So my holiday shopping list got me thinking that some people might just want to skip the gift/proceeds thing (just trying to kill two birds with one stone) and go straight to charitable giving. So I’ve got a little list of causes (in no particular order) that I’ve been brewing for you. Like the shopping list, check back often for updates. And please feel free to leave tips on your fav causes in the comments.
- Domestic violence shelters: Safe Nest and SAFE House
- Children’s services: Shade Tree
- Sexual assault services: Rape Crisis Center
- Henderson Allied Community Association (aka HACA) helps individuals and families with a variety of services related to homelessness and poverty — from bus tokens and hot meals to prom dresses for needy girls.
- TAPS (Trafficking and Prostitution Services directory) helps victims of human trafficking. [added 11-22-07]
- The Give the Gift of Sight: Donate prescription glasses or non-prescription sun wear to the organization which in turn donates it to impoverished vision-impaired adults and children all over the world. It’s easy. Drop off your old specs at LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, BJs or Sunglass Hut.
- Support the troops. Buy them something from their wish list. Or donate unused frequent-flier miles to injured soldier’s families.
- Donate new blankets to kids in homeless shelters.
- Vaccinate 50 people around the world against deadly diseases such as polio and measles with a $50 donation to Doctors Without Borders. Likewise, turn $10 into $100 through matching funds donations at Freethechildren.org.
- You can help provide care for a woman or child rescued from human trafficking at Shared hope International or CAST.
- Donate shoes! Donate wedding dresses!
- Do Something! Volunteer!
- Mentor an at-risk teen online. Furthermore, help provide a support system to inner-city kids who make it to college by donating to the Posse Foundation. Or, tutor an aspiring author at 826National. And with Donorschoose.org, you can fulfill the needs of teachers and classes anywhere you like.
- Donate to the Family Violence Prevention Fund.
- Help women in other countries get the same (usually good) access to health care we have in America by donating to the International Women’s Health Coalition. Likewise, you can loan money to an entrepreneur (usually women) in a developing country through KIVA.
- Friends of El Faro helps children in Mexico’s Casa Hogar Sion.
- Buying someone a goat or a cow through Heifer International might sound weird, but it can be the single best way to help a family in a developing country. It is the difference between a hand-out and help up. Since poverty usually disproportionately effects women and children, it’s a feminist thing to do, too.
- Dress for Success helps women by providing them with gently used work-appropriate attire for interviews. If donating old clothes to charity is good. This is filled with awesomeness.
- Protect rain forest in South and Central America through the Rain Forest Alliance.
- College is expensive. Help a poor, aspiring student with Scholarship America.
- Give blood.
- Help children in Africa and India get AIDS drugs through Keep A Child Alive. [added 12-5-07]
- The Sci-Fi Channel’s Tin Man miniseries is sponsoring Habitat for Humanity. Buy a “brick” for $10 and help build someone a home. [added 12-5-07]
- Always is promising to donate $1.4 million to the United Nation’s HERO Campaign to help young women in Southern Africa to go to school even when they’re menstruating. The idea that a young woman could miss out on an education because she doesn’t have a tampon makes me cry. I think their tagline says it all: “There are a lot of reasons to miss school. Being a girl shouldn’t be one of them.” Let’s do our part. [added 12-9-07]
- Elizabeth Audley started Sisters’ Keepers after her experience becoming a first-time mom while trying to finish her college degree. Her project focuses on women at Wellesley College; wouldn’t it be cool if it could expand to all college campuses? [added 12-13-07]
Marie Claire’s Top 10 Best Charities (from 2006; based on % allocation of funds):
- Named Marie Claire magazine’s No. 1 best charity in 2006, AmeriCares puts 99% of funding into programs. The non-profit provides urgently needed items/services such as doctors, medicine, food, tents, water purifiers and baby formula.
- At No. 2 the V-Day organization works to end violence against women and girls in 81 countries. Not bad for something that started as Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. And 93% of funding goes to programs.
- Save the Children puts 90% of funding toward programs and helps save the lives of infants and children in 18 countries.
- The Polaris Project allocates 90% of funding to programs. This is another good program that helps victims of human trafficking by way of a modern-day Underground Railroad.
- The Breast Cancer Research Foundation: 89% of funding goes to programs.
- The world’s percentage of HIV-positive adults who are women is rising. Enter: International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. 88% of funding goes to programs.
- National Partnership for Women and Families helps fight for your right to not be sexually harassed. 86%
- Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization and it runs the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE). 85%
- Support women by investing your money in causes that help women through the Women’s Fund Network. 85%
- The White House Project wants to put a woman in the Oval Office by supporting the cause from little girls on up. 76%