted* children, or those living in poverty and dying every Minute of every day. Tough choice (NOT).

    I avoid religious charities because I’m a militant atheistIt shows.

    I always try to give in the most tax efficient ways, because I trust my judgment over the government’s, I could be wrong on that but I’ll take my chances.

    Exactly what chances are YOU taking?

  70. i do not want to sound hatefull, but i would never give a donation to religious organization as i think they should be able to get more than enough money from their “sheeps” – no offence

    as a student of psychology i would recommend donating money to psychological centres. people usually aren’t aware of how mental issues of any kind might be problematic.

    especially workoholism – webmasters, online marketers, programmers and IT people in general tend to suffer from this addiction. why not support groups that try to help these people ?

    but any donation is great in it’s principle.

  71. Nick Wilmot

    I had the opportunity to visit Burundi (Africa) this year with a great organisation called CORD (UK). They specialise in supporting people affected by violent conflict through education and livelihoods. Very little is spend on admin and I saw first-hand the impact of their work in the community. Great work.

    http://www.cord.org.uk/

  72. I tend to agree with Simon’s thoughts. The popular charities have a tendency to overadministrate funds, causing less of the actual money to be distributed to those who need it the most. And there are ways to give creatively to those who do need it.

    Having said that, you might be able to give to people directly in a way that 1) doesn’t involve any administrative overhead and 2) will actually be appreciated by the recipient. You won’t get a tax receipt for it (so if that’s your angle, this isn’t for you, and that was always a flawed angle anyway), but you will get the joy of seeing the gift put to use it.

    http://thehomelessguy.wordpress.com/gift-bags/ <– it’s inexpensive, it’s easy to do, you’re not giving the people money and enabling them as a result, and it actually helps.

  73. Oh yeah, and I also avoid religious charities due to their insistence upon converting those who are vulnerable in exchange for “help” (take a look at the religious demographic of Africa if you don’t believe that)…and also because I’m an atheist.

  74. Dave (originial)

    i do not want to sound hatefull, but i would never give a donation to religious organization as i think they should be able to get more than enough money from their “sheeps” – no offence

    IF you intend “no offence” and “do not want to sound hatefull” why call religious followers “sheeps”???

    I’m NOT religious (Agnotist) but I believe in Church and attendees as they promote Family, Communty spirit and a good way of life.

    Sure, it’s easy to pick-out isolated incedences of Religion gone wrong, but it shows more about the person stooping to that low level than anything else.

    Perhaps all the Atheists should come to realise that THEIR non-beliefs directly and indirectly do FAR more harm in the World that those who believe in a God. I.e NOT donating to a charity based on hear-say and ignorance arrogance.

    There is many well known sayings that those who THINK they know it all should live their lives by.

    1) A Person never stands so tall as when they stoop to help a child.

    2) You don’t know what you don’t know.

    3) The best things in life aren’t things.

  75. I commented last year on Matt’s similar post, so I wasn’t going to chime in this year … but then I noticed Rob C’s shoutout for my efforts for Celiac Disease – darn nice.

    Thanks for the (very) nice words and thanks also for your donation for Celiac Disease – drop me an Email (alek at my domain) so I can thank you personally as I don’t think we have chatted (?)

    Along those lines, my Crazy Controllable Christmas Lights – http://www.komar.org/cgi-bin/christmas_webcam – are one of the Finalists in the Nationwide KFC Holiday Contest. The winner gets a $1,000 (which I’ll donate to charity) plus free KFC for a year – BBUURRPP!!!! ;-)

    Check out the details and consider voting for entry #16 – http://www.komar.org/christmas/kfc/

  76. I support/volunteer for the Non-Profit Food for Everyone Foundation. Our goal is to teach people around the world sustainable organic gardening so they can provide for themselves. We are following the “Teach a man to fish” concept. Thank You for caring enough to ask Matt.
    Peace
    Steve

  77. Dave (originial)

    plus free KFC for a year Better donate your winnings to Heart attack prevention charity if you win :)

  78. Dave (originial)

    Damn quote tags :)

    plus free KFC for a year

    Better donate your winnings to Heart attack prevention charity if you win

  79. So are we OK to donate to a charity to get a big fat juicy keyword rich link to our site? :-)

    I’d probably donate to the Salvation Army. They do great work around the world and their volunteers are incredibly dedicated – especially at Christmas time.

  80. A huge educational robotics program geared towards high-school students, called FIRST. http://www.usfirst.org

    I know it doesn’t seem as major as some of the other mentions here (most of which are pretty darn good), but this would be an investment in the future engineers and leaders. Now this is not only in the US [anymore]. There currently are teams popping up in Brazil, Israel, England, Canada, and a lot more.

    Many of these students go on to college, then to work at large companies, including Google ;). A lot of these students are unsure if they are going to even go into higher learning until they join FIRST. The real kicker? Every year, 100+ scholarship providers get together to raise more than $9-million in college scholarships.

    Invest in the future. Invest in FIRST. :)

    More Impact information: http://usfirst.org/who/content.aspx?id=46

  81. Great to see someone mention microfinance – Just started supporting through Kiva.

    It’s a great way to make a difference.

  82. “Children of the Code” is a non-profit social education project founded by learning theorist, David Boulton:

    http://www.childrenofthecode.org/

    Their 501c3 non-profit status is nearly complete (previously they’ve been self-funded and supported by modest private grants). They have 67 videos on-line and everything is free. If you’re interested in kids, reading, language, or learning in general, check it out.

  83. I’ve developp a website with a friend which we gave to Oxfam-Quebec. The concept is quite simple you can buy a pixel for 5$ CND (which is very low in USD now ;-) You can then add your picture and a message of hope.

    The funds are collected by Oxfam-Quebec, which they use to help project for bringing water and education to childs in needed countries.

    Take a visit : http://www.changethefaceoftheworld.com

    That’s a simple way to change the world, on pixel at a time…

  84. Hey guys,

    I’m currently working for a new organization called Play it Forward. In January 2009 we will launch an interactive social platform where people can easily find projects that suit their ideals, anywhere in the world. On the interactive “PiF” globe you can ‘browse’ the globe or simply filter projects by theme and/or targetgroup. Once you have found a project you like, you get full insight into its strategy, budget and other important information. Maybe most importantly, you will receive automatic video updates from the field workers that realize the project. This way you know exactly where (100%) of your money goes while you might end up making some friends somewhere else in the world in the process. If you want to know more, look up our TEMPORARY website at http://www.playitforward.nl. The definitive site will be launched in January 2009. Hope to see you there, and don’t hesitate to provide us with some feedback! Peace,

    Chris

  85. The Shadow Knows

    My Christmas wish is in the coming year Google is sued for its empire of Adsense content thieves. There is nothing that can be written or communicated anymore that won’t be stolen by Google Adsense thieves. Lets face it the only reason Google succeeded is it encouraged millions of thieves to engage in copyright infringement. No matter how you cut it Google is composed of a bunch of crooks. I think one day there will be a special place in hell for most Google employees.

  86. I personally like http://www.amma.org a lot. They did incredible work after the 2004 Asian Tsunami and have consultative status to the United Nations.

  87. Of course, there are lots of great official 501 3C non-profits worthy of your time, effort and contributions. But there are also personal causes that need our help as well. A friend came to me in hopes of raising money for Ellen, an ALS patient and friend, so we put together a fundraising calendar. The objective is to get one person for every day of the year to sponsor a day for Ellen’s care. If you can find in your heart (and wallet), I urge you to sponsor a day: http://www.calendarforacause.com/ellen/.

    Our hope is that others might be able to use the calendar concept to meet their fundraising objectives too. Let us know if you know of someone with a worthy cause that could use a calendar.

  88. Children Walking tall is a UK/Indian charity helping street and slum children in India. It’s main focus is education, health and giving children a childhood worth remembering…

  89. Lee-Ann

    After watching ‘Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children’ last night, I can think of no people more desperate than the poor in Zimbabwe. I have never seen such a heart rending, harrowing documentary. One of the children is very bright and desperate to go to school, but cannot scrape together 50 cents to pay for one school term. Another child about 6 years old with HIV has to look after her dying mother and baby sister. They go for days without food. The situation there is unbelievably desperate. From a first world country, the life expectancy is now the lowest in the world (32). Details on their website http://zimbabweschildren.org

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