Last week I wrote about focusing on community and tradition for the next month of my happiness project. While we've been trying to fill our social calendar, I've also been trying to empty our bank account.
Well no, not really, I'm not trying to empty our bank account (that's easy enough to do without trying). But rather than giving each other gifts, James and I have decided to donate that money to organizations who are building the kind of world we want to live in. I don't really need another sweater, but I'm pretty certain there are some women our there who need healthcare, some refugees from war-torn nations who need food and shelter, and some sacred lands that need saving.
I was inspired by this post on one of my favorite blogs, Reading My Tea Leaves. I really appreciated her comment on donating unrestricted funds, so that organizations can spend money on overhead—often considered a bad word when evaluating organizations, but how else do you expect them to get the work done? As Ms. Boyle writes,
In fact, the three leading organizations that collect and analyze information on nonprofits in the US all recommend that overhead ratio not be used as a metric for assessing organizations you might want to support. Keep in mind that in order to do good work, an organization needs to invest in its staff and its infrastructure—and that all falls under the umbrella of overhead spending!
Her post on charitable giving is really worth reading, and includes some suggestions of organizations to donate to, so I highly recommend it. I also recommend checking out Illustrated Impact, who is sharing one "carefully chosen organization promoting a safe environment for all Americans" each day of December. If you want more ideas for places to donate, do check it out.
There are so many worthy causes and organizations that could benefit from your money, and it can be very hard to choose. We went with causes and organizations that mean the most to us and that we felt were most immediately threatened by the incoming administration.
International Refugee Assistance Project - We have been incredibly *lucky* to have been born in relatively peaceful, prosperous nations; millions of people around the world have not, and are fleeing the ravages of war. We've given to this organization to support the movement of people escaping horrors that we will never even be able to imagine.
Natural Resources Defense Council - James has dedicated his professional life to "saving the fish." All of our natural resources are in peril, and as people who love the outdoors, it is our duty to help protect the environment.
American Civil Liberties Union - The incoming administration has threatened American's first-amendment rights, and hate crimes have gained legitimacy already in the Trump era. We want to support the most vulnerable among us, as a mixed-race family who deeply loves people of all sexual orientations and colors.
Planned Parenthood - One in five American women will avail herself of Planned Parenthood at some point in her life—I certainly did. Women's health and reproductive rights are under attack with a Christian supremacist in the White House.
I've also subscribed to the New York Times, to support quality, fact-checking journalism in the face of the assault on reason and facts coming soon to White House.
Have you been inspired to give this year? What great organizations should I know about?
Photo by John Cobb.