Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So, you want to give away your money?

Well, you probably don’t, but we all often do it anyway so I thought I’d share some of the causes and organizations which I think are most worthwhile. Because what is blogging, after all, if not an excuse to post a bunch of random shit no one really cares to know?

Guttmacher Institute
Purpose: to advance sexual and reproductive health through an interrelated program of social science research, policy analysis and public education, designed to generate new ideas, encourage enlightened public debate, promote sound policy and program development, and, ultimately, inform individual decision-making.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Purpose: to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual; to advocate public policies which guarantee these rights and ensure access to such services; to provide educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality; to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bioethical, behavioral, and social implications.

The National Organization for Women
Purpose: NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.

Secular Humanist Aid and Relief Efforts
Purpose: a secular alternative to faith-based relief efforts; a program of the Council for Secular Humanism; working with Americares (purpose: to provide immediate response to emergency medical needs and support long-term humanitarian assistance programs for all people around the world, irrespective of race, creed or political persuasion)

Human Rights Campaign
Purpose: America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.

The Humane Society of the United States
Purpose: The HSUS seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. We are America's mainstream force against cruelty, exploitation and neglect, as well as the most trusted voice extolling the human-animal bond.

Public Broadcasting Service
Purpose: is a non-profit public broadcasting television service with 354 member TV stations in the United States, with some member stations available in Canada.

Heifer International
Purpose: to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth; providing gifts of livestock and plants, as well as education in sustainable agriculture, to financially-disadvantaged families around the world

Victory Junction Gang Camp
Purpose: to enrich the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun, and empowering, in a safe and medically-sound environment.

Also, seeing as how it’s December 8th and everything, check out the Dimebag Darrell Memorial Fund and VH1's Save The Music Foundation and RIP Dimebag and Mayhem.

A final entry: check out Techskeptic's Data Daily Atheist Charities List, if you're tired of "charity" having such a condescendingly Christian overtone.

Added 12/15/08: Plan USA
Our vision is of a world in which all children realize their full potential in societies that respect people's rights and dignity. If James "The Amaz!ng" Randi thinks this is a worthy cause, it must have something going for it.

Added 7/06/09: SkeptiLove, a website devoted to reporting on the generous acts of non-believers, and to bringing skeptics, critical thinkers, agnostics, atheists, humanists, and secularists together to participate in charitable projects.

Remember, these organizations need support, donations and volunteers year round and not just during the holidays, but if you can give anything, even a little, it helps a lot. Send an anonymous check or request not to receive solicitations if you are worried about getting on a mailing list, but do send something. Perhaps in lieu of dinner out some night you could buy dinner for a less well-off family. Perhaps in lieu of buying a new DVD you could help others. Perhaps in lieu of another new pair of sneakers, you could help supply warm shoes for a needy person. We all likely have more than we need, especially if we have the time to wile away on a blog, so we should take a few moments this season and see what we can share with others.

As always, check out the Charity Navigator to see how your chosen charities are rated.

Besides, 'tis the season for giving, after all, and 'do unto others' applies to secular folk, too.

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