Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Luscious Lauren's Guide to Giving

It's that time of year again! Albeit, I'm probably too late for most people as you've likely been done with your holiday shopping since the summer and probably have everything wrapped and stacked and good to go -or wait, is that just me?- but here are some tips for next year, if not for this.

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

So, you want to support skeptical and atheistic causes, or charities that are secular? Check out TechSkeptic's increibly comprehensive list.
Also, specifically:
- Secular Coalition for America
- James Randi Educational Foundation
- Freedom From Religion Foundation
- Skeptics and Humanists Aid and Relief Effort(SHARE), collecting funds for Haiti earthquake relief at the moment
- Center for Inquiry

Interested in green gift-giving? Try the Natural Resources Defense Council's Green Gift Guide!

Reproductive rights and women's issues?
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America
- National Organization for Women (locally: Rochester NOW)
- Guttmacher Institute

Stuff for kids and education?
- Donors Choose
- Victory Junction Gang Camp

- Humane Society (locally: Lollypop Farm)
- also local to me: GRASP (Greece Residents Assisting Stray Pets) and Animal Service League

Human Rights and social good?
- Human Rights Campaign
- Heifer International
- KIVA microloans
- PBS (locally: WXXI)
- Plan USA
- Grist (a beacon in the smog)
- autism research that doesn't involve fear-mongering and spreading lies about vaccines: Autism Science Foundation

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 kids learn to play an instrument, or eat. 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.

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

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