Check out this article at ScienCentral.com: Joy of Giving
If you don't feel like reading the whole article, it's basically about a bunch of scientists who discovered that "donating to charities lit up the brain's reward circuits even more than receiving cash."
Sounds good to me. Count me in!
JoanMarie and I already have a few organizations we give to throughout the year. But because so many great charities are suffering this year, we're looking to donate to a few more...and that's where we'd like your help.
In the comments section, tell us about a charity you think should be remembered this season and include its website so everyone else can check it out. We'll pick at least one from your list to further light up the reward circuits in our brains.
As well, I'll link to your charities in the sidebar of my blog so anyone stopping by will have the same opportunities to light up their brains, too!
I support World Vision (worldvision.org).
It's a wonderful organization that has the child-sponsorship option that I personally do, where I support a child and his family with $30/month.
But also, it has a great "gift catalog". You can buy a cow for a needy family in someone's name. Last year, I bought my friend, a teacher, a year's supply of school necessities for a needy child for her Christmas present. She liked that it was something she believed in--education--as well as something that helps others. There are options to support needy Americans instead of internationals if that's your concern, but there are more international needs that are available to be purchased: from something small, like soccer balls and art supplies, to bigger things like farm animals, irrigation systems, and buildings. It's really worthwhile, and the organization is very professional. The school where I work at recently raised enough money to dig a well in Africa, and the organization sends us updates on the well's progress.
I don't have a high income, and I have to pay for two cars and my apartment. So there's nearly no money left for supporting charities on a regular basis.
But I do support local animal shelters by buying pet food and animal toys every time I'm shopping and there's some money left. I collect those things at home and give it to a shelter nearby when I collected enough.
Also, I'd never throw away a book me or my girlfriend read. I give them to the youth center in my town, together with old books I get from friends. They already got two copies of "Tote Mädchen lügen nicht" from me *g*
So even if somebody don't have much money, there are still a lot of opportunities to help other people or animals.
If I'd support a bigger charity with money, it would be something with children or animals, both mean a lot to me.
And I'm a big fan of "Doctors without borders" (www.doctorswithoutborders.org). That's a group of doctors and nurses who volunteer to provide urgent medical care in countries to victims of war and disaster regardless of race, religion, or politics.
It'd be great if you could include their webpage, too.
Great topic! I like:
Amnesty International: http://www.amnestyusa.org/
Heifer International: http://www.heifer.org/#
Doctors Without Borders: http://doctorswithoutborders.org/
Unfortunately I am not financially able to regularly give to charities. Rather than donating money, I donate time as a volunteer to various organizations I feel passionate about. However, I have in the past given money to local charities and organizations in my area such as Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, WQED, and Western PA Humane Society.
If I would have to choose one charity it would definitely be Animal Friends or the Humane Society, especially a no kill shelter. We can't forget about our furry friends who often are the first ones to get let go or neglected when pocketbooks come up empty.
Great idea - I can't wait to learn about some more great charities.
Every year I give to three charities at holiday time:
1) Heifer International which not only gives lifestock to people in developing countries, but they provide education on how the recipients can earn more money while using sustainable ag practices. They also require at least one offspring of the lifestock they donate to be gifted to someone else so the gift keeps giving.
2) First Book - which donates new books to kids in need. This organization has shown up on many charitable watch lists as one that keeps low operating/fundraising expenses compared to their total budget so the money you give to them really goes to the cause.
3) The Lung Cancer Alliance - after my father passed away from lung cancer, I learned that while the mortality rates are extremely high (more than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancer combined) but it receives little funding due to the stigma of smoking (my father quit smoking 30 years before his diagnosis).
I contribute to others throughout the year when something either tugs on my heart or friends are involved in fundraising efforts. This year b/c there is just so much need, I will be contributing to a local food bank too.
I can't wait to hear about all the other wonderful charities out there!
Support Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. It is a camp for children and their families who have been affected by cancer. They run 5 summer camp sessions and 3 winter camp sessions for children ages 9-18 to go to sleep away camp. There are also 4 family camp sessions (2 in the spring and 2 in the fall) for younger children and their families.The aim of this camp is to provide these children a normal summer experience. The only difference between this camp and any other summer camp is that for each session they have a full medical staff and a fully stocked medical facility.
I have been attending this camp since I was and it's very special to me and my family. During such a tough economy the camp is having trouble making ends meet and has had to start to cut activities and sessions.
Please help out a great cause!
I'm a big fan of GLSEN - the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Educators' Network. These folks work hard to fight gender-based & gender-identity based bigotry in the schools. They help students form GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances), they develop curricula for events like No Name Calling Week, & Day of Silence. They help youth take on leadership roles in their communities.
Thanks, Jay & JoanMarie for posting this request - you're a class act.
Thanks Jay, for doing this small but meaningful thing!!
I work for a non-profit called Hope Cancer Resources. We serve cancer patients and their families in NW Arkansas with financial and emotional support, transportation to and from doctor's appointments, prevention and screening programs... we serve over 1000 people each year, and the value of the direct assistance and the pharmaceutical program assistance we can connect patients with is valued at over $400K.
The organization used to be two: HOPE, Inc. (www.hopenwa.org) and NARTI (www.narti.org) - but we merged in September. We are working on our new website, but folks can look at the original organization's sites to see more about what we do.
Additionally - for those who have posted "I can't afford to donate", let me tell you, EVERY DOLLAR MAKES A DIFFERENCE!!!! Some of the patients we assist are doing okay paying their bills, but have to drive to a radiation appointment every weekday for 6-8 weeks. If they live 30 miles away, that's a HUGE change in their gasoline consumption each month. We offer gasoline cards in $25, $50 and $100 increments. Some people only need their co-pays on their medicines paid, which can be as little as $5. No amount is too small - it all helps.
Thanks again - we appreciate the opportunity to spread the word a little bit more. :)
The Uncultured Project. It's not a charity but it's an amazing project started by one person about communities helping each other. Here is a fabulous video explaining what the project is about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=govC4Ie_Z3U
Great idea, Jay! Here are my suggestions:
That's the spirit!
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