Whatever Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Day Five: Charities

For the last four days, the Whatever Gift Guide 2017 has been about helping you find the perfect gifts for friends and loved ones. But today I’d like to remind folks that the season is also about helping those in need. So this final day is for charities. If you’re looking for a place to make a donation — or know of a charitable organization that would gladly accept a donation — this is the place for it.

How to contribute to this thread:

1. Anyone can contribute. If you are associated with or work for a charity, tell us about the charity. If there’s a charity you regularly contribute to or like for philosophical reasons, share with the crowd. This is open to everyone.

2. Focus on non-political charities, please. Which is to say, charities whose primary mission is not political — so, for example, an advocacy group whose primary thrust is education but who also lobbies lawmakers would be fine, but a candidate or political party or political action committee is not. The idea here is charities that exist to help people and/or make the world a better place for all of us.

3. It’s okay to note personal fundraising (Indiegogo and GoFundMe campaigns, etc) for people in need. Also, other informal charities and fundraisers are fine, but please do your part to make sure you’re pointing people to a legitimate fundraiser and not a scam. I would suggest only suggesting campaigns that you can vouch for personally.

3. One post per person. In that post, you can list whatever charities you like, and more than one charity. Note also that the majority of Whatever’s readership is in the US/Canada, so I suggest focusing on charities available in North America.

4. Keep your description of the charity brief (there will be a lot of posts, I’m guessing) and entertaining. 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 a charity site 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. Comment posts that are not about people promoting charities they like will be deleted, in order to keep the comment thread useful for people looking to find charities to contribute to.

All right, then: It’s the season of giving. Tell us where to give to make this a better place.

78 Comments on “Whatever Holiday Gift Guide 2017, Day Five: Charities”

  1. Here’s one that you may not have heard of but is even more important than it used to be: the Verified Voting Foundation. Started by a Computer Science Professor. They advocate for a voter-verified paper ballot in all elections because no electronic voting machine is immune to hacking. They also push for maximum transparency in counting and auditing processes.


  2. A charity that I’ve been happy to support for years is the PEACE Fund – the name stands for Protect, Educate, Aid Children Everywhere. They’ve had initiatives to provide clean drinking water, provide books and encourage literacy, provide funds for medical needs, and various other actions to directly benefit kids.


  3. The Newberry Library, in Chicago, IL, may not be connected to the Newbery Medal for children’s books, but it too honors young scholars by letting anyone 14 or older get their own reader’s card! Readers can hold almost anything in the collection in their hands, from medieval manuscripts to Alexander Hamilton’s infamous Reynolds pamphlet! If anything can save the humanities, it is access to primary sources, and the welling curiosity it unlocks. We have free exhibitions, scores of free public programs, and are actively collecting protest posters and ephemera from recent historical events. Not to mention the best summer book fair anywhere. With a major renovation coming up this winter, we hope to be able to welcome more readers than ever before!


  4. I work for a non-profit in Richmond, VA, called ART 180. We run art programs for kids in difficult circumstances in our community. From our website: Our interest isn’t in creating future Van Goghs, but rather creating future leaders who transcend their circumstances and work to effect positive change around them. Through our programs, young people discover ways they can positively engage in and influence their surroundings—through a billboard advising their peers to “find a dream and stick with it” or a painting depicting the effects of violence on young lives.

    We run three main types of programs for kids – after school programs in elementary and middle schools, teen programs in our gallery, and programs in local youth detention facilities.

    Please come check us out, and see what we’re about. Donate if you feel moved!!

  5. Youthlink is an organization in MN that supports youth who are 16-24 and homeless. Most of the people they help are POC and/or queer. There’s particularly a significant need *right now* because the Super Bowl will be here in Feb, raising the likelihood of human trafficking of these kids.

    There’s a meal program and a shelter, but they also provide childcare for homeless young parents, basic health care, and a case worker specifically to help these youth get an ID and access support programs.


  6. Dobermans. Did that word make you cringe or make you say, ‘Oh Yes, two please!’. Dobermans are a designer dog from the 1800’s, bred for loyalty and the desire to protect whatever they considered theirs. (Note my description as protective rather than aggressive.) American bred dobes of the 21st century are typically a wonderful mix of Velcro to the owner’s leg and lover of the couch, who crave human companionship and yet still have the instinct to protect. But even with so much love and loyalty given by them, you would be shocked at the number of dobes that end up in dog rescue – through no fault of their own. The reasons are myriad. Some are reasonable, such as illness of the owner. Most are due to people who make irresponsible choices, never considering the size or exercise needs of the pet they select. For them a living creature is just a piece of furniture that didn’t fit the living room.
    So, if you are taken by the idea of a rather large lap dog who expects you to lead and set a good example, learn about this great breed. And if it seems like a good match for your family, check out the wonderful dogs available at my favorite charity – Doberman Rescue of the Triad. DRT is based in North Carolina but will adopt outside the state. And if you’re looking to share some love yourself this Christmas, give them a little donation. http://doberman-rescue.com

  7. I’m a foster & sanctuary volunteer with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue, a 501 c3 non-profit whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and find forever homes for guinea pigs. We provide medical care, spay and neuters (when medically possible) and adoption screening for these sweet and often ignored animals. Because our piggies live in the homes of unpaid volunteers, our administrative overhead is 7%.

    We’ve had some tremendous success stories—read more on our donation page: http://mgpr.org/newsite/Donate/Donate.htm

  8. I am very involved with a lay Catholic charity called the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Branches can be found in most areas in all parts of the world. The main focus is helping the homeless, poor and destitute, and visiting and supporting them where they are. We provide food, clothing, and all other types of assistance where needed, regardless of religion, creed or race. I am involved with the South African area of this charity (http://www.stvincentdepaul.co.za/ with the details on the international site here http://en.ssvpglobal.org/), and can personally vouch for all the people running it in South Africa. At least 95 % of all donations goes to help the poor, as the majority of people involved are volunteers. I realise not everyone is keen to donate to religious charities, but if you would like one where your money is going directly to people that need it, then please consider donating to this one.

  9. Bridge for Youth


    They are a youth-only homeless shelter in Minneapolis, MN, serving the Twin Cities. Homeless kids are profoundly at-risk and Bridge for Youth gives them a place to stay, clothes, food, and the things they need to stay in school or remain employed. BfY also helps older teens find apartments of their own.

    Most of us knew That Kid, once upon a time. That Kid who couch-surfed, who avoided being at home, the kid who came out and got disowned and kicked out. When we were all teens, there wasn’t a heck of a lot we could do. Now, by supporting Bridge for Youth, we can help.

  10. A family friend runs the Latika
    Roy Foundation.
    She and her husband, living in India, adopted a baby, who
    subsequently turned out to have severe disabilities. They found
    that there was nowhere for disabled children to go to school, or
    for their families to get support for their medical needs. So now
    she runs this foundation which includes a school and a resource center.

  11. Native Americans don’t get very much in the way of help and opportunity, so in our house we always give to the American Indian College Fund. The majority of our charitable giving goes to the local food bank, but most of the rest goes to these excellent folks: http://collegefund.org

  12. I want to put in a word for Minutes Before Six, a site that features the creativity of prisoners, including those on various state death rows: articles, short stories, poetry, art. http://minutesbeforesix.blogspot.com/ There are few opportunities for prisoners’ voices to be heard. MB6 has been providing a forum for those voices since 2007, but has little support. You can contribute at the above address, or at GoFundMe — https://www.gofundme.com/minutesbeforesix . In two years, the site has only reached half of their very modest goal of $2,000.00. Please lend a hand.

  13. I give regularly to Plan Canada/Plan International. Perhaps best known for their “Because I Am A Girl” campaign, they also have programs designed to train health workers, provide families with materials and education for farming, give much needed school and health supplies, and work to break gender stereotypes and facilitate the involvement of fathers in newborn care and other areas to work for “equal gender relationships and healthy and strong families”. Their Gifts of Hope program is probably your best bet if you’re looking to make a one-time donation rather than becoming a regular donor. I give some of these in the names of loved ones every year.

    I used to canvass for World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for the Protection of Animals). They take a pragmatic approach to animal welfare, in that they seek to understand the role animals play in the communities where they take action; for instance they understand that farmers in some less developed regions may starve if made to give up their work animals, so instead of trying to ban the practice of using work animals entirely in those regions, they provide training in animal care, better veterinarian care, and better equipment to those farmers so that their animals can have better, healthier lives (they also work toward ensuring more humane farming practices more generally). Their red collar program that provides vaccinations to dogs to prevent them from being needlessly destroyed has been extremely successful, as has their work for developing sanctuaries for bears rescued from captivity. They also help make sure there are boots on the ground looking out for the welfare of animals during disaster relief efforts. Like Plan, they offer one-time gifts that are excellent for holiday giving, which you can find at the link I’ve provided above.

  14. The Child’s Play Charity was set up by the guys who founded Penny Arcade in the wake of former lawyer Jack Thompson’s crusade against video games, as a way of demonstrating that gamers weren’t just a bunch of potential psychopaths. Its mission is to help improve the lives of children in hospitals and other welfare facilities through the power of play. The money raised by the charity is used to help purchase toys and games for these facilities; items which can make a big difference in a child getting through a scary time like a hospital stay but which are all too often deprioritized come budget time. Since 2003 they have raised over $44 million for over 140 hospitals worldwide.


  15. If you’d like to help victims of the Northern California Wildfires, you can donate to North Bay Fire Relief. 100% of donations go to people impacted by the devastating fires. https://www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief . Administrative costs are being covered by my credit union.

    I don’t have personal experience with the various organizations handling relief for the Southern California fires, but these article have lists of charities that have pledged to help, http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/state/california/fires/article188487034.html and http://abc7.com/how-to-support-local-fire-relief-efforts/2743551/

  16. Rock Camps for Girls. My local Seattle one is Rain City Rock Camp for Girls. They learn empowerment, media literacy, finding their voices, all through face-melting music. “We’re not with the band, we ARE the band!”

  17. http://www.feedingamerica.org

    Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Thanks to donations and support from businesses, government organizations and individuals like you, the Feeding America network of food banks, pantries and meal programs serve virtually every community in the United States — 46 million people, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.

  18. Read and Feed in raleigh, North Carolina is a volunteer literacy tutoring service. They take a bookmobile into low-income neighborhoods and work with kids on their homework, literacy skills, and reading. They provide food and also school supplies.

  19. I would like to suggest that if you live in a not-wealthy area, you donate to your local school’s PTA. (In wealthier areas, PTAs are generally very well-funded, so you should find something else to do.)

    PTAs do vital work at a lot of schools, including buying supplies and funding activities. For example, our local PTA just bought musical instruments so kids who couldn’t afford to rent could still play. We also do educational programs after school and bring in all kinds of speakers during school.

  20. We’re big fans of Heifer International. Helps people in developing countries work their own way up in the world, not just handouts. Heifer.org

  21. Worldbuilders is a charity started by author Patrick Rothfuss. 100% of the money goes to Heifer International to give goats or bees or chickens or trees to people in need, plus the training to care for them.

    Every $10 into Worldbuilders also gets you an entry into the prize draw. Scalzi gave a whole truckload of books, plus there are fantastic games and a cabin for two on the JoCo Cruise and a gorgeous gaming table from Wormwood.

    If Worldbuilders can raise $715,000 in the next few days, an anonymous donor will kick it up to a MILLION dollars. That’s a lot of beeeeees!


  22. A good friend of mine runs The Laptop Project (http://thelaptopproject.org/), a 501c3 based in New Jersey. He repairs or refurbishes laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and sends them to people in need. If you can donate money or used equipment (laptops from 2007 onward), or if you know someone who could use a device, head to the site.

  23. John, thank you again for opening up Whatever for this promotion.

    The Heinlein Society was founded by Virginia Heinlein and exists to preserve the legacy renowned writer Robert Anson Heinlein left us in novels, essays, speeches and short stories that remain as fresh as ever. We intend, in Heinlein’s words to “PAY IT FORWARD” since we can never pay back the benefits that we got from him and his work.

    We provide free educational materials to teachers, librarians, and homeschoolers. (Learn more at: http://www.heinleinsociety.org/thseducation/ .)

    We also promote Heinlein Blood Drives at conventions. Since Robert Heinlein started the blood drives this is one of our core missions. We have now collected over 30,000 units since 2001 and in 2017 we have gathered almost 3000 units so far. If you attend a convention that doesn’t have a blood drive, contact our Blood Drive Chairman at BloodDriveChair@Heinleinsociety.org and talk to him about volunteering so we can make an even greater impact.

    In 2017, our scholarship program for STEM students grew not only in the number of applicants but in the number of scholarships we could support. For the first time we granted three $1250 scholarships, including our “Ginny” scholarship which is open to female STEM students only. A donation to this program could help us increase either the dollar amount or the number of scholarships we can support.

    Our Heinlein for Heroes (H4H) program supports military members and veterans by providing copies of Heinlein’s books, as well as other science fiction books to deployed troops and military hospitals. Since its inception in 2013, we have shipped over 14,000 books to service members around the world.

    As a private, nonpartisan 501(c)(3), The Heinlein Society survives on membership fees and donations to support “Paying it Forward”. As these resources plateau and the demands on our organization increase, we are asking for your support with a direct gift to the Society to support our mission.

    So if you have ever grokked, shared water, been amused by or owned by a cat, loved AI computers or have longed for the stars, pay it forward just a little bit by considering making a tax deductible donation or by becoming a member. If you donate, you can choose which of our programs your donation supports. http://www.heinleinsociety.org/

    Thank you!
    John Tilden,
    Treasurer, The Heinlein Society

  24. I work for the National Writing Project. We are a teacher-led professional development network with locations nationwide, with multiple programs that work to improve writing instruction with an emphasis in rural and under-served urban schools. One of our main initiatives in recent months has been civic education and engagement. We’re all about development new ways to get students engaged and writing, whether it be the traditional way or through new media. We have sites [usually affiliated with colleges/universities] in most states, and also a few affiliates outside the US.
    We’re at http://www.nwp.org

  25. I’m a fan of Men Can Stop Rape, which seeks to redefine masculinity and male strength as part of preventing men’s violence against women. They’ve reached over 2 million youth and professionals with their award-winning youth program the Men of Strength Club, their Campus Men of Strength program for college men, and their “My Strength is Not for Hurting” public awareness campaign.

  26. These are local to Cincinnati, but great places to support:

    – Cincinnati Nature Center (cincynature.org): A nature preserve, hiking trails, preschool, and more.
    – Save the Animals Foundation (staf.org): An all-volunteer run, no-kill animal shelter (or look up your local animal shelters – they always need money. They also often need things like old bath towels or supplies!)
    – Beech Acres Parenting Center (beechacres.org): A group devoted to helping parents parent better and serving vulnerable families. They also work a lot with foster families and foster kids, which is a growing need amidst the opioid crisis.
    – Cincinnati Children’s Hosptial Medical Center (cincinnatichildrens.org): Pretty much what it says on the tin – one of the top pediatric hospitals and research centers in the nation and they serve lots of vulnerable families. No family is ever turned away for inability to pay. And, they have a department (the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children) devoted to helping victims of child abuse. The Mayerson Center helps kids through the entire justice process, helps parents/guardians, and provides any medical care for victims.
    – Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (cincinnatizoo.org): They do a lot of amazing work to conserve endangered species. Plus, Baby Fiona the hippo is there. Or, check out your localish zoo – I bet they do great work, too, and need your help!)
    – Planned Parenthood (plannedparenthood.org)- your local/regional network OR the national network
    – Girl Scouts (girlscouts.org) – again, check out your local/regional office or the national one. They help girls become confident leaders and that’s something we desperately need.

  27. * Safe Haven Farms (http://www.safehavenfarms.org/) is a non-profit community for adults with autism. It was set up by my brother and sister-in-law and several other parents with autistic children to provide a place for them when there wasn’t one locally.

    * The Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis is one of the country’s largest pediatric care hospitals. The Riley Children’s Foundation supports the work of the hospital in a variety of ways. https://www.rileychildrens.org/about/ways-to-give/

    * The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization which manages the SFWA Emergency Medical Fun and Legal Fund for member authors. Most authors are self-employed and have limited medical or legal support, and these aid authors in times of medical or legal crises. The Medical Fund was organized by the late Jerry Pournelle, then SFWA president. Donations may be made through the SFWA website at https://membership.sfwa.org/page-308450.

  28. Crisis Text Line. I volunteer for them (they’re always looking for more volunteers, you can do it from anywhere!) and they’re a wonderful organization that serves as a crisis line for people over text rather than voice, because there are a number of reasons that someone wouldn’t be able to or comfortable calling in. https://www.crisistextline.org/

  29. I recommend Kevin’s Song (https://kevinssong.org/), which is working to fight the suicide epidemic. Kevin’s Song was founded in 2013 after John and Gail Urso lost their son, Kevin, to suicide. They have gone on to produce two major conferences and to be among the executive producers of the film “Death Is Not The Answer.”

    You can find Kevin’s Song on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/org.kevinssong/?ref=bookmarks

    You can also give to Kevin’s Song by choosing them on Amazon Smile. Donations help Kevin’s Song keep their conferences affordable for everyone from mental health professionals to people who have lost loved ones to suicide — and also support their efforts to be a clearinghouse for suicide-prevention and mental health information year-round.

  30. I volunteer regularly at the Oregon Food Bank https://www.oregonfoodbank.org/

    I’m sure other states have similar organizations, but I’m familiar with mine. OFB is a redistribution center for excess/surplus food that would otherwise go into the landfills. 40% of the food in the USA ends up in a landfill; OFB partners with manufacturers and stores to divert as much as possible for people who need it. They take surplus frozen food (vegetables, orzo, cranberries) and dry goods (oatmeal, pasta) from processing firms, repackage the food into smaller containers and then send it out to all of the churches, food pantries, and other charities that provide it to the hungry. They also receive less-than-perfect produce and items close to their pull date from grocery stores daily, which are all evaluated and what’s still good is shipped out to charities for immediate distribution. What can’t go to people goes to a pig farm, except for the few things the pigs can’t eat – that gets composted, and everything we can is recycled. They have few paid staff, but may enthusiastic volunteers; I’m so proud of the work we do.

    My other pet project is Heifer International, which provides farm animals to families so they can provide extra income and food to their communities. https://www.heifer.org/

    Instead of providing a Christmas list to my family (which is traditional, and don’t think I didn’t hear about it), I asked for donations to these two groups. We’ll see. ;-)

  31. Patched Together is a non-profit that supports the Home Nursing Agency Healing Patch Program here in Central Pennsylvania. As per their website: (http://patchedtogether.com/the-healing-patch/)

    Primary Goals of Home Nursing Agency Healing Patch Program:
    1. Provide support to grieving children & their families in Central PA
    2. Increase community awareness of the needs of grieving children
    Founded in 2006, the Healing Patch program provides free supportive services to children and families who have experienced the death of a loved one. Staffed primarily by volunteers, the Healing Patch is funded by Home Nursing Agency Hospice and the Home Nursing Agency Foundation, donations and grants, and various fundraisers.

  32. Some readers may recognize my name from other contexts, but I’m commenting here as a board member of the Speculative Literature Foundation, which is aimed at promoting speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) in part through grants to authors. These grants are the Older Writers Grant; the Gulliver Travel Research Grant; the Working Class Writers Grant; and the Diverse Worlds/Diverse Writers Grants.

    You can support the SLF through our Drip campaign, and through December 14th become a “Founding Member” of the organization. (While the Foundation is well-established and has existed for a number of years, this is the first time we’ve run a fundraising campaign of this type, hence “Founding.”)

    Thanks for your support, and thanks, John, for giving us this space to talk about it!

  33. Do you like music? Do you want to help orphans with HIV & other disadvantaged kids?

    International Youth Music Project is a charity started by indie musician Aaron English in 2015 to help kids get access to music (and music industry) education, primarily in East Africa, but world wide.

    We’ve sent instruments to orphans in Uganda, youth programs in Kenya and refugee camps in Burma. We’ve helped set up videography & recording programs in Kenya and fund music lessons for HIV+ orphans in Uganda.

    We’re tiny, but expanding! And we can use your help.



  34. If you’ve gotten this far down the page, THANK YOU for continuing to read. I’m seeing a whole lot of worthy organizations upthread.

    I’m posting here today on behalf of the Bay Area Bisexual Network. Founded in 1987, our mission is to develop a healthy, vibrant, multicultural bi+ community in the San Francisco Bay Area and to promote better understanding of bi+ lives and issues within the LGBTQ community and the public at large.

    After several years of personally bankrolling our events and activities, BABN’s organizing committee is hoping to raise some operating capital to cover some upcoming expenses, including fulfilling our long-held vision of filing paperwork for 501c3 non-profit status, and establishing a “nest egg” to underwrite annual events and support new happenings. (Yes, the fact that we have not yet received 501c3 status means that your contribution is not tax-deductible. If all goes well, that will no longer be the case this time next year.)

    Bi+ groups receive less than 1% of all contributions made to LGBTQ organizations. It is crucial for BABN to raise funds so we can continue to fulfill our mission. Please check out our crowdfunding campaign, and consider boosting our signal.


  35. Bridges Middle School is a small private school in Portland, Oregon, that serves kids with learning differences – some parents have described it as literally life-saving! The awesome teachers and staff take kids who struggle in regular classroom settings and provide them with an academic experience where they learn, become more confident, and develop the academic, social and function skills need to move onto HS and college. It is a unique place – we don’t think there is another school like it! The school is funded totally through tuition and donations, so any bit of support helps these amazing kids.
    Info about the school is here: http://www.bridgesms.org/
    And you can donate to them here: https://gatelyac.ejoinme.org/1718AnnualFund

  36. I belong to a Grandmothers group in Canada. We raise money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign, which brings on-the-ground help to grandmothers in Africa who are raising their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren without much support. As a grandma myself I can’t imagine grieving children and at the same time raising grandkids. This movement started in Canada but is growing worldwide: http://stephenlewisfoundation.org https://www.facebook.com/stephenlewisfdn @stephenlewisfdn

  37. Instead of Heifer, may I suggest The Livestock Conservancy?

    I know that Heifer talks big about feeding people, but they have a serious issue with putting breeds adapted to high-energy, cushy environments (like Holsteins) into environmentally stressful conditions where there’s more marginal food and there’s weather/disease issues that the animals quite frankly aren’t able to handle. We’ve bred Holsteins for producing fluid milk at the expense of just about everything else, and they’re not the hardiest breed – putting them into Sub-Saharan production systems where the food is more marginal, and there’s more disease and weather stress isn’t good for the animals or the people. Holsteins because they’re so big, have high requirements just for maintenance, and so they won’t produce as much milk as people would think, and it’s also contributing to the eradication of native breeds that are already adapted to the environment they’re in.

    I know Heifer International talks a lot about how they help people, but they’re not matching the breed to the environment at all and I can’t support that ethically. It’s not fair to the livestock or the people.

  38. The Project for Awesome (P4A) was created by the Vlogbrothers, Hank and John Green several years ago now as a way to crowdfund many charities at once and try to give as much back as possible. It is a 48 hour continuous livestream where they and many of their friends and other Youtubers talk about the charities in question, try to drum up support and sometimes get into weird challenges given to them by the viewers. The first half of the stream money this year will go to Save the Children and Last Mile Health. The other half, and what I think is the best part, depends on you the viewer. Everyone can promote their favorite charity with a video uploaded to P4A, and everyone can vote on the videos. It costs nothing to upload or vote. The ones with the most votes get a portion of the pot. (there are methods to keep sneaky people from messing it up) The top 20 or so each year get funds from P4A, which range from NaNoWriMo to the Flint Water Fund, to Not Forgotten, which provides abandoned children a home in Iquitos, Peru.

    The money comes from anyone who donates to P4A, or to their indiegogo page, as a donation or buying donated perks. Everything is donated or volunteered, and you never know quite what or who might show up each year. Last year Hank decided to sign a bunch of fake potatoes (because he discovered you can’t send actual potatoes in the mail^^) and Thought Bubble created a poster on stream from viewer donation requests that was so surreal it had to become real and then sold out in a couple hours. Josh Sundquist hosted an hour and showed off his amazing crutch dancing skills.

    For more details see their webpage, it’s probably explained better there: http://www.projectforawesome.com/ But hopefully you’ll come and at least vote.

  39. I absolutely love animals and donate to as many charities as I can to help both wild and domesticated ones. You guys probably know the big ones like the World Wildlife Fund (https://www.worldwildlife.org/) and the ASPCA (https://www.aspca.org/). If you’re looking for something cute to give for Christmas, the WWF has an “adopt an animal” program where you donate money to a certain animal and they send you a package with a cute plushie along with some other stuff. Awesome gift for kids! They get a cute toy and some adoption papers and you can teach them about caring for animals =)

    Here’s a specific one that you might not know about. It’s call Save LA Cougars and their goal is to build a wildlife bridge over the very busy 101 highway in Los Angeles to give animals a safe way to cross. You might’ve seen similar ones that have already been built over in the Netherlands and elsewhere. Not only will they help these creatures survive and reconnect separated populations, the bridges are also beautiful to look at and will help prevent wildlife accidents on the highway too! Here’s the link:


    Another one you might or might not know is the Petsmart Charities. They do a lot of good stuff on their own but what some people might not know is that they’re also a big contributor to relief efforts during natural disasters, animal cruelty cases, hoarding, etc. Here’s their link:


    And of course check in with your local shelters and humane societies. They could always use funds and volunteers!

  40. Project Linus (www.projectlinus.org) provides handmade security blankets for children in need. There is a chapter in every US state. Make a blanket for a child! Or a monetary donation to the chapter in your area!

  41. I donated to the West Ohio Food Bank which covers 11 counties. You can donate to your own local food banks. There’s always a need there. Also, I am getting ready to update my will (the old one is about 30 years old). My local Children’s hospital and Ronald McDonald house will be in it. Once you are dead, you don’t need the money and it’s better than giving it to your greedy relatives .

  42. If you have a Friends of the Library group in your area, please consider donating your time as a volunteer, your unused books (recent and in good condition), or a cash donation. They support libraries in areas that have little to no public funding for their libraries, or have had big reductions; often libraries are first on the chopping block when it comes time to cut budgets.

  43. My husband and I were foster parents for many years, and I can vouch personally for the wonderful work of this group: Clark’s Christmas Kids http://clark.com/about-clark/christmaskids/ is a collaborative project between a local Atlanta radio station and St Vincent de Paul to provide Christmas gifts for children in foster care in Georgia (official estimates are about 13,000 kids this year). Normally I wouldn’t feel the need to share, but we are in the middle of an unexpected snowstorm and several of their shopping events had to be cancelled, which means that they’re going to have to rely heavily on on-line donations this year.

  44. I heard a talk about this group (which just about broke my heart in two) from a volunteer who went to a Greek refugee camp for Syrian refugee families. They are doing good work: sending immediate need items, including medical supplies and devices to refugee camps and also supporting local Syrian emigres and their families after they relocate to the States. They are based in Seattle.

    SCM Medical Missions

    And Remote Area Medical is really doing yeoman’s work to help Americans (and others) left out of our Medical and especially Dental Systems and on a shoestring as far as I can tell.


  45. The Gender Identity Center of Colorado could use the help of kind Whatever readers.

    We envision a world that affirms all gender identities and expressions.

    Our Mission is to provide support for all gender identities and expressions through direct services and social change utilizing empowerment, identity affirmation, outreach, education, advocacy, creating safe spaces and a sense of community.

    The Gender Identity Center of Colorado, Inc. is a non-profit corporation organized in 1978 and incorporated in June 1980. The organization was formed to provide support to anyone gender variant in their gender identity and expression. The Gender Identity Center of Colorado is also an informational and educational resource to the community at large. The Gender Identity Center of Colorado is available to anyone, male / female / other, who can benefit from its services or resources, including spouses, significant others, parents, and siblings.

    The Gender Identity Center of Colorado is a tax exempt, 501(3)c nonprofit corporation which provides these public services to the community, but receives none of its support from tax dollars. It is funded by collection of tuition for seminars and workshops, counseling services, and donations. Receipts can be given for any donation of money or materials.

    The mission of the GIC is to provide support for all gender identities and expressions through direct services and social change utilizing empowerment, identity affirmation, outreach, education, advocacy, creating safe spaces, and a sense of community.


    – Amy Bowersox, Member, Board of Trustees, Gender Identity Center of Colorado

  46. Few rare diseases have any effective treatment (and research/develoopment is going to be hit hard with the current state of politics). X-linked Hypophosphatemia (XLH) patients are fortunate to have the first-ever truly effective treatment in the pipeline, pending FDA and EMA (Europe) decisions in the next few months, but the challenge for the patient group, The XLH Network, Inc., will be to work toward educating both patients and clinicians about this new option. You can help (and learn about living with a rare disease in the process) by purchasing a copy of our book of patient stories, WEAK BONES, STRONG WILLS. It’s available at all the major online distributors (just put “XLH” in the search box and ignore the motorcycle books) including Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075MQMZXG/

  47. Mustangs to the Rescue, a 501(c)3 organization that takes horses that have been abandoned, hurt, scheduled for slaughter, or whatever and matches them with adoptive human parents after nursing them back to health. Out of Bend, OR. Every penny they get goes into horse care. (Disclaimer: it’s run by my sister, Kate Beardsley, a nationally recognized “horse person” (says the sister who can tell the difference between a horse and a cow, but only barely).

  48. Hey what better for christmas than rats that save lives and supporting orphaned elephants, all with regular updates!
    My two animal charities, well apart from the RSPCA, are these:
    The David Sheldrick Trust https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/asp/fostering.asp
    Apopo https://www.apopo.org/en/adopt
    Both organisations do great work
    The Sheldrick Trust also support rhinos and a handful of other animals, APOPO train pouched rats to detect either land mines or tuberculosis

  49. The Religion News Foundation is dedicated to wiping out FAKE NEW about religion–especially news that tries to make us hate our neighbors of another faith — or no faith at all. Want to know what Muslims really believe (hint–they don’t want to kill you) — or how the Bible is shaping American foreign policy in the Middle East– or how faith-based groups are helping hurricane victims– or why someone different than you believes the way they do– ask an RNA member. Or read their stories. RNF is a nonsectarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public understanding of religion.

  50. Wordnik.com, the world’s biggest dictionary, is raising money to add even MORE words with our ‘Adopt a Word’ program. Wordnik’s mission is to make every word of English lookupable! By adopting a word, you help keep that word ad-free, and your adopted word is marked with your name and a link (to your site or your Twitter account, whichever you prefer).

    Adoptions are only US$25. Adoptions come with a downloadable certificate suitable for framing, and a set of stickers in the mail — and they make great gifts! Give your best friend the word that triggers your favorite in-joke! Give your kid’s teacher the word ‘inspiring’, or your boss the word ‘mentor’!)

    You can adopt your word at https://www.wordnik.com/adoptaword

  51. A little late to this party, but please give to Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. I’m not just an employee, I’m also the parent of an awesome 12-year-old Girl Scout. I can personally speak about the difference Girl Scouts can make in a girl’s life. Where many others struggle due to fear of the unknown, my daughter faces challenges fearlessly. She is confident in a world where she feels much is against her and she is fearless in the face of any obstacle. There are plenty of places where children can find success and thrive, Girl Scouts is the only where where girls find their own voice in a girl-led, girl-centric environment. Studies say girls stop raising their hands halfway through elementary school. Girl Scouts know the only way to be heard is to raise your hand (and sometimes speak out of turn).

    When you give to Girl Scouts, either my council or the one in your own community, you’re saying girls are valuable members of our community and will be vital in the future as women leaders – in business, in the home, anywhere they want to be.

    Our website is http://www.jerseyshoregirlscouts.org
    To give, we have a link on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/girlscoutsjs/posts/10154946366101561:

  52. I will second/third/pile on to the recommendations for Doctors Without Borders, The Marine Mammal Center, Heifer International, and your local community services center and food bank. (Sunnyvale Community Services and Second Harvest are ours; my son donates his birthday money each year to one of these causes.)

    One I haven’t seen mentioned but is one of my favorites is charity:water:

    If you’re reading this, you are probably not one of the 1 in 10 people worldwide without access to clean water. Think about that for a second, and how much we rely on clean water for nearly everything. charity:water works to dig wells and provide long-term access to clean water and healthy sanitation practices. If you can, give the gift of clean water to someone who has none.

  53. Sorry I’m chiming in so late, but I’d like to plug the work of local community foundations. There is probably one in your region, if not your county; I work for the foundation in Greene County, Indiana. Community foundations are dedicated to meeting the charitable needs of their communities on a flexible basis, providing short- and long-term financial support to local nonprofits; most of them also provide scholarships for local students. So whether your passion is to help local kids go to college; help support local schools, libraries, humane societies, or any other nonprofit in your area; or simply pass along a gift to your community and let us determine where it is most needed, your local community foundation is a great option.

    Here’s more about community foundations: https://www.cof.org/foundation-type/community-foundations-taxonomy

    And here’s the one I work for (I’m… not super proud of our website design, but the info is there): http://www.greenecountyfoundation.org

  54. FUR AND FEATHER ANIMAL ASSISTANCE is a permanent residential facility for dogs and cats designed for comfort, well-being, and care for life. Our no-kill sanctuary is located in rural western New Mexico. This area is ranching country out in the middle of nowhere and somehow people think it’s OK to just dump their old and otherwise unwanted critters here, as if ranches and such would want to take them in. Well, FFAA does take animals in, and they do a great job with them. As with so many small non-profits, they are always struggling to make ends meet. Please think of Fur and Feather this holiday season and beyond. Thank you. http://furandfeather.org/

  55. I’ve got to put a plug in for Earthjustice. I’m a contract writer for them. They are doing the Lord’s work to ensure that President Trump has to follow the law as he goes about trying to dismantle all of the environmental protections safeguarding our lives, health and wildlife. I work with many of their attorneys, and you won’t find a more dedicated, knowledgeable and hard-working group of people.

  56. Arts in the Armed Forces

    This is a group of actors who travel to military bases, both stateside & overseas, to put on theater shows for active duty personnel and veterans. They also put on a show in NYC every November around Veteran’s Day. Their website is at aitaf.org. Excellent work by dedicated artists for a great cause.

  57. First, I want to say the most important donations are cold hard cash, because every group can use it right away. If you must donate non-cash “stuff” (clothes, food, furniture, etc), remember it’s a gift. A gift you would be willing to give your best friend. The clothes should be clean, without stains or holes. The food should not be stale, moldy or from dented cans. Your donation should not be broken, or “work if you hold the antenna at a certain angle”. Real people use the stuff you donate. It’s never wrong to ask or check the website of a given organization for what their needs are.

    Send your money to the Como Zoo, so that kids and adults can see the animals and visit the Conservatory (giant tropical greenhouse) for FREE. Como Park in St Paul, MN charges no admission, but donations are accepted. Other zoos are also worthy, but the Como Zoo is the one I love best.

    Don’t forget to donate to your community radio station, at the low end of the FM dial, or other public radio and public media. I’m a DJ and it’s an honor to serve my listeners all year long. Even though I don’t paid, we need money to pay royalties for music, subscriptions to special programs, keep the equipment running and other incidental costs.

  58. No names, only because I think the bigger picture is worth seeing: I give to my local Food Share and to a local annual drive for toys and warm coats for kids. (And throughout the year, take the option to round up my electric bill to the nearest $10 or $20 to help pay for someone else’s.)

    I’m hangin’ on…some of my neighbors need some help. Not all of you may have the same options as I do, but I’d bet you have similar.

  59. Each year, I give to a Seattle radio station run by their public school system. It in a non-commercial, dance music-based station. One of the reasons I really like it is that, as it runs through Nathan Hale High School, it offers students opportunities to train at the station as part of a course. Some students even continue working as staff members after they graduate. Donations provide a budget to keep the equipment and courses running. While the fall pledge drive has ended, the station is still accepting donations (monthly or one-time) here: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=b7d806. Some employers match donations as well: http://www.c895.org/matching/.

  60. Consider donating your time to Crisis Text Line. CTL is an anonymous, free (they have an agreement with most major carriers) text service for anyone, of any age, for any crisis. Counselors are volunteers trained to help the texter move from a hot panicky moment into a cooler thinking moment. Training is a couple hours a week for 5 to 6 weeks, with an agreement to work a minimum of 2 hours a week after you’ve finished training. It’s done in shifts, and the counselors work through a web-platform. I’ve had texters with a range of problems, from pre-teens upset over a boyfriend, to suicide risks, to someone with a long-term degenerative condition just needing to talk. https://www.crisistextline.org/


  61. Last year I gave my Christmas budget to the Red Cross, USO, Doctors Without Borders, and Action Against Hunger. This year my entire budget went to Toys for Tots, sponsored by the USMC. Yes yes, I know as an Army guy i’m supposed to.. No.. fuck all that. If my cash can bring a smile to one child… that is really all I need.

    Seriously, giving to others doesn’t hurt as much as you think. In fact, it feels pretty damn good, especially when you consider that the people you know and interact with have all of their needs met. If you don’t get the point, I’ll suggest you either read “A Christmas Carol” by that old dude Charles Dickens, or watch the 1984 version with George C. Scott.

    ESSAYONS! Scalzi fans!

  62. Many good charities/programs out there. One that I like and support is Ethiopia Reads. It has built 5 schools, started over 70 libraries, and has served over 125000 students over the years.


  63. Canine Companions for Independence is a nationwide charity that trains service dogs for physically disabled people. They were the first organization to do this. It costs about $45,000 to train each dog, but they are provided free of charge.

    California wildfires have caused the evacuation of their headquarters in Santa Rosa and a large training center in Oceanside. The dogs are fine, but some staff have lost their homes.

    You can donate or you can volunteer as a “puppy raiser” to train and socialize dogs from age 8 weeks until 18 months.


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