For those of us making comfortable incomes, one of the ways we can help these days is sending money to places that can make use of it. For those of us who have employers with matching programs, that basically gives you a way to direct even more support to charities that matter. I tweaked my monthly donations recently and I thought I’d put down my choices in one place. Maybe you find something you also want to support this year. Maybe you’ll write your own list and I’ll find something I want to support on that. Here’s my list of folks I want to stand behind this year:
- The American Civil Liberties Union — I’ve been a member for over a decade, these folks protect some of the rights that make America America.
- Coalition on Homelessness — A local San Francisco group doing work to make San Francisco as much as home for folks who don’t have a home here right now as it is for me and others.
- Council on American-Islamic Relations — This is a new addition to my list this year. This group’s been involved pushing back the travel bans primarily affecting muslim citizens of 7 countries and I think that work is critical.
- Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières — If there’s a bad situation for humans in the world, MSF is usually there and engaged in trying to take care of folks.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation — Another organization where I’ve been a member for a long time. These folks fight for a free and open Internet and against government surveillance. While tech policy hardly seems like the burning battle right now, active engagement in keeping tech a more equal playing field is vital to equality as tech’s influence on our world continues to expand.
- Girl Scouts of Northern California — This is my local council. You should support yours.
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People — Decades of experience in anti-racism work.
- National Center for Transgender Equality — NCTE has done a lot of great work, and is likely going to be a key part of the next wave of fights as trans rights become more visible.
- National Immigration Law Center — Another new organization I’m supporting this year in response to our government’s new fondness for making life even harder for wonderful people from elsewhere in the world to join our country.
- Natural Resources Defense Council — Defending the beautiful and amazing pockets of wilderness scattered across America. Fighting Climate Change. The work these folks do is important.
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Northern California — You’ve heard of these folks and know who they are, but you may not realize how expansive their mission is. They provide all kinds of medical care to all kinds of women, including women like me. Their medical mission extends to all genders, including men. I donate to both the national and local organizations. Sometimes I donate to Planned Parenthood Mar Monte too, just to support a particular provider in that region who helped me and has probably saved some of my friends lives.
- Southern Poverty Law Center — If there’s hate and intolerance, these folks are usually doing what they can to support the folks targetted by it.
- Transgender Law Center — Transgender rights are going to be a big battle. This organization’s been at it for a long time.
Non Trans LGBTQ Organizations: I think trans rights is going to take the bulk of the heat for the next decade. So I prefer to put my money directly there. I think generally at this point that keeps the overton window at a place that keeps most other queers pretty safe. But comprehensive LGBTQ organizations are important. Two of my favorites here are Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. I don’t recommend donating to the Human Rights Campaign. They’ve shown a willingness to sell out other parts of the LGBT coalition for short term gains in the past. So I generally, think money going towards them is better served going towards almost any other LGBTQ rights organization.
More Environmental Organizations: There’s a big gap on my list there. I’m donating to the NRDC, but there’s so much work to do in this area. I honestly have a hard time with many environmental organizations, since I am a strong supporter of nuclear power as a legitimate choice in the fight against climate change. I think too many environmental organizations harbor anti-science views and actively are harmful to the cause of protecting our environment and creating a better world. I try and support the remaining ones. Of which, frankly there are many. This area needs more work.
Health, Science and Education Organizations: This is another important area not on my list. I try and support these things, but my focus for my own money is in other areas right now.
Art and Creative Organizations: Money in the art world is weird, and I’m not convinced that treating art as a charity outlet for donations is the way to go. I believe art is important, but I like to support art by seeing it, viewing it, building it and engaging with it. A lot of those things involve money and that’s how it should be. I think becoming a member of your local art museum(s) is a great easy way to support art with your money if you’re inclined to do so. For extra points, find local creative folks you like and support their work. For extra extra points, make or do an art of your own.
Other minority groups: My list is obviously incomplete. Solidarity is important. Support organizations working to protect groups you’re not part of. Maybe chose different ones than I did. :)