And Now, a Charity Promotion Thread

So, in the last week I’ve posted up two promotional threads for authors and other creative sorts to promote their work, so you can go out and get some great gifts for the holidays. But the holidays are also a fine time to be thinking of others outside of your friends and family as well, and for helping others. Many of you already give generously to charity, and have favorite organizations or causes to which you like to give. Some of you would like to give to charity, but maybe don’t know where to start.

That’s where this thread comes in. Folks, in this thread I invite you to promote your favorite charities to the rest of the readers here, so they can learn about the charity and possibly decide to put it on their own giving list for the year. Again, this site gets up to 45,000 readers a day, most of whom, I suspect, are the giving sort, so it’s a good way to bring a little attention to the things you support in your own life.

Here are the posting rules for this thread:

1. Anyone can post, and if you work or are actively involved with a charity, feel free to promote it as well. However —

2. Please promote only registered, non-profit, tax-deductible charities and organizations, with a focus on those doing charitable, educational or humanitarian work. In the US, the most common charitable organization designation is “501(c)(3)“; quite obviously in other countries the designation will be different. The reason to insist on this is a) to avoid any scams or otherwise shady “charitable” organizations, b) because people like being able to claim tax deductions. If I find an organization being promoted here that isn’t a registered, non-profit, tax-deductible charity or organization, I’m likely to delete the comment promoting it. So, if you’re not sure, check before posting, please.

Also: please no political parties, political action committees, 527 groups or their various cognates in other countries. Let’s keep the focus on groups doing charitable, educational and humanitarian work. Again, generally, in the US, look for charities or organizations with a 501(3)(c) status.

3. One post per person, please. You can promote more than one charity if you like, but it’s probably best to focus on one or at most two charities that are important to you. A laundry list of charities will just encourage people to scroll to the next comment.

4. Related to the above, your description of the charity brief (there will be a lot of posts, I’m guessing) and informative. Imagine the person is in front of you as you tell them about the charity and is interested but easily distracted.

5. You may include a link to the charity if you like by using standard HTML link scripting. Be warned that if you include too many links (typically three or more) your post may get sent to the moderating queue. If this happens, don’t panic: I’ll be going in through the day to release moderated posts. Note that posts will occasionally go into the moderation queue semi-randomly; Don’t panic about that either.

6. The comment thread is only for promoting charities; any other extraneous bits will be snipped out.

And there you have it.

Two final quick things:

One, those of you thinking about the charities you see listed here may benefit also from Charity Navigator or Charity Watch, which evaluate different charities on their effectiveness.

Two, a quick reminder for you all that my own charitable thing for the year, the Clash of the Geeks chapbook, is still out there for your delight and as a fund-raiser for the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America. Downloading the electronic chapbook is free, but there’s a donation link on the site ($5 suggested), and all donations go directly to the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America. If you haven’t checked it out yet, check it out, already!

So: What charities would you like to tell people about today?

129 Comments on “And Now, a Charity Promotion Thread”

  1. And one more reminder: This thread is for posting information about charities only, and helping people learn about them. Any other comments will be snipped out. Thanks.

  2. The Center for Grieving Children. This is a Portland, ME based 501(c)(3) charity whose mission is to help children, teens and family members who have lost someone close to them by providing a safe haven where they can gather with their peers and volunteers to safely express (and begin to learn to cope with) grief and loss. My wife has done extensive volunteer work with this organization, and highly recommends it. They do good work, addressing a need that often goes unmet (whether because adults don’t know how or are uncomfortable with talking about grief and loss with children or because, as adults, it simply never crosses our minds). The holiday season can be especially hard on children and teens who’ve had someone close to them die; now is the perfect time to donate (money, your time if you’re local, etc). I know they would appreciate it. Thanks!

  3. Child’s Play collects toys and games and donates them to 70 partner hospitals. You can choose to purchase requested items from their online retailer wish lists, or make a cash donation. Any items purchased through Amazon will be shipped directly to your hospital of choice and you can choose exactly which items you want to donate.

  4. Anyone in the SF Bay area (or elsewhere) might want to consider donating to Alameda-based M.I.S.S.S.E.Y ( Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth. KQED’s Forum ran a heartbreaking piece on the prevalence of child prostitution in Oakland yesterday and these folks are leading the charge to help the victims.

  5. The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center ( is *awesome*.

    BARCC is the second-oldest rape crisis center in the country, and one of the biggest. We have a 24-hour hotline, 24-hour medical advocate hospital accompaniment, and a whole lot of community outreach and mobilization – BARCC’s not just reactive, we’re proactive, continually working to dismantle rape culture and end sexual violence. We do legislative advocacy (just pushed through a bill allowing people not married to their rapist to get restraining orders!), we do workshops at schools, we get communities talking! We also offer up to 12 free counseling sessions, legal advocacy, and case management.

    And all of it is 100% free and open to people of any race, gender, age, disability status, immigration status, sexual preference, anything.

    We’re busy, we’re constantly innovating, and we’re fighting budget cuts all the time. Support would mean a lot to a lot of people. We’re leaders in the national anti-sexual-violence movement, so a donation to us does benefit the movement in general!

    I work here now, but prior to getting hired, I was a survivor speaker and community-activism volunteer for three years. Yes, I would do this work for free, and I have! BARCC kicks ass!

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  6. Hydrocephalus Association
    870 Market Street, Ste. 705
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Tel. 415-732-7040
    Fax 415-732-7044
    Toll Free 1-888-598-3789

    I was born with hydrocephalus, a neurological condition in which the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which lubricates the brain and spinal cord can get into the “storage spaces” in the brain called ventricles, but, for various reasons, cannot circulate back out. This condition requires one of two types of surgical intervention–ETV (endoscopic third ventriculostomy) or a drainage tube called a shunt. The most common placement for these shunts is left-sided VP (ventriculoperitoneal, which drains into the abdomen), I have a right-sided VA (ventriculo-atrial, which drains into the heart). Hydrocephalus is believed to occur in about 1.5 per 1,000 births. I’ve had multiple shunt surgeries, the first taking place when I was 3 weeks old, the two most recent taking place, a week apart, in July 2004.

  7. Since my best friend was diagnosed with a rare kidney disorder – and has since had a successful kidney transplant! – I avidly support The National Kidney Foundation.

    The NKF provides education and community outreach, support for kidney disease and transplant patients, living donors, and support for the families of kidney patients. They also fund vital research meant to find cures for chronic kidney diseases. One of the studies that they’ve helped fund has figured out which gene is responsible for my friend’s disorder, and they’re now working on figuring out how to turn that gene off!

  8. 1. Durham Literacy Center: — “The mission of the Durham Literacy Center is to empower Durham
    County residents who want to enrich their lives by improving their literacy skills.” Established 1985, they do good work, and have a specific wish list, including if you have refurbished desktops for computer programs:

    2. Speculative Literature Foundation: — “Mission: To promote literary quality in speculative fiction, by encouraging promising new writers, assisting established writers, facilitating the work of quality magazines and small presses in the genre, and developing a greater public appreciation of speculative fiction.” They sponsor travel for writers doing research for their books, and foster a community of small press publishers.

    3. Heifer. Mr Scalzi already mentioned them via Patrick Rothfuss’s WORLDBUILDERS team, but I have my own team page (under Worldbuilders) which would be fun to see who finally clicks over there via:

    “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.”

    There’s no “donor gift” there’s no “pictures of the family and animal” — meaning money (and resources) which would be spent on that stuff goes to work for good.

    4. Lastly, and this might be considered political? Dunno. Is the Human Rights Campaign HRC Foundation: “Through research, educational efforts and outreach, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation encourages lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to live their lives openly and seeks to change the hearts and minds of Americans to the side of equality. The HRC Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.”

  9., is a charity focusing on school children. Teachers post projects, which donors can fund in whole or in part.

    What’s great is that you can fund things dear to your heart- did you do a wonderrful science project in second grade that sent you on to a career in the sciences? Read wonderful stiories that helped you know you were meant to create them? Here’s your chance to fund something similar for the next generation.

  10. Sam M_B’s post compels me to remind folks to really try to keep your listings to one or two charities at most. It’s okay to prioritize, people.

  11. I donate cash to Doctors Without Borders and time to Habitat For Humanity (local Abq). Nice thing about habitat is that you can go out for just a weekend or make it a regular thing. And don’t worry if you have no construction experience. They’re used to getting newbie folks in and are really good about explaining safety practices and the home construction process. I originally signed on because my company sponsors a house each year and are looking for folks.

    Cool thing is, when it came time to buy or purchase a house, we decided to build and I was able to ask the right questions, make the right decisions and keep up on construction.

    Happy Holidays Y’all!

  12. The Warren Center for Communication and Learning in Bangor, Maine. They provide speech therapy, audiology and hearing aid assistance in the region. One of the most interesting programs is the Regional Hearing Aid Bank, which takes donated behind-the-ear hearing aids and refurbishes and reprograms them. It then provides those hearing aids to someone who needs, but cannot afford, one. While they do take donations of old hearing aids, they also need donations to cover the cost of refurbishing the hearing aids they receive.

    The person receiving the aid is asked to make a small donation, but it is not required. (And by small, I mean small – $2 to $25. Hearing aids usually cost anywhere from $400 to thousands of dollars). Full disclosure: I once worked there, and was so impressed by the work being done there that I still, years later, donate to their annual campaign.

  13. I love The Carter Center. (just google it) The Carter Center’s mission is to bring established medical cures to third world countries, rather than the conventional model of trying to cure a new disease (which is fine, too, but doesn’t really help the third world). In many cases, these treatments are shockingly cheap. For example, The Carter Center has been working to eradicate guinea worm disease–all that is needed are inexpensive filters for drinking water. It’s a great feeling to save lives with coffee filters!

  14. WFMU is an independent, nonprofit, listener-supported freeform radio station broadcasting on air in the NYC-northern New Jersey area at 91.1 FM, in the Mount Hope, NY region at 90.1 FM, and streaming live on the net at For over 40 years, WFMU’s volunteer DJs and a small paid staff have been broadcasting an amazing range of music, words, live performances, podcasts, and comedy with no commercials, underwriting, or payola-addled execs dictating playlists. Their adjunct project, the Free Music Archive, curates and offers thousands of tracks with few or no use restrictions for the benefit of those who like their tunes DRM-free.

    Although WFMU runs an on-air fundraising Marathon and a huge Record Fair for the bulk of its operating revenue, it always falls short around this time, and 2010 is no exception. You can make a tax-deductible pledge right here. Thanks!


    UCP of Berkshire County is the charity I work for. Donations are used to buy equipment, put on programming and advocate for anyone with a disability.

    I think out tagline really sums it up: “Life without limits for people with disabilities.”

  16. Some of my favorites have already been mentioned, but here are a couple which haven’t:
    Bread for the City: provides vulnerable residents of Washington, DC, with comprehensive services, including food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

    Pamela Ribon’s own Dewey Donation System, helping underfunded libraries one book or dollar at a time.

    And in that vein, despite the likelihood of ending up in comment moderation purgatory, Provisions Library in DC is a venue for social change that could really use any help you can spare to support its mission of promoting social change via the arts.

    Thanks for considering these charities, and thanks John for letting us pimp our favorite causes.

  17. United States Artists

    United States Artists is a nonprofit group founded in 2005 with the mission to invest in America’s finest artists and illuminate the value of artists to society. This week, the non-profit launched USA Projects, a new micro-philanthropy site that supports the work of award-winning artists in the visual, literary, media and performing arts and provides a platform where people can connect with and support great artists and their next creative breakthroughs.

    From The Next Web:

    “The artists offer full transparency on what is necessary to complete a particular project, post regular updates of their progress and report on their project’s impact in the community and beyond. The platform is similar to Kickstarter in that donors receive small art-related incentives such as photos of the art or small tokens. But it differs greatly from Kickstarter and other funding platforms in its original vetting process. Only artists who’ve won a national award, grant or fellowship are allowed to submit proposals on the site, which they believe creates a more niche peer community.”

  18. I would LOVE more people to take a look at, and join, Soldier’s Angels ( Regardless of your feelings about our involvement in the wars, there are gals and guys deployed in harm’s way who could really use a caring word from home. You can volunteer to send one letter or package, or you can “adopt” a soldier for the term of their deployment. There are also many other subsections of this organization: if you sew, you can donate quilting or sewing skills to their blanket project; if you have unused musical instruments, check into their musical therapy donation program…there are a lot of options to help those who sacrifice their everything in order to defend and protect the US.

    I would also LOVE for those in a charitable mood to consider Penny Lane ( Penny Lane is a group dedicated to the care and education of teenagers who have been severely abused, too much so for standard foster care. They are severely behind in their goals for holiday fundraising to provide these 100+ kids with any kind of Christmas, and they are on a very tight deadline in order to get things set up and distributed in time. They have only a couple more days to reach their goal of $15k. If you can spare even $5, pleaqse please help these kids.

    Thank you for your consideration, and thank you John for the forum.

  19. 1) Any local BIA (Brain Injury Assn.), especially if it’s “officially” associated with BIA-USA or a similar central overseeing organization. We no longer have a local group here, because of lack of funding.

    2) If you don’t have a specific group or “beneficiary” in mind, the United Way is a great option. It splits up and passes along received donations to a large number of smaller deserving groups who don’t get the media-exposure available to UW,

  20. The David L. Bucknam Memorial Scholarship Fund assists undergrad students who are majoring in the environmental sciences, with an eye towards good land stewardship and reclamation. We’re a relatively new (6 years old) and small (six volunteers) organization, but we’ve already awarded six $1,000 scholarships to some great people who are committed to making sure the earth will remain the most desirable planet for human habitation for years to come. We’re slowly growing our fund towards a goal of full endowment, while making sure we can support worthy, wonderful students each year. Thanks!

  21. I am the daughter of a cancer survivor, the granddaughter of a cancer survivor, and the wife of a cancer survivor. I support the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life with my time, talents, and money. I don’t think I need to get into troubling statistics about how cancer has touched or will touch our families – unfortunately, many of you know that firsthand.

    If you are so moved, you can donate on my personal fundraising page
    I will happily mail out gift letters if you would like to make your donation in honor of a friend or family member – just include the information in the “personal note” section (this information is visible only to me, not just any random site visitor).

  22. Best Friends Animal Society does important, inspiring work toward their goal of “no more homeless pets.” In addition to running the U.S.’s largest animal sanctuary, they run education and advocacy campaigns all over the country, and they work with people and shelters all over the world – promoting spaying/neutering, fighting puppy mills, and generally working toward a better world through kindness to animals and people.

    Also and unrelated, the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research is working hard to fund research for and raise awareness about this dreadful disease.

  23. I’ve known of Children of the Night since before its founder, Dr. Lois Lee, completed her doctorate in 1975 – and then almost immediately founded this organization to deal with a very specific condition endemic to Los Angeles/Hollywood – child prostitution.

    There are groups that deal with runaways. There are groups that deal with foster children and adoption. There are groups that deal with human trafficking. There are groups that deal with child abuse. There are programs that deal with substance abuse, rehabilitation and recovery. Groups that deal with rape, sexual abuse and molestation.

    Children of the Night must deal with all these facets, and more – to rescue children left on the streets at the mercy of whoever finds them there, and exploits them.

    They have more beds to shelter kids than any other organization of their type, yet it’s a pittance. They tend to shy away from engaging with some organizations that would dictate the terms of who they can help and how – so they can help any who ask for it, when they ask for it.

    They’ve gotten convention fund raisers from me, I’ve donating my old cars to them – they aren’t picky. They’ll take whatever you have spare. Please help them – they’re the only one of their kind in town. I know, I’ve looked.

  24. I have four charities that I really support, which means this will probably be sent to moderation-land, but I trust Scalzi to liberate it.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters (
    This link is to the Douglas Co, Kansas BBBS sit. I’m a Big Sister for a wonderful almost-11-year-old, and it’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. BBBS is always short on money and Bigs. In my area, they’re especially short on male Bigs.

    Heifer Project (
    Help families in third world countries raise themselves out of poverty by donating an animal.

    charity:water (
    1 in 6 people don’t have access to clean drinking water, which can cause horrible diseases and death. charity:water works to build wells in third world countries so that communities can become healthy and focus their energies on other things, like sending children to school.

    Nothing But Nets (
    $10 sends a mosquito net to Africa, which protects someone from getting malaria.

  25. Women For Women International is an organization devoted to helping women victimized by warfare and fostering social change that will put women in control of their own social and economic decision-making. The arguments for women’s rights being the tide whose rising will raise whole societies out of poverty are compelling, and this is one of the most focused charities I know of that does work along those lines.

  26. I tend to donate locally rather than to national charities. Lots of times the local charities can get overlooked in favor of the big names. So this is perhaps most useful if you are in Northern Virginia like I am. If so:

    Food for Others is a wonderful local food bank and distributor in Fairfax County, and there is also Loudoun Interfaith Relief in Loudoun County. If you’re not in this area, I’m sure your local food banks would appreciate a donation as well.

  27. Most of us here have books all around and take them for granted. But there are a lot of kids growing up in the USA who don’t have books, or whose parents don’t know about the reading resources available to them.

    Reach Out and Read is a program that promotes literacy through pediatricians’ offices by giving new books to children at well-child visits, advising their parents on the importance of reading to children, and modeling reading aloud to the parents and children. It focuses on clinics and practices in low income or non-English majority neighborhoods. They need money, donations of gently used children’s books, and volunteers for activities ranging from reading to children to advocating for literacy at the state and national legislative levels. At their website you can participate at the national level or find a program or clinic near you that needs your help.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share this, John.

  28. Climb for Kids : Climb For Kids is a non-profit organization that was established in late 2007 whose primary goal is to raise money for fetal syndrome support organizations. We are following a special avenue in fund raising where the mission is to have fun, challenge yourself, and raise awareness for syndromes that are effecting more and more kids each year. Twice as many babies die from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) and other fetal syndromes than from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) each year; yet more people are aware of SIDS.

    The philosophy of Climb For Kids is to support other organizations which:

    Raise awareness of fetal syndromes such as TTTS
    Raise money for fetal syndrome research
    Help other parents who cannot afford treatment
    Build a community of people and parents who want to help

    This is my brother’s nonprofit; his daughter (my niece) Emma died as a result of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) and he is raising money for organizations to raise awareness of fetal syndromes and help support families. You don’t have to climb a mountain; donations are very much welcome!

    Here’s a video, too.

  29. I like to keep things simple so my favorite charity is…. Charity:water. They’re working to bring clean, safe drinking water to the 1 billion people on the planet who lack it. And they document their progress with video, blog, photos, etc. Also – they encourage people to give up birthdays and ask for donations instead, they’ve even created an easy-to-set-up fundraising page for you:

    Having just visited Best Friends Animal Sanctuary on my vacation, I can also heartily endorse them as awesome: .

  30. Foundation Beyond Belief ( is a group that researches and chooses 10 different secular charities each quarter, one for each set group (poverty, child welfare, animal protection, human rights, etc). You set up a monthly reoccurring payment and allocate percentages based on what charities you’d like to support. It’s simple and rewarding. I really enjoy learning about all of the new charities and figuring out where I think my money is best spent. There are a ton of groups out there doing good work that could use the publicity boost that FBB gives them.

  31. If you are reading this in British Columbia, I’d suggest Cops for Cancer, ( a charity that largely raises money through epic bike rides, four of them in different areas of the province. The money goes to the Canadian Cancer Society, but in particular it helps children with cancer. The teams of riders have “junior team members” who are children either in treatment for, or in remission from cancer. Much of the cash they raise every year funds Camp Goodtimes, the only summer camp in B.C. for kids with cancer. It’s the only camp where you’ll find a team of oncologists and oncology nurses who have volunteered their time to run a full clinic all summer long, so that even kids in treatment can attend for a week. I’ve visited Camp Goodtimes, and it’s actually hard to even write about without tearing up.

    Camp Goodtimes is free to every participant. If a kid in Yukon Territory wants to attend and their parents can’t afford travel to southern B.C., that’s paid for, from the plane tickets to the cab up to the gates of the camp. It costs nothing, zero, to families. And it also gets no government funding. It survives by donations from the public and sponsorship. So please donate.

  32. I support The Girl Effect, which focuses on girls in need all over the world. Assisting girls age 10-18 dramatically improves their lives – and also results in significant benefits for society as a whole. It is actually an umbrella organization that covers a wide variety of projects that meet its criteria. You can either give a sum to be distributed as they feel fit, or pick the specific projects that you feel most strongly about.

    The Girl Effect:

    Here’s where to donate: They have gift cards too, perfect for holiday giving!

  33. I have been supporting the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America for the past 11 years, since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease after the birth of my son Nick. Crohns (named for the Dr who discovered it, Burrill Crohn) is an intestinal disease that wreaks havoc on your metabolism and your body to various degrees, and it tends to run in families (my mother has it, my brother has it).

    I also feel strongly about RAINN, which is an organization that helps women and children who have been the victims of rape and incest. I only wish I had known about them when it happened to me.

  34. In addition to supporting my national religious denomination’s disaster relief organization and Child’s Play (mentioned above in #31 but no link provided), I donate time and money to my local food bank.

    My local food bank, the Oregon Food Bank, will always gladly and graciously accept nonperishable food donations. However, through bulk purchases to supplement the food donations, every dollar donated to food programs can be turned into 7 pounds of food. $10 is enough to fill an emergency food box that will feed a family for between three to five days (depending on the size of the family). Volunteering at your local food bank frees dollars that would be spent on staff, and therefore increases the amount of service that can be provided.

    To find your local food bank in the US, check out Feeding America.

  35. 1. Kiva. Do you, my fellow rich first-worlders, have any idea how vast a sum $25 USD can be? It can be a tidy sum indeed. In parts of the world, it could be enough to, say, provide startup capital for someone trying to start a business–and that means that someone can earn enough money to feed their families AND send the kids to school. International aid is all well and good, but has a tendency to get skimmed. Microfinance goes straight to the people who need it.
    2. ShelterBox. Such a simple, practical, unsexy idea: tents dispatched to places that have been hit by disaster.

  36. Amani Children’s Home is dedicated to the protection of Tanzania’s most vulnerable population: street children and AIDS orphans. It is estimated that there are 2.5 million orphaned children in Tanzania.

    Since its founding by Tanzanians in 2001, Amani has rescued hundreds of children from the perils of life on the streets, where they face a high risk of HIV transmission, malnutrition, and abuse.

    Amani, which means “peace” in Swahili, provides healthy food, education, counseling and medical care for every child who turns to us for help.

  37. Sanctuary for Kids

    A charity founded by Jill Bodie, her partner Damian Kindler and Amanda Tapping, based in Vancouver, BC.

    From their Facebook

    Sanctuary for Kids (S4K) is a not for profit organization that serves to provide sanctuary for children who do not live with the right of safety in their lives. The mission of Sanctuary for Kids is to improve the lives of children around the world who need protection and are in crisis – those who are exploited, dispossessed and threatened.

    I am not in anyway associated with the charity or its founders.

  38. Toys for Tots is a well-known toy collection charity, originally founded and still supported by members of the US Marine Corps Reserve, an organization I am proud to have been a member of. The Toys for Tots Foundation, perhaps less well known, is the support organization for Toys for Tots, especially useful these days as Marines from the Reserves have been as heavily deployed as any other Guard or Reserve units. They are 501(c)(3) and take financial donations, as well as the season toy collection, in order to continue to support this charitable drive year round.

    I’ve had the privilege of working in collection and distribution when I was still in uniform, and as such is a charity very close to my heart.

  39. The Center for Adaptive Riding provides unique therapy opportunities bringing together students with special needs and specially-trained horses and volunteers.

    Center for Adaptive Riding homepage

    Please read, find out more about how adaptive riding (or equine-assisted therapy, it’s sometimes called) benefits the students in so many ways, and then if you’re so inclined, please offer a gift.

    While I’ve got close ties to the CAR (my daughter’s a student, and my wife’s a volunteer) … if you’d be happier donating to a facility closer to home, follow the NARHA links on the center homepage and donate to the operation of your choice. I’m sure any of them would welcome your support.

    Thanks and happy holidays!

  40. Local to me:

    Greater Chicago Food Depository.

    The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. The Food Depository distributes donated and purchased food through a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to 678,000 adults and children in Cook County every year. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 66 million pounds of nonperishable food and fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 135,000 meals every day.

    Global to me:

    Doctors Without Borders

  41. BRYCC(Building Resources Yielding Cultural Change) in Louisville, Ky is dedicated to to providing a safe, oppression-free thought space to people of all ages and persuasions, where they may gain the knowledge and collective engagement to be self-reliant and to live in a sustainable way. They host a variety of collectives dedicated to local art, live music, bicycling and bicycle repair, and radio as well as a well stocked lending library and free clothes closet.

    92.7 WXBH-LP is the radio station owned by the BRYCC and we are dedicated to returning the airwaves to the community. We educate and empower the community to bring its own home-grown programming as well as carrying some national alternative media programs.

  42. Learning Unlimited is leading a movement of college students teaching high school students about everything and anything. We help college students to set up on-campus programs where middle and high school students come to learn about black holes, Shakespeare, African dance, or even writing SF. They get to meet like-minded kids who love learning, and the college students get exposure to teaching and leadership. Our core idea is that every student needs the chance to find their passion, to realize how much more is out there than they might realize, and that new passion will carry them on to really succeed.

  43. If I may, I would like to post a general charity idea–donating to your local animal shelter. I myself am involved in the animal shelter nearest to my home (Hibbing Animal Shelter and Humane Society, Hibbing, MN). Many animal shelters primarily operate on funds donated by the general public. These funds are used to provide basic needs–such as food, medical treatment, cleaning/laundry supplies, bowls, litter boxes, etc. Typically treats, toys and other extras don’t make the budget–not because they don’t wish to provide them, but because they can’t logically prioritize them over medicine and food. So, when I say “donation” I don’t necessarily mean “give money” (although that is always welcome and needed, of course). It can be as simple as delivering some toys and treats, or even donating the time to walk a dog or pet a cat. After being involved with both animal shelters local to my area, I can honestly say these types of facilities are grateful for whatever you may choose to offer. And it feels wonderful to make a cat purr, or a dog happily wag its tail as they await a new home. Yes, I have four furry kids–three of them were strays/shelter adoptees. So, this “shameless plug” is in honor of them, and the joy they have brought to my life. Thank you for reading.

    May every one have a wonderful holiday season, blessed with love and happiness!

  44. I give to lots of different charities, and I spend a lot of time cooking for a shelter in DC; a lot of organizations I support have been pipmed already. But I thought I’d mention one of my favorites, Ashoka. Basically, they’re providing the seed human capital for social change in many third-world countries.

  45. I favor The Trevor Project, an international suicide prevention & crisis line for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Their mission statement: The Trevor Project is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone.

  46. Soldiers Angels

    Though the name implies this organization is dedicated to helping members of the Army, it really applies to all members of the Armed Forces (yes even the Coast Guard).

    So the basic idea is you sign up to support an individual soldier, sailor, airman, marine or coastie and you get the name and address of a member of the Armed Forces who is (usually) in a combat zone. Then you write to your guy or gal and send them care packages and what-not so that they receive something once in a while during mail-call. Generally the member you support has been recommended by a chaplain or a leader as being someone who does not have support from home.

    And especially now, during this season, that can be a lonely thing indeed.

    Soldiers Angels has other projects they work on as well. Check the web-site.

    But the core concern of this organization is to match members of the armed forces who don’t have a support network at home with someone who gives a shit.

  47. City Harvest rescues excess food from restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms, and then delivers that food to more than 600 community food programs throughout New York City. What a great idea! And a great program, too—they are rated 4 stars by Charity Navigator.

    Speaking of which, Charity Navigator is an excellent resource to find out more about your favorite charities before you donate – they evaluate, among other things, how much of the charity’s income actually goes to providing the relevant program versus how much goes to administrative expenses. And Charity Navigator is itself a charity to which you can donate (although they don’t rate themselves).

    City Harvest
    Charity Navigator .

  48. I am a big fan of First Book:
    This is a national organization that works to put NEW books in the hands of kids. Many, many kids have NO books at home, and often not in their preschool or aftershool program– and research shows that access to books leads to an interest in reading. Statistically, kids who read stay in school, don’t commit crimes and are generally more awesome than those who don’t.
    It costs about $2 to get a new book into a kid’s hands– and they’ve distributed 70 million books in the US and Canada since they started 20 years ago.
    They’ve got an awesome matching grant right how, so your donation goes farther.
    Also, if you are hooked up to a Title One school in your area– tell them about First Book, because they are eligible to purchase new, low cost books for their school.

    Thanks for the thread, John!

  49. The LAM Foundation funds and supports research efforts to find a cure for LAM, a degnerative lung disease. In older women, like my mom, it reduces breathing ability. It’s often more agressive in younger women, leading to lung collapses, the need for transplant and often death.

    You can find out more here:

  50. For a SciFi blog, we get into some pretty heavy legal stuff – debates over gay marriage, campaign finance, free speech, copyrights, criminal justice – and injustice – all that. So let me plug an organization that teaches poor kids in America about their rights under the Constitution.

    In the fall of 1999, Professor Jamin Raskin of American University Washington College of Law launched the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project named in honor of the late United States Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and William J. Brennan, Jr. This project, founded with the enthusiastic support of Mrs. Cissy Marshall and the late Mrs. Mary Brennan, was designed to mobilize talented second- and third-year law students to teach courses on constitutional law and juvenile justice in public high schools in the District of Columbia and Maryland. [This includes some of the poorest and most under-resourced schools in the country. – Ed.]The national program is headquartered at the Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., and the program has expanded to licensed chapters in law schools across the country. [12 at last count, with an affiliated chapter in Cape Town, South Africa, which teaches kids about South African law. – Ed.]

    This movement for constitutional literacy is rooted in the belief that students will profit for a lifetime from learning the system of rights and responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution. Many citizens do not participate and feel disengaged from politics. The Marshall-Brennan Fellows work with teachers, administrators and lawyers to teach students their rights as citizens, the strategic benefits of voting, how lawmaking occurs and other fundamental constitutional processes.


    Information and Donation Page here (including an option to get some really, really good brownies with a donation if your sweet tooth is so inclined). I know the program staff and have volunteered as a judge at their competitions. The kids involved love this program, I’ve meet more than a few who’ve gone on to college (and yes, even law school), because of it, and done exceptionally well.

  51. Hey all,

    Some really charities have been suggested on here. I just wanted to link to a few that do some great work globally and not just locally.

    Partners in Health
    They are a great organization which focuses on the health of marginalized groups around the world. Have done amazing work with HIV/AIDS patients in many areas and done amazing work helping Haiti before and after the earthquake.

    OXFAM International
    Another great org who helps to impact the lives of marginalized poor people throughout the globe. I like them because I think they try to work with the communities they are helping, not just tell them what to do. They are doing alot of work in the current Cholera epidemic also.

    On another note, I recently started a blog called Change You Can Afford, in which I higlight different charities and remind people that we can all afford to help change our world. Feel free to come and suggest charities to me as well. I would love the suggestions for charities to donate to and highlight. :-)

  52. Any heating assistance program… one example:, but there are many others.

    These help people keep heat and lights on in the winter. With the economy stumbling along, there’s growing need, and it’s looking like a cold cold winter this year.

  53. As many people have lost their homes in the economic crisis, they’ve had to give up beloved pets. There are never enough no-kill shelters and never enough money for the ones that do exist. The Cat House on the Kings is a no-kill, no-cage cat sanctary in Parlier, CA with about 700 cats in residence (with the odd cat-friendly puppy here and there). Check out the photos and the story of how the haven was founded:

  54. This past week on Facebook a lot of people changed their profile pics to cartoon characters to raise awareness of child abuse. Well, awareness is nice and all, but direct help makes a far bigger difference than “awareness”.

    So please donate even a little to the National Child Abuse Hotline, or if you can even volunteer better yet (links for both are right on the homepage). Cartoon characters and awareness may make US feel better, but supporting these characters actually helps those in need.

  55. I’m going to put a plug in for an environmental charity – The Nature Conservancy (found at They work with a lot of other organizations to provide environmental protection and rebuild degraded habitats. One thing I really like about this organization, versus many of the others, is they work at the local level. So, when you donate, they use your funds to provide protection in your state (or country, if you live outside of the U.S.), instead of sending it out who knows where.

  56. The Surfrider Foundation is a volunteer grassroots organization that protects oceans, waves, and beaches. It’s a chapter-based organization, with chapters located in nearly every coastal state as well as several inland, so if money is tight this year it’s an excellent way to volunteer your time and make a difference. Chapters work on issues related to water quality, beach access, and preservation, including cleanups and other service activities as well as education and advocacy campaigns.

  57. Feeding America is the charity I work for. We are a national charity that assists local Food Banks by raising funds for them, coordinating distribution of food at a national level from donors such as Kraft, assisting with infrastructure and cost savings programs, and national-level government advocacy. We work with some of the ones mentioned above and about 200 others around the country.

    If you want to instead give to a local Food Bank near you, there is a “Find a Food Bank” link at the top of the site. Many Food Bank sites (especially those whose sites we built and provided for them) will have a locator map that will even tell you Agencies in your neighborhood you can donate to, if you want to get that local.

  58. Arts organizations provide nourishment for the soul. As such, please allow me to recommend the National Master Chorale, a newly-formed semiprofessional chorus in the Washington DC area. We have performed two sets of concerts so far, each to great acclaim by audiences and Washington Post reviewers alike. With our medium-sized, half-professional, half-volunteer chorus, we explore beautiful realms of 19th, 20th, and 21st century music full of delicious emotion, subtlety, and nuance. Dedication to this level of artistic performance is worthy of your generous donation. Our next concert is the 20th of March 2011 at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. Come hear us and contribute to our success!

  59. I work for a local chapter of The Arc, an organization that provides direct support and services to the intellectually and developmentaly disabled throughout their lives. There are 732 chapters in the United States. To give you an idea of what we do, the chapter I work for runs schools, group homes and vocational programs as well as organizes advocacy groups to make sure their voices are heard in the community.

  60. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Located in Pennsylvania and dedicated to wildlife conservation, particularly raptors and vultures

    An absolutely gorgeous place to visit, go hiking and see migrating birds of prey in the fall

  61. Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital Uganda, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) that has built the first dedicated children’s hospital ever in Uganda. Its mission is to bring better health through better medical care and prevention to all the children of Mbarara, Uganda. In Uganda, 1 child in 7 dies before age 5 from malaria, dysentery, respiratory infections and other treatable diseases. Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital opened a 60-bed hospital with out-patient facility in July 2009; since then they’ve treated over 5,000 inpatient children and 20,000 outpatient children. They’ve been able to save countless lives, with the support of Rotary, Kiwanis, MedShare, MAP Int’l, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, Children’s Hospital Oakland, AmeriCares, and many other organizations and individuals. Please visit the website,, to see the impact that the hospital is having on the beautiful children of Uganda. And please help if you can. Thank you!

  62. I volunteer as a member of the Board of Directors of the Wichita Community Theatre, an all-volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit community theater in Wichita, KS.

    We produce eight shows per year, and are currently in the middle of our 65th anniversary season. We have a long and varied history in the city, and have provided our region with high-quality live entertainment at affordable prices for decades. We pride ourselves on providing a creative outlet for people of all backgrounds.

    We are currently working on bringing our rather historic building to ADA-compliant standards, which will allow us to serve our patrons better, as well as open the doors to additional grants.

    Our long term goals include a return to the golden age of live, local theater, when audiences to shows numbered in the thousands.

  63. WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, is the U.S.’s only national org dedicated specifically to *women’s* heart health via advocacy, awareness, and education. Nationwide, there are more than 70 in-person support groups that meet monthly to educate women on their heart heath, support ones who have heart disease, and advocate for equal access to care and treatment, regardless or gender or race. For every woman who dies from breast cancer in the U.S., six will die from heart disease.

    Falling Whistles works to rehabilitate child soldiers and other children of war in the Congo. The group gets its name from the youngest kids who are sent to the front lines armed not with guns but with whistles–their job is to blow the whistle when they see the enemy, and then act as human armor absorbing the first salvos of bullets.

  64. UMCOR ( In short, their mission is to alleviate human suffering and deliver aid without regard to race, religion, politics, or gender. And 100% of your gift supports the intended need. UMCOR does not use any of your designated gifts for administrative or home office costs.

  65. Wow, what a great and generous thing to do.

    I volunteer for the Preston Branch of Cats Protection in Lancashire, England. We’re one of 250 or so volunteer run branches of a UK wide organisation, Cats Protection, that works to get cats neutered, rescue and rehome unwanted cats, and educate the public about responsible cat ownership. The Reg. charity no. is 203644 in England and Wales, and SCO37711 in Scotland.

    We usually have 20 – 25 cats / kittens in care at any one time, and rehome about 150 cats every year. We have many ways of fundraising, and sell on eBay as prestoncatsprotection and cppreston. You can follow us on Twitter as prestoncp. There is more information about the cats in care, and our fundraising events, at

  66. After everyone’s helped to save the world, help some starving artists with the Bridge Records ‘Great Performances and More’ project. Devoted to historical recordings and to recordings of modern composers and virtuosi. ‘Great Performances and More’ began with releases in collaboration with the Library of Congress issued on CD, and has continued with performances issued on CD and DVD.

    Basically it’s very difficult for new classical/art music to be recorded these days, since the costs of recording have remained very high, while sales have dropped drastically. Supporting the project through would be great, if you can spare a few bucks. If you help, indicate that the donation is for “Great Performances and More” in the comments box.


  67. Home for Life, provides an environment for abused, sick, and injured animals to live out the remainder of their lives in peace, with an emphasis on ensuring their happiness and well-being. I can’t read any of the stories on the site without being moved to tears. The people that run the charity are heroes, as far as I’m concerned, and my wife and I will continue to sponsor a cat annually.

    These are cats and dogs that because of the medical and behavioral needs cannot be re-homed. Some never had homes. All of them need your help.

  68. My charity of choice is Ethiopia Reads which has established libraries, both physical and donkey-powered, in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has few children’s books available and the concept of free public libraries is still rather foreign. It was started by Jane Kurtz, noted children’s author (who grew up in Ethiopia) and a former San Francisco Public Library librarian, Yohannes Gebregeorgis

  69. Shine A Light ( is one of the most effective small organizations working with disenfranchised youth, street kids and former child solderies in Latin America. They are a very small organization and essentially all money from donations goes directly to their programs. Check out their innovative work with multi-media, documentary film, and information sharing between other organizations on their website. A great organization that badly needs the support.

  70. Before starting school, blind and partially sited infants and toddlers need a lot of extra help to learn things that sighted kids will pick up from watching the world around them – and their parents need support to give their kids that extra help. My mother founded an educational nonprofit to help these kids in Kentucky, where I grew up. She recently retired, but the nonprofit is going strong.

    They’re trying to build a preschool in Lexington, KY right now; they already have one in Louisville that’s helping lots of kids. Check the site at or give it a Pepsi refresh vote here:

  71. Two more animal programs for the list:

    The Denver Dumb Friends League, the oldest private animal shelter in the Rocky Mountain Region and recently celebrated their centennial anniversary, pride themselves on their main focus: speaking for those among us who truly have no voice. They are an open-admission and no-kill shelter who will place over 25,000 pets of all species into loving homes each year. Two of my cats are from there, and I wholeheartedly endorse their system.

    Coastal Pet Rescue, serving Savannah, GA and the Lowcountry of South Carolina, is one of the newest organizations in this field. Formally started in 2003, they provide pet rescue to homeless pets through local county animal shelters, placement assistance for owners needing to rehome their pets, and a feral cat trap-neuter-return program, among many other services. They are working on building a permanent facility, and can use all the help they can get.

  72. I volunteer with Katie’s Place Animal Shelter, a last-chance cat shelter here in the ‘burbs of Vancouver, BC.
    We lost our government grant this year, so are trying hard to do even more fundraising than we ordinarily would. The shelter is 100% volunteer, so almost every penny of every dollar goes towards caring for the cats.

  73. No links or names, just my philosophy: Give to local groups that you believe make a real difference. I give to a free clinic, a fuel assistance fund, and a food bank that serve people in my area. In general, these are locally run and have little overhead when it comes to fund-raising, so you know that most of your money will go to the people who need help.

  74. * RAINN was described, and well, by DeAnn in comment #38, but I wanted to include a link to the group’s website.

    * TROSA is “a comprehensive, long-term, residential substance abuse recovery program located in Durham, North Carolina” that I donate to.

  75. Thank you Scalzi.

    My first charity of choice is Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.

    Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is fatal, genetic disease. Completely heartbreaking in the way is kills and, not suprisingly, devastates the families of its victims. Currently there is no cure. And it is too common–it effects approximately 1 in ever 3,500 live male births worldwide. Founded in 1994 by partents of young men with Duchenne, this organization has a pretty simple (and in my view correct) goal: cure Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

  76. Books for Teens is a brand new initiative from the Young Adult Library Services Association whose goal is to raise money to buy books for libraries with at-risk populations of teens. We did some research and discovered that out of all the philanthropic dollars out there, teens are at the bottom of the list for direct funding. Thanks for considering ~ Jodyth the Librarian

  77. Smile Train:

    This one because my cousin recently lost his infant son, who had a cleft palate. It helps children in third world countries who have cleft palates, greatly improving their quality of life.

    Right to Play:

    My boys are both very active in soccer at a very high level, but they’re lucky enough to live in a country where kids can still be kids. Right to Play helps kids learn to be kids again in countries ravaged by war, famine, disease, and poverty.

  78. I would recommend the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. From the web site:
    The Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.
    A very worthwhile endeavor and one that has a close place in my heart.

  79. Having recently had surgery to correct scoliosis (which went really well, 43* down to 12.5*), I’d like to promote for the work they do to support families and patients.

    Wearing a brace at 13 was a hard task, and I’m pretty sure I’d have been more compliant and less likely to end up having surgery if I’d known of their support at the time. As it is, post-operatively, it’s been nice to feel much less alone and more normal

  80. Pin-Ups for Vets sells calendars with forties style pin-up photos to raise money for VA hospitals and rehab centers for wounded. They will also be visiting Landstuhl Medical Center along with the the group mentioned in Michael Z. Williamson’s post @#2.

  81. The Longship Company (–Donations Page is is a 501(c)(3) organization that owns and sails two Viking longships. They educate all sorts of people about Vikings, lapstrake built ships, and sailing techniques. They’re based in Southern Maryland near Solomon’s Island.

    If you’re not interested in donating, they also do voyages twice a month starting in the spring. You’re welcome to come on any voyage and they’re all free! Just bring two litres of water per person, lunch, sunscreen, gloves and a hat. You don’t even have to dress as a Viking!

    Others have mentioned the Heifer Project, another of my favorite charities, so here I’ll just mention FooodShare ( This one is in Connecticut but there are many similar organizations that buy bulk food and distribute it to food banks around a state. Any will do.

    The company I work for matches donations for these charities. See if your company does, too!

  82. I work for the Christian website We personally answer over a hundred emails a day on spirituality and religion using the Bible as our basis. Some stats:
    – In just the first eleven months of 2010, over 45,703 questions have been submitted to us and answered directly and personally via email from our staff of volunteer writers.
    – In just the first eleven months of 2010, there have been over 22,327,276 total visitors to
    – We currently have over 2,375 webpages in English and over 12,300 webpages translated into 136 different languages.

    We’re looking to expand our cell phone apps and add a site just for teenagers. Check us out!

  83. Not being wealthy, I have always been extremely irritated to give money to a charity and then be inundated by requests from that same charity to give more, using up all the money I gave by sending me junk, so my favorite charity is Network for Good which allows me to give tax deductible gifts to those same charities anonymously. They monitor the status of the many charities, do research, post financial statements, and retain the right to send the money to a similar charity if the one selected ceases to be eligible. They charge a small processing fee and provide statement to be submitted with taxes. I can’t remember my html; url is .

  84. I want to support Holly-Rodd Foundation. It’s a foundation for children with autism and founded by Holly Robinson Peete and her husband Rodd Peete. I think it’s a good advocacy because our children needs love and care, despite their disabilities.

  85. The Elf Louise Christmas Project is a 501(C)(3) in San Antonio is staffed completely​ by volunteers​. The project is dedicated to Santa deliveries of toys to San Antonio & Bexar County’s less fortunate children.

    The project began over 30 years again when founder Louise Locker & a friend collected gifts for children in 13 families. In 2008, more than 4,500 Elf Louise volunteers​ wrapped and delivered presents to 19,000 children in 5,800 families! The Elf Louise Christmas Project appreciate​s the donation of any new, unwrapped toy or contributions to off-set the purchase of toys. 98 cents of every dollar donated goes to the purchase of toys.

    Thank you!


    “CorgiAid is a nonprofit organization founded to provide financial assistance to corgis and corgi mixes. We help out those who rescue dogs from shelters or other non-permanent homes, then foster them until a new home is found. Medical and other expenses for these dogs can become high; CorgiAid gathers donations from those who want to help, and, within our funding guidelines, and gets funds to those rescuers who apply for help.”

  87. My personal sentimental favorite is the seva foundation.
    When smallpox was eradicated (one of the 20th Century’s greatest accomplishments), some of the veterans of that campaign looked around for something to do next and decided on preventable blindness. Preventable blindness is most prevalent at extreme altitudes like Nepal, where there’s much more ultraviolet, and giving someone back their sight not only allows them to be productive in society again, it frees up their caretaker too.
    “Seva” is the Sanskrit word for “service”, and the seva foundation serves.
    While seva will happily take contributions of money, they are service-oriented

  88. Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) trains dogs to help children and adults with disabilities. They have high standards for training and produce helpful, happy dogs. Recipients go to a two-week intensive course to learn to be a responsible dog handler and how to continue training the dog to help with their specific needs. All of this, the training, the dog, and the yearly graduate seminars, is free.

    CCI has five training centers around the country. They also have program to match dogs with wounded veterans, “One Team, Two Heros”.

  89. Adopt a Family: Every community has adopt a family programs that you can get involved with. This charity allows you to either donate blindly or really get involved with a family that is less fortunate in your own community. Our small bible study adopted a family one year. We got to know the mom and her two little boys as we talked with them and found out some of their needs. Their needs reached us all very deeply so instead of just the toys we showed up with decorations for the house including a tree, all the fixings for Christmas dinner, toys for the kids and some nice things for mom. We helped decorate, put up the tree and sang Christmas carols. Tragically two months later the mom was murdered. This is my favorite charity because those little things gave two little boys one last amazing Christmas with their mom. With charity we can’t fix all of the ills in the world nor stop tragedy from happening, but we can make little differences and sometimes that makes all the difference.

  90. I’ll second Beta’s suggestion at #59 of Partners in Health. It’s the organization described by Tracy Kidder is his book Strength In What Remains.

    Granny J at #94 – she’s right: Network for Good is a really helpful way to manage your donation choices. .

    And always, your local food bank

  91. I’ll put in additional votes for Heifer International ( and Kiva ( Heifer is a charity whose goal is to end world hunger through self-reliance and sustainability (through the gift of ANIMALS! :D) ; Kiva provides microloans to individuals to help alleviate poverty (the gift that keeps giving). My favorite two charities :)

  92. I’ll add a vote of support for Heifer, for whom I’ve bought many a critter ever since my mother decided she’d rather have birthday gifts in the form of assisted families than in the form of more crap to clutter up her house.

    On a more general note, however, let me suggest a donation to the general fund of your local college or community college–even if you’re not an alumnus. If you went to a major university like Harvard or Stanford, you may feel you should donate to them out of loyalty, but they don’t really need that extra donation nearly as much as the smaller colleges across the country–the ones that are really feeling the pinch in this economy. If you can help Piedmont Valley Community College or Elizabeth City State University, you can make a real difference for the students there.

  93. My charity of choice is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society ( I lost my daughter to a rare form of leukemia when she was just a baby and for the last year my sister has been fighting against lymphoma (in remission now thank God). These people do great work and they’re making progress in the fight against blood borne cancers.

  94. Thanks for the opportunity John. I work for Nurse-FamilyPartnership, and we’re probably one of the biggest nonprofits you’ve never heard of. Our mission is to provide service to communities in implementing a cost-effective, evidence-based nurse home visiting program to improve pregnancy outcomes, child health and development, and self sufficiency for eligible, first-time parents – benefiting multiple generations. Currently we’re in 32 states and serve over 21,000 families. Please check out our website if you’d like to learn more!

  95. I am a member of two very worthy 501(c)(3) organizations, Northern Virginia Sheltie Rescue ( and Northern Chesapeake Sheltie Rescue ( Both organizations rescue abandoned, stray, abused and neglected Shetland Sheepdogs ( ) and find them loving, forever homes with caring families. Both organizations are approved for Combined Federal Campaign ( payroll deduction for Federal employees to donate. Donations are tax deductible.

    All dogs are vetted, neutered and temperament-tested by our foster family volunteers before adoption. All dogs are kept in our member’s homs, as we have no shelter buildings. There are no paid staff – all are volunteers that give their time and open their homes because they love the breed. We can tell you much about the dog’s personality, because we hold them for a minimum of two weeks before putting them up for adoption. Pre-adoption home visits and contracts are mandatory for all adoptors. “It’s all about the dog.” The only thing worse than having to rescue a dog is to have to rescue it again.

    Shetland Sheepdogs are highly intelligent (rated #6 out of all breeds for intelligence), loyal, agile family dogs. They are easily trained and love to make their people happy. They also tend to be very…um…vocal and shed heavily twice a year. They generally get along with children, as well as cats, other dogs and most other animals.

    Please consider donating evena few dollars. Veterinary care is expensive and, like all shelters and rescues, we are under a lot of financial strain to care for all the dogs we are getting due to the economy.

    Thank you and may you come to lead a “Sheltied” llfe!

  96. Equality Michigan, which was founded as the Triangle Foundation in 1991, is (among other things) a victim-advocacy organization for victims of anti-LGBT hate crimes. These are the people who hold hate-crime victims’ hands in the hospital and sit with them in courtrooms when they have to go to testify against the perpetrators. Equality Michigan also works to educate the broader public about LGBT issues; everything from sensitivity training for local police departments to helping local companies work on their corporate culture to make it more welcoming.

    The organization also does political advocacy work through a 501(c)4 and a PAC, but the main, 501(c)3 organization has helped save lives. Equality Michigan is undergoing some huge reorganization right now, but I personally know the new Executive Director, Denise Brogan-Kator, and I know she is going to lead Equality Michigan strongly and well.

    The main site is: Just click on the “donate” link at the top of the page (Sorry, I don’t want to risk something so important to me on my scattered HTML skills.)

  97. Reading to Kids has been running monthly reading camps at central Los Angeles elementary schools since May 1999; I have been a member of the group since June 2000. We currently work with 7 LAUSD schools; each month, an average of 440 volunteers read to an average of 1000 kids in grade K-5. We work on English language skills (our schools are in Hispanic neighborhoods; many of the students are first-generation immigrants), literacy, and social skills. And we show the kids that reading is fun! Every book read at the monthly camps gets donated to the school libraries; every student is given a book to take home every month; we have an adjunct program to work with parents on encouraging reading. Since 1999, Reading to Kids has given more than 90,196 prize books to children who attend the reading clubs, donated more than 16,142 hardcover books to school libraries, and our volunteers have spent over 103,569 hours reading to kids. Donations may be made here.

  98. My favourite Charity is Project Tembo run by some friends of mine who visited a child they sponsored in Tanzania several years ago and ended up starting a charity that has grown to help hundreds of women and girls in Tanzania.

    TEMBO is the Tanzania Education and Micro-Business Opportunity. In Canada, Project TEMBO and its volunteers raise awareness and raise funds, and in Tanzania, TEMBO Trust carries out programming. Educating and empowering girls and women is our focus and our project work is described in these pages.

    In Canada it is a tax deductable charity

  99. On behalf of one of my dearest friends, I’ll post this here. St. Margaret’s Center in Albany, NY, is a residential care facility for people of all ages with complex medical needs. My friend is a volunteer and fundraiser for the facility, and she told me that they are in desperate need of donations, particularly of clothing. Every resident is provided with clothing, but the items are handed down from one generation to the next and they’re showing their age. The staff is devoted but they can’t do it all, so Jaclyn (my friend) is undertaking the effort to arrange for donations of clothing, books, and other articles for the use of the residents. She had a fundraiser this past week, but they’re still seeking contributions to help the residents have a good Christmas. If you’re able and inclined to make a donation, please read the article I wrote in my blog to support her cause:

    Thank you, Mr. Scalzi, for this opportunity.

  100. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah.
    Did you know that a child with a Big Brother/Big Sister mentor is 53% less likey to skip class–more than any other mentoring program studied? I have been volunteering on their Board of Directors for 3 years, and they just lost a Federal grant for Mentoring Children of Prisoners. Some of the most at risk kids may not have a mentor next year. Matches are screened and professionally supported, which makes them more effective but also requires trained, professional staff. You can help at

  101. For Australians who would like tax-deductible charity:

    The Alannah and Madeline Foundation was set up after the Port Arthur massacre by the father of the two youngest victims. Its mission is to help children who are traumatised by violence, either through direct experience or through witnessing it.

    Among their many programs is the Buddy Bag program, which is for kids who are taken from domestic violence situations and placed in temporary care. Intervention is often too swift for these kids to grab even a toothbrush, their PJs or a favourite toy – Buddy Bags contain all the necessities for a couple of days, and something to hug.

    They also have an excellent anti-bullying program in schools.

  102. You probably all know Firefox, the first web browser after Internet Explorer to get mass market appeal and show a significant number of people that it’s possible to choose different software for browsing the internet than what comes with your computer by default, and that this results in a hugely improved experience. Because of Firefox, the barrier to entry for other browsers has been lowered enough that several other choices are now getting popular, and Internet Explorer has come out of stagnation.

    What you probably don’t know is that the Mozilla Foundation which stands behind Firefox is a non-profit organization (501(c)(3)), supporting the global community of people who believe that openness, innovation, and opportunity are key to the continued health of the Internet. Currently Mozilla is reaching out beyond just building great software, exploring first steps to engage everyone else to help keep the open web viable. Under the monicker drumbeat, they’re asking teachers, lawyers, artists, accountants, plumbers, web developers and anyone who uses and cares about the internet to get involved.

    And of course you can also make a financial contribution, which is tax-deductible if you’re in the USA.

  103. Hi, All,
    In this season that celebrates, among many other things, the love of family, most foster care systems rely on donations to provide Christmas toys to the children in foster care. Although my husband and I have always been able to suppliment the toys provided by Childrens’ Services with gifts that we have bought for our foster kids, in these lean economic times not all families can afford to do that.

    I’d like to suggest to everyone that you consider providing gifts for a foster child or children in your area. If you’re not sure how to do it, a quick call to your local child welfare agency will clear that up. If you’re not sure how to contact your local child welfare agency, you can also try Clark Howard, a consumer advocate in metro Atlanta who has been running the gift drive for Georgia foster children for 20 years. In recent years he has partnered with the Salvation Army in order to extend the reach of the program to other states. You can donate through his web site at The Salvation Army will try to use your donation to meet the needs of a child or children in your area.

    But really, isn’t it worth it to put a smile on the face of any child, anywhere, on Christmas morning? These children have lost so much, and it takes so little to give them a little happiness.

    On a similar note, don’t forget that our animal shelters are over-crowded and under-funded. A little Christmas cheer in the form of a cash donation or much needed items (your local shelter can tell you what they need, but things like puppy food, kitty litter, and used towels are in demand pretty much everywhere) can make a big difference to animals.

    Merry Christmas to everyone!

  104. I hesitate to suggest either a large/national Organization or a religion-connected one, but I’ve been favorably impressed by the American Friends Service Committee.

  105. Music Maker is a charity that helps out old Blues Musicians, primarily in the South. A lot of these musicians live in poverty and Music Maker purchases instruments for them and helps the cut CDs and get bookings. They also help out with medical, transportation, and housing needs as well. Not only can you give money and help others in need, but you can buy their CDs as well.

  106. Wow, these are some great causes…

    A little late to the party, but the 501(c)(3) Alpha SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers (for ages 14-19) has a scholarship fund for students who couldn’t otherwise afford the tuition (which is kept as low as possible). Alpha is an amazing experience, and its graduates regularly place in the Dell Awards and sell stories to professional or semi-pro ‘zines. So if you want to support the next generation of talented speculative fiction writers, donating to the Alpha scholarship fund is a great way to do that.

  107. Operation First Response serves our Nations Wounded Heroes and Their Familes.

    The staff of OFR has had the honor of working with our Nation’s wounded Heroes and their families on a daily basis for several years.

    Through your donations the following accomplishments have been possible:

    3,515 Wounded Heroes and their families have received assistance with:

    ◦mortgage & rent
    ◦vehicle payments

    1,222 Wounded Heroes and their families have received air transportation.

    1,086 Wounded Heroes and their families have received ground transportation and lodging.

    6,589 OFR Backpacks have been sent to Combat Support Hospitals in Theatre.

    Thousands of wounded Heroes and their family members have received emotional support.

    All have received the honor and respect that they so rightfully deserve!

    We work closely with case workers across the nation that bring the needs of our Heroes and their families to us.

    Because of the support and generosity of our Volunteers and Donors we are able to meet thousands of those needs.

    Our caring and compassionate staff goes above and beyond to impress upon our Military our deep respect and gratefulness to each of them.

    We need you to continue our mission!

  108. Please give money to your local foodbank. Even before the recession, they were needed, and now a lot of families are going hungry. They need food.

    It doesn’t get much more basic than that.

    Because the foodbank group can make deals with wholesalers and arrange to get food donated or buy it cheaper than you can probably manage, giving money directly to them is usually better than buying canned goods or other staples and donating them.

    We’re giving $1000 to the Hawaii Foodbank as we did last year, and another $1000 to a local group (IHS) which provides shelter and services for the homeless.

  109. St. Bernard Project.

    There are still many, many people from New Orleans who have been unable to return home after Hurricane Katrina, even after five years. The St. Bernard Project builds and rebuilds houses for those who cannot afford to do so themselves. I live in New Orleans and have volunteered with this group–they are dedicated and enthusiastic people who work as hard as they can to bring people home.

  110. I have been following Commando for some time and from the fence and have tried some of the exercises. They seem like a good fit for me and are quite challenging, and I think I am ready to purchase one program or the other (e.g TF Commando or the newer TF Warrior). I wondered if you would please comment on any differences. I am interested in some aspects of both programs. How are they different? My interest is for general fitness and martial arts.

    Appreciate whatever comments you can offer, and thanks for such extensive reviews.

    Happy Holidays

  111. Will you help me change the world? I’m doing a fundraiser that’ll send uniforms to kids in Uganda as well as help benefit local sewing communities. $20 orders 1 uniform. This helps children get an education while rebuilding the local economy & dignity. Would you be interested in supporting me by promoting this cause? You can learn more at gothreads(dot)org and my teams donation site is crowdrise(dot)com/chicagostudents. It would mean so much to me.

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