Sunday, December 23, 2012

Charity 2012

Well, for the fourth year in the row, I am going to share our year end charitable donations, as well as some of the reasoning behind them. I know that this is often viewed as "nobody's business"... my reason for sharing is to encourage others to give. Not necessarily to the organizations that I support, but in an intentional and researched way.

Last year, we started a family fund with the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, so we now use that for the bulk of our donations. All five members of our family are involved in choosing and researching organizations they would like to support, so our donations reflect some common values around what is important, as well as more specific individual interests. 


Before diving in, I would like to highlight several resources that people serious about intentional philanthropy should consider. You are not alone, and if you are want to explore why you should give, or how to do it effectively, there are some good resources.

-The Life You Can Save, both a book and a website from Peter Singer that will challenge you to become an active donor.
-Big Bang Philanthropy- identifying and supporting high impact organizations around the world that are implementing solutions that reduce poverty.
-Givewell. Started by several people who wanted to make sure their donations really made a difference.
-Half the Sky Movement. Nicolas Kristoff & Sheryl WuDunn's site for organizations reducing oppression of women and girls. 
-Charity Navigator. Ranks charities on financial health and accountability. 
-Global Giving. A community of funders working on a number of projects around the world.
-Innovations for Poverty Action. Has started a fund targeting the most effective interventions against poverty.
-Social Impact Exchange. 100 effective non-profits based in USA. 

OK, enough of resource links. Let's cover what our family supported this year. As in past years, we organize our giving into five areas.


1) Environment- because we can't live without it (~20% of our donations in 2012)

-The Nature Conservancy-protecting ecologically important lands and waters worldwide.
-Trust for Public Land- conserving land for public use in USA.
-IdeaWild (C)- small grants with a big impact on biodiversity.
-Trees Water People (C)*- community based sustainable development, focused on reforestation and ecological restoration. 
-350.org*- global grassroots climate activism. 

2) Health- because health is the cornerstone of development; it's hard to work or go to school if you are sick. (~20%)

-Doctors Without Borders- emergency medical aid, in 70 countries. 
-Vision Spring- affordable eyeglasses in Central America and India
-Mothers2Mothers*- reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Africa
-Against Malaria Foundation*- efficient distribution of mosquito bed nets.

3) Social/International Development- Admittedly, a catch-all category. But basically for organizations that are working on innovative, primarily private sector approaches. (~15%)

-One Acre Fund- making small farmers in Africa more prosperous.
-iDE (C)- creating income and livelihoods for poor rural households in several countries; small scale irrigation technologies. 
-Nepal Youth Foundation- helping disadvantaged youth in Nepal.
-Women for Women International*- supporting women in post conflict areas. 
-The Mission Continues*- fellowships for returning veterans to use their leadership to make an impact at home.

4) Education- We are fans. Much positive change comes from education. (~12%)

-Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship- entrepreneurship for disadvantaged kids in USA
-Engineers Without Borders (C)- water and energy projects in developing world through partnerships with engineering schools
-Akili Dada- scholarships for talented secondary school girls in Kenya
-Book Trust (C)*- improving literacy and book access for disadvantaged kids in USA

5) Local Community (all are Colorado based)- there are many needs in our own communities. (~33%)

-Food Bank of Larimer County
-KUNC Public Radio
-SAME Cafe- great non-profit restaurant in Denver
-United Way of Larimer County
-Slow Money Soil Trust*- community finance and agriculture; bringing money back down to earth.
-Food Family Farming Foundation- healthy school lunches
-Intercambio*- language and cultural training for immigrants to Colorado
-Growing Gardens Boulder
-Alzheimer's Association of Colorado
-SAINT (Senior Alternatives in Transportation)- helping seniors who can't drive
___________
(C) means Colorado based
* indicates this is our first year supporting this organization. 

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