Photo by Life in Africa
For this week's BlogHer Holiday Guide post, I needed to come up with a list of nonprofit organizations or causes that BlogHer readers may consider making a donation to as part of their year-end giving. I have two favorites: The Sharing Foundation which supports children in Cambodia and Creative Commons. I also turned to the readers of my blog who are very savvy about nonprofits and asked them to pitch their favorite causes and organizations that might be of interest to BlogHer readers.
1. Support Peace Work Around the World
Peace Project Fellow, Alison Long
Photo in Flickr, Used with Permission
Peace Fellows are graduate students who work with Advocacy Project's community based human rights partners around the world. The Fellows provide much needed energy, expertise and enthusiasm while being exposed to to the compelling, challenging, essential and often dangerous work done by campaigners for human rights and social justice. Fellows make use of blogging, social networking, photo and video sharing tools to build communities of support for their host organizations so donors can follow their work and directly share in the accomplishments.
2. Help Special Needs Children Improve Social Skills
Can I Sit With You? is an ongoing book and blog project that shares schoolyard stories -- both good and bad -- to help current student feel less alone in their social bewilderment. All proceeds from the sale of the Can I Sit With You? book go directly to SEPTAR, the fledgling Special Education PTA of Redwood City. Can I Sit With You? is co-edited by special needs parents Shannon Des Roches Rosa and Jennifer Byde Myers.
3. Help Survivors of Slavery and Trafficking Rebuild Their Lives
The Emancipation Network and MadeBySurvivors.com, where people can help survivors of human trafficking and slavery to rebuild their lives and to have sustainable income, education and hope. MadebySurvivors sells beautiful handicrafts and awesome gifts all made by survivors and people at very high risk for slavery. People can also make a donation to The Emancipation Network, a 501c3 non profit, or sponsor a red light district child for school.
4. Support Children
Shaping Youth recommends supporting Age of Conversation to Benefit Variety, The Children's Charity. This organization has been supporting young poeple since 1928, when a baby was found with a note pinned to it on Christmas Eve on a seat at the Sheridan Square Theater. Can't get much more pertinent for holiday hope than the gift of human beings caring for one another!
5. Adopt An Acre of Rainforest
When you give someone the gift of an acre of rainforest in Costa Rica, you're helping to protect and restore one of the world's most extraordinary yet highly threatened regions now and for future generations. You're making a tangible, lasting difference for both people and nature.
6. Support the only national sexual assault hotline
Paul Hyland saw a presentation at NPowerDC. He recommends the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, works with local rape crisis centers nationwide. They recently launched the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, and are in a push to increase the hours to 24/7 operation. This is a really great use of technology to reach a younger generation of victims who might be more comfortable in an IM session than a phone call. Check out their MySpace page.
7. The GRO Foundation: Global Relief Outreach
Think of how much change could be created if instead of a new sweater or CD we all were able to give a Holiday gift that meant survival for a starving family, or an education for an orphaned student. The G.R.O. Foundation has created the 2007 Gifts of Hope campaign in order to do just that; meaningful giving can bring hope, protection and security to the most vulnerable of our global family. The G.R.O. Foundation's Gifts of Hope have been created to initiate a revolution in giving – where every gift, no matter how significant, directly supports students and families in Lesotho, southern Africa that need it the most and so we can take back the season and make it one of true giving.
8. Free Geek
9. Support the Spastic Paraplegia Foundation
Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) and Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS) are long-term forms of Lou Gehrig disease, disorders largely unknown to the public which cause progressive weakness and spasticity in the muscles in the lower body which usually leads to complete disability. With no known public figure/celebrity spokesperson afflicted with either disease, the 24,000 Americans suffering from HSP/PLS have even less of a public platform. This began to change with the establishment in 2002 of the Spastic Paraplegia Foundation (SPF) whose all-volunteer effort raised over $1.5 million in five short years for critical research on these and related neuromuscular areas.
10. Help Build a School for Tibetan Girls
Photo by Audience Works
Help build a school for Tibetan girls that gives them a high quality education, gives them the same opportunities as boys, and prepares them for today's world with the best of modern western education and Tibetan values. After visiting Tibet and witnessing the dire conditions and systematic destruction of their culture, Rebecca Krause-Hardie realized how essential it is that we create places outside Tibet that support and cultivate their culture and spiritual beliefs. Donations can be made here.
11. Community Center of St. Bernard
St Bernard Parish was devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and by the largest domestic residential oil spill in US history (Murphy Oil spill in Chalmette). Two years later only 39% of residents have been able to return, and many of them are still living in FEMA trailers, waiting and waiting for the help they were promised. Contributions to the Community Center of St Bernard will help them to continue offering essential services like food and clothes for low-income residents, free access to internet and phones, and community events that help restore a sense of hope and normalcy to these hurricane survivors.
12. Give Kids the World
Give Kids The World is a non-profit, 70-acre resort that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. For more than 6,000 families each year, Give Kids The World provides a week-long dream vacation to Central Florida that includes accommodations, attractions tickets and meals, at no cost to them. With your gift, you share the joy of a dream come true for a child and help Give Kids The World fulfill its mission to never turn away a child in need
13. Life in Africa
LiA makes a great gift because it's not just a gift, it's an experience. There are many ways to connect with Life in Africa's war-affected communities in Uganda: shop for community-made gifts that make a difference, invest in the LiA community through a Kiva loan, help Ugandans plan projects online, or my favorite, give to help provide school fees for 200 orphans in LiA households. More than just a gift, LiA is an experience that makes Africa feel closer.
14. Help A Family of Five in Burma Stay Alive
When Partners asked the Internally Displaced People of Eastern Burma what they needed to stay alive while they hid from the Burmese army, they named it: 75kg of rice, 5kg of salt, 1 cooking pot, 1 machete, 1 lighter, 1 plastic sheet for shelter. Five basic essentials that will help a family of five survive in jungle hiding for one month. Help a family of five stay alive.
15. Help Victims of Domestic Violence
My Father's House of Erie is a transitional house for women and children who have been victims of domestic, relationship, physical, or verbal abuse. This program has been around for about ten years. They have recently renovated a beautiful house in the Victorian style, which can hold up to six families. My Father's House of Erie has everything in place to open this new house, with the exception of operational costs, which happens to be the most difficult type of funding to receive. Contributing to this organization would be an incredible way to make a difference in an organization which would otherwise not be able to help as many families as it has the physical capabilities to. For anybody who knows somebody who has suffered abuse, this would be a great way to donate in honor of that person.
Can't decide? You can always give the gift of giving by sending a gift card to someone who can select a charity at Network for Good or Global Giving. Details here. You can also make a virtual gift on Facebook through Changing the Present. Rather shop till your drop with a portion of the proceeds going to charity? Check out eBay Giving Works, Church World Service Catalog, or MAATIAM