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Christmas Cheer The Almighty Buck

What Organizations Do You Contribute To? 92

Cymage asks: "I usually do my charitable contributions in December, and so I am looking at organizations to give to. I try to give to organizations with different areas of focus. Here are some of the ones I have given to in the past/am considering: Basic Needs (Atlanta) - Food Bank and St Vincent, Promoting Self-Sufficiency - Habitat and Heifer, and Digital Rights/Software - EFF, Mozilla, SourceForge, and BitTorrent. What other organizations, especially technical ones, do you give to and why?"
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What Organizations Do You Contribute To?

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  • I give to (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The Parents Television Counsel, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Business Software Alliance, Microsoft, Clear Channel, and several other groups.
    • The first thing I thought of when I saw the topic was "Microsoft -- the licensing comes due in December" but I missed on getting this tid-bit in first... I need to stop paying so much attention to my job and pay closer attention to /. so I don't miss such opportunities to post. Oh well...
    • Seriously! Where do you think the DVD-CCA gets their funding? From that LOTR box set you had to have! If you think what happened to Jon was wrong, stop throwing money at the machine that made it happen. Is hollywood's entertainment worth the society it creates?

      This is why I've never purchased a DVD with CCS or region coding, and don't plan to ever do so. (They're a great way to store data.) If you can't kick the DVD habit, at least give a few bucks to the EFF each time you indulge.

      How about the RIAA? Find
  • OpenBSD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nocomment ( 239368 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @03:43PM (#11084210) Homepage Journal
    why? because I care.
  • Charities (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ratbert42 ( 452340 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @03:44PM (#11084219)
    After a friend of my daughter went through surgery and radiation for a brain tumor, I donate to:

    The Ronald McDonald House in particular is amazing. I followed another young girl with terminal cancer that, when she was discharged from the hospital with a week or two to live, said she'd rather live at the Ronald McDonald House for her last few weeks since she'd spent so much time there.

  • time == money? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OmniVector ( 569062 ) <egapemoh ym ees> on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @03:49PM (#11084293) Homepage
    i don't really have much cash to give, being a college student.. but i do donate a lot of programmer time to projects. my current favorite is opendarwin. i try and port things whenever i get the time (which isn't often lately).
    • IMO Apple isn't really a charity.
    • Yes and no. For the rest of your life, time is likely to be more important than money. However it is likely that at some point in the future you will have a lot of money, and still find time lacking. Please, when you reach that point continue to give both time and money. One is not a substitute for the other. If you don't have money to give you should be living right on the edge of survival. (No TV, no internet, except what is required for work)

      As a student don't give money, you don't have it. (even

  • A few (Score:5, Informative)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @03:54PM (#11084330) Journal
    I was a Sierra Club member for a while, before getting disgusted with the way they exploit general political divisions to fire up their base -- whipping a hysterical jihad against Republicans probably is lucrative for them, but I have no interest in supporting their fairy tales about arsenic. Instead, I've shifted my donations to focused environmental groups: things like the National Coalition for Marine Conservation [] or SPNI's endangered species restoration.

    I'd also recommend Spirit of America []: whether or not you support the process by which we got involved in Afghanistan and Iraq, this is a terrific way of trying to get it to work out for the better.

    • I am/was a member of the Sierra Club, but I agree that they have become WAY too politicized. Sure, George Bush is a "bad, bad man", but every Sierra Club newsletter blows endless hot air about Bush this, Bush that.

      I also don't like how the Sierra Club is so focused on promoting government regulation. My new favorites are the Nature Conservancy [], which works quietly but effectively, and the Rainforest Action Network [], which works directly with polluting corporations without relying on (much?) government stron
  • Family scholarship (Score:4, Interesting)

    by (trb001) ( 224998 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @03:59PM (#11084389) Homepage
    When my grandmother's brother passed away earlier this year, his immediate family started a scholarship fund at the local high school in Bolivar, NY that he had attended as a kid. They set the terms, and decided it would be an anonymous nomination process among the teachers based on a few criteria (work ethic, morals, etc) and would be handed out at graduation, unbeknownst to the recipient. The area isn't what I would call depressed, but it's no booming economy where everyone can afford to go off to college. The fund is small right now ($500/year handed out), but I'm hoping my whole family will contribute a little to it each year.

    I'm willing to bet that a lot of high schools have similar funds for seniors. If not, starting one would be an excellent project and use of your charitable contributions. I think it's a great way to give something that helps locally (you'll see the results of your money) and will help further someone's education. As a side (and somewhat selfish) benefit, my grandmother, who is in her late 70's, doesn't really need more trinkets or useless crap laying around her house, so instead of presents some of us are contributing extra to the fund in her name.

  • I donate to the human fund, and I also skip gifts and instead donate to the human fund!

    They help people, I think....
  • by cpeterso ( 19082 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @04:09PM (#11084531) Homepage

    Even though I'm a libertarian, I still like to help people. ;-) But where are the libertarian-friendly, tax-deductible charity organizations? Libertarians talk about how private charities would be more beneficial and efficient than bloated gub'mint bureaucracies, but many of the libertarians don't put their money where their mouth is.

    Here is the list of charities I've settled on. They are not 100% Pure Libertarian, but I think they honor the spirit of small-l libertarianism. These links are ALL tax-deductible.
    • The ACLU Foundation [] is the arm of the American Civil Liberties Union that conducts its litigation and communication efforts. ACLU Foundation is tax-deductible, but the ACLU is NOT tax-deductible.

    • The American Red Cross [] offers domestic disaster relief; community services that help the needy; support and comfort for military members and their families; the collection, processing and distribution of lifesaving blood and blood products; educational programs that promote health and safety; and international relief and development programs.

    • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [] (SPCA) provides effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals through national programs in humane education, public awareness, government advocacy, shelter support, and animal medical services and placement.

    • Amnesty International [] undertakes research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination.

    • The Cato Institute [] seeks to broaden public policy debate to include the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace.

    • The Electronic Frontier Foundation [] works to protect fundamental rights regardless of technology; to educate the press, policymakers and the general public about civil liberties issues related to technology; and to act as a defender of those liberties.

    • The Nature Conservancy [] preserves the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive through land acquisition and conservation easements.

    • The Rainforest Action Network [] campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants, and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through grassroots organizing, education, and non-violent direct action.

    • Trickle Up [] helps the lowest income people worldwide take the first step up out of poverty, by providing conditional seed capital and business training essential to the launch of a microenterprise.

    • by snooo53 ( 663796 ) * on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @05:29PM (#11085714) Journal
      There's an article in Smart Money about the Red Cross that doesn't paint a pretty picture. Here is an excerpt...

      Article []

      For instance, in its fiscal year ending on June 30, 2002, the American National Red Cross spent $1.16 billion on employee salaries. Spending on actual disaster relief assistance for individuals was only $608 million. Of that, $479 million was for Sept. 11 assistance. This spending occurred only after the media put loads of heat on the organization. During the preceding fiscal year (the one ending on June 30, 2001), the Red Cross spent $1.04 billion on employee salaries and only $149 million on actual assistance for individuals.

      Despite all this seemingly damning evidence, Charity Navigators gives the Red Cross a four-star rating, largely because of the organization's financial strength (which after a point, becomes more of a negative than a positive in my view). This is why I think doing your own research is highly advisable, especially if you're contemplating major gifts.

      Personally, if you wanted to help through the Red Cross, I'd suggest giving blood instead.

      • hmmm, thanks for the article link. I'll need to research the Red Cross more. :\ I was also contemplating the United Way instead of the Red Cross, but most of the United Way programs seem to brag about how they promote and work with goverment agencies (instead of directly helping people).

      • The Better Business Bureau's [] charity reports web site says Red Cross CEO Marsha Johnson Evans' base salary is $450,000 and former American Red Cross CEO Dr. Bernadine Healy received total compensation of $1,921,913 (which includes a $1,569,630 severance)!! I know some charities offer high salaries because "executive-quality" people can find high paying jobs elsewhere, paying THAT much for a charity does not project a good image. >:\
      • by Joe5678 ( 135227 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @09:09PM (#11088579)
        I would have to guess that the billion dollars isn't spent on people sitting around counting money, but on people out doing charitable work.

        charitynavigator lists Program Expenses at 91.1% of their budget, this amount includes both material costs of doing their work, as well as labor. Administration Expenses is 5.2%, which isn't great considering their budget, it's probably justified.

        What you have found is merely sensational journalism (probably not even journalism) that is expressing the statistics in a way they need to make their story.

        The Red Cross isn't made up of volunteers, so they do in fact need to pay the people doing the work.
  • by keesh ( 202812 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @04:14PM (#11084624) Homepage
    I contribute to Debian because I enjoy backstabbing, political flamefests, being held up by the oversized rusty buttplugs worn by the managers and having patches rejected because they don't contain the term "GNU" frequently enough.

    Oh, wait, no, that's why I stopped.
  • I usually drop in the coin change from when I buy something this time of year. Other than that, nothing.
  • I'm also looking to make my charitable contribution, but I'm not sure on the specifics (this is the first year I've had money enough to give). How do I know how much of a tax break I'm getting? What determines how much I can give? All the web resources I've checked out pretty much say "Talk to CPA", and I don't know any CPAs that will have that discussion for free. Any Slashdotters have any tips?
    • I'm not a tax guy, but my memory is that it's rather complex, but unless you're donating 10's of thousands of dollars you can deduct it all from you taxes -- remember this means you don't get taxed on that amount, not that you get that much back!

      I don't remember the specifics, but a couple of years ago we went over the yearly limit and our tax guy worked it so that the over-amount was carried over to the next year.

      But yeah, you should talk to a CPA. Or just give the money away and then have the CPA do yo
    • I don't know what the yearly limit is, but if you give over a certain amount annually to a single organization (I believe it's $3,000), you need a receipt from them; send a copy of it with your return.

      How much will you save on taxes? Roughly your tax percentage times your donations. For instance, if you are buying a home, have kids and give a fair amount to charity, your real tax rate might be around 10% (taxes owed / gross income / 100). In this case, your tax benefit is 10% of whatever you give. IO

  • by bhima ( 46039 )
    I only donate time (and all the money I spend during that time)

    I only do things in my locality (due to travel time)

    I refuse to give a penny to or have anything to do with abrahamics (judaism, christianity, & islam) as they cause enough misery without my help.

    I only work about 20 hours a week and this keeps me really busy, I've become quite the handyman and good with filling out various forms for the local government.

    You don't have to look far before you find something worthy your time and money and

  • If you're a gamer (or even if you're not) you should check out Child's Play []. It's a charity set up by the Penny Arcade [] guys to give games and toys to kids in hospitals who need them.

    Last year (the first year) they raised something like $250k and really did a lot of good for the hospitals.

    It's a chance for gamers to show the community what we're really about instead of being stereotyped as violent misfits living in basements.
  • If you appreciate noncommercial media, you may want to support them. If you live in the US, you are likely near a PBS television station and an NPR radio affiliate. If you're really lucky, you may have some excellent college radio stations or a Pacifica affiliate. I particularly enjoy KFJC [] and support them every year. Some broadcasters may not be actively soliciting funds during this period (KFJC for example has its yearly fund drive in October), but I'm sure they'd be willing to accept donations at any tim
    • Thank you! You beat me to it. You should be able to contribute to your local Public Television station/network using their web site, and I doubt any would turn down a check that arrived unsolicited in the mail either.

      I got hooked on science and technology as a kid watching Nova, Doctor Who, 3-2-1 Contact, Zoom, and a host of other science and sci-fi programs on Public Television. It may not be quite what it used to be, but it's still the first and best source of early GOOD TV science hooks for kids. Ac
  • I try to run as many cost-free programs as possible on a day to day basis. I do try to donate some money when I can to them, as I know they put out a considerable amount of effort. I have no problem sending some money in for a program I find useful and is quality work.

    Haven't put at my list together yet this year, but typically the guys at putty, Mozilla Foundation, OpenOffice.Org and a few others.

    Even just a few extra dollars helps these and other projects out! Give what you can--or wait until the su
  • Some sites I use a lot take PayPal contributions, such as []
    The Salvation Army
    The Goodwill Computer Store (semi-technical?)
    The Ronald McDonald House
    Some kids who don't have a dad around
    Our church always helps 1-3 needy families (it's a small church)
    A local veterans organization
    The NRA
    Blue or Brown Santa, or Toys for Tots
    sometimes a local homeless group
    You might consider having the homeless in for a meal
    local boy, girl, cub, etc. scouts
    pretty much any kid who shows up at our doo
  • by jkujawa ( 56195 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @05:14PM (#11085530) Homepage
    ... when you're a member of both the NRA and the ACLU.

    Seriously. I think my junk mail gets in fights in my mail box.
  • Year round (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bluGill ( 862 ) on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @05:18PM (#11085577)

    First of all, giving should be year round. Odds are family obligations this time of year take a lot of your free cash. Even if you could give, it is sometimes a good idea to put a little extra into retirement accounts if you are not up to the yearly max. (See a professional for advice, and you need to consider your own situation) I'm not saying give to yourself first, but there are many reasons this should be a month where you might give less than normal. But only if there is a normal.

    First of all, give blood if you can. The restrictions are so tough that most of you cannot, but for those who can, please give often! In the same note, make sure you have an organ donor card filled out with the state.

    Next, check your charities. I refuse to give to the United Way because they spend so much on promotion. (nearly half the money you give them isn't spent on good causes) Unfortunately they do know the small causes that you should be giving to, so I can't say they are evil, just I don't like them. Don't give to them unless you are at a loss for anything else to give to.

    I give to Ducks Unlimited [] every spring when their fund raiser comes up.

    Every time I get groceries give $3 to the local food shelf. (my local store will add that onto my bill, or they have a collection point at the exit for foods I buy) It isn't much, but it adds up. (disclaimer, I just started this, my goal is to make this last though)

    My local electric co-op rounds all my bills up to the nearest dollar. That $6/year all goes to charity, and I don't even notice. Suggest your utilities do the same.

    I'm not going to cover what others have said. The important part is to find what works for you, and then do it.

    • Make sure you know your state's rules on organ donation too! In New York State, that little card means nothing. Your next-of-kin gets to make the final say, and usually they have to make this decision at a very difficult time, so make sure they know your choice!

      As for other states or countries, it's up to you to find out the procedure.
    • These are NOT charities! What you listed are highly partisan political organizations.

      I'm seeing people list a lot of special interest, activist organizations pushing political agendas. Instead of relief organizations like Samaritan's Purse [] and Operation Blessing [], I'm seeing Mozilla and Pacifica Radio?? (I just reloaded the comments, and there are more real charities listed now.) Look, I'm a member of, and I'm glad there is alternative media, but give me a break! What about the sick, the

      • I didn't say that these groups were charities. I just said that they're the groups I give money to. All of them are about helping the oppressed, the persecuted, the abused. And I believe that they need the money now more than ever because of the current administration and it's lack of respect for peoples rights. (I wouldn't have mentioned it, but you brought up the republicans -- who I certainly don't want in power)
      • What about the oppressed, the persecuted, the abused? How about some priorities? There are a lot of people in the world who need your donations more than the lawyers at the ACLU and Stallman's cronies at the EFF.

        I would consider donating to the ACLU because it helps the oppressed. It may not be popular to support Nazi speech (using one example), but it is necessary in order to support free speech.

        In the same light, I would consider donating to the EFF because I believe that Stallman's "right to re

        • I would consider donating to the ACLU because it helps the oppressed.

          When I speak of oppression, I'm mostly thinking about the slaves in Africa and the worldwide sex slave trade. There are human rights organizations (mostly Christian) buying people out of slavery in Africa and rescuing women and children from the sex slave trade.

          The ACLU has a skewed perspective as to who is "oppressing" whom. They say that a person engaged in homosexuality has a "right" to join the Boy Scouts of America, an organizatio

          • The ACLU has a skewed perspective as to who is "oppressing" whom. They say that a person engaged in homosexuality has a "right" to join the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that requires belief in and respect for the God of the Bible. The ACLU thus attacks (oppresses?) the BSA in order to force an unqualified person into its organization. The ACLU acts to destroy the BSA and other organizations that have rules for membership. In cases like this, homosexuals and the ACLU are ones trying to take away

            • 1] Other than the atheism ideology, communism seems *much* closer to the teachings of Jesus than capitalism.

              Actually, communism and atheism have nothing to do with each other. Stalin and other "communist" dictators opposed religion only because they didn't like sharing power (and weren't smart enough to work through religion like so many other dictators). But you're right, Jesus would have favored communism over capitalism.
              • Well, I'm glad at least someone admits openly that Jesus would likely have been a Red. Just goes to further confirm that we'll have to wait for the Antichrist to make an honest profit and keep it.
          • person engaged in homosexuality has a "right" to join the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that requires belief in and respect for the God of the Bible

            Because, of course, all of those gay Christians are just faking their belief in God. How sneaky of them!
          • You're simply wrong. Wrong on just about every level. I know several Republicans who, like the other members of the ACLU, value our political heritage and our constitutional rights. Without those rights, we're nothing.

            I should not be compelled to fund religious organizations with my tax dollars. That is an obscenity. If the BSA is a religious organization, as it appears to be, then it should not benefit in any way from public funds. That was the gist of the argument in Dale v. BSA. Public group = no d
    • The Americans United against what? We do have a separation. Where do we not?

    They have the BEST it's a good thing to do. How many comic strip artists publish with O'Reilly?

    Illiad is awesome. (I am in no way affiliated with User Friendly, I'm just a fangirl ;-)).

  • If I get a phone call during normal supper time, I won't give to that charity unless it is one I REALLY care about. Especially if they are rude to me. A couple months ago I got a call from a Firefighters charity at 6:00pm, just as I was sitting down to dinner. I politely told the individual I was not interested but before I could finish, they hung up on me. They won't be seeing any of my money.

    Recently the news reported that the local police were hiring a private group to collect donations door to door

    • Almost every 3 months, I hear something on the news or read in the paper about a "charity" that is collecting on behalf of some police or fire group and keeping most or all of the donations for themselves. Sometimes it's just an outright scam and the police warn people not to give them money. If there are any legitimate police/fire charities that telemarket or go door-to-door, the majority of the bad apples have ruined it for the few good ones, just like the telemarketing industry as a whole. Because the pr
  • Charity begins at home, so most of my monetary donations go to Austin First United Methodist Church. I also volunteer in their homeless ministries, and in renovating houses around the Austin area.
  • USO (Score:3, Informative)

    by jhines ( 82154 ) <> on Tuesday December 14, 2004 @05:35PM (#11085789) Homepage
    I don't agree with the war, but support the folks fighting it.
  • I give to my church (the local Christian & Missionary Alliance) and I give to the Salvation Army.
  • Once upon a time, the NRA [] received dues from me, it took only one major election cycle to notice that they are merely shills for the Republican and Democrat parties. Libertarians are, how can I put this politely..., a freaking thorn in their side. What's the one thing that would bankrupt the NRA? Actual enforcement of the Bill of Rights! Then the NRA would have to go back to being a marksmanship club. Boo Hoo!

    So I went looking for a more focused rights-oriented, rather than money oriented, organization and
  • by Moleman ( 74531 )
    Doctor's Without Borders. Can't go wrong with a Nobel Prize winner.
    • Yup, Médecins Sans Frontières [] are at the top of my donations list. Mainly because they go to all the places no-one else wants to go, and do the crap work that no-one else wants to do.
    • Might I also suggest Engineers Without Borders?

      A similarily worthwhile cause that probably resonates with the /. crowd.
  • by tsa ( 15680 )
    A few years ago I decided to only give to organizations that deal with people in need. So out went the WWF and Greenpeace. I now give to Amnesty International, the salvation Army, The Dutch heart Foundation (I have a heart desease myself so I feel I get the mony back when I go to hospital again), MSF and a Dutch foundation that helps people who are mentally handicapped.
  • Most of my money goes to the Feed Kano Foundation. Food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and the various other needs of myself take so much of my money that I don't have enough for anything else.

  • No one else mentioned this fine organization which also has an entertaining newsletter: The Freedom from Religion Foundation [] is committed to keeping the boundaries between church and state.
    • Along the same lines, Americans United for Separation of Church and State ( AU is perhaps more interested in maintaining the wall of separation for the purpose of perserving both religion and state than is FFRF.

      So if you're not a nontheist, AU might be a choice you're more comfortable with. Traditional conservatives, people who grasp the concept of democracy, liberals of all kinds, the religious and the non should all be working together to protect our right to be free from each OTHER'S religion
  • I will reiterate aboout Heifer International; they do good work.
  • Because I'm a cold hearted, selfish bastard.


    [sort of...]

    I'm of the opinion that most Americans are far too indebted to even consider charitable donation. They should take care of that first, and then donate later when they don't have interest charges knocking down their door.

    They then have more money for themselves, meaning they're less likely to need philanthopy, and more able to give it.

    Hey, you asked...
    • If Americans could refrain from buying shit they don't need [], they wouldn't be in such debt.

      Answer me honestly: How many of the "gifts" you're buying this season are honestly useful and needed? How much of that unnecessary spending goes onto a credit card?

      Americans by and large aren't in need of philanthropy. They're in need of common fiscal sense. There are definitely people, at home and abroad, who need help. Try that instead of buying uncle Jim another tie he'll never wear.
  • Our family tithes to our home congregation, and I support the local Pregnancy Care Center, which offers alternatives to abortion and counseling for sufferers of Post Abortion Trauma.

    We also support a little girl in Ecuador, who happens to be the same age as our youngest son. This is through an organization called Compassion.
  • Being vegan, I have a few problems with Heifer []. Sending livestock to people in 3rd world countries is really dumb. You need to grow a significant amount of grains to feed livestock, which can be just as easily used for human consumption. Livestock is just not ideal for these kinds of economies.
    • Gotta disagree with you there friend. Heifer International has many options that don't require grains or much in the way of land. I personally like sending people a brace of rabbits [], but there are beehives, trees, goats, sheep and pigs. Sure, everyone knows the 4lbs corn:1lb beef ratio that is so prevalent in vegan literature, but you have to remember that's the model of first-world agribusiness, not traditional farming. Heck, for most of the beef industry's history in the US, cattle were grass-fed. A
      • You didn't buy a brace of rabbits. You donated X amount of dollars to the general Heifer fund. They decided where your money went. Yet another reason to not trust these people. There is a decent critique of the organization here [].

        As for grass grazing of cattle: If the grass grows so could grains. There are hundreds of grains humans can live off of, that don't promote soil erosion like overgrazing livestock.

  • This year I gave to:


    I've used these products for years (at work too) and realized I really needed to pay them back for the tremendous functionality they've given me to do my job.

    I even sent money to dpreview since the content is so excellent I really wanted to pay for it (haven't bought yet, so couldn't use their linked retailers).

    Several I would've liked to give to but giving money wasn't available or wasn't easy (paypal): fedora, pine, jpluck, xawtv, mplayer, xmms, grip, la
  • Money is nice... but if you can do it, donate your time. This is something that I wish I did more of. Its easy to give money, but your time is more valuable to many charaties.

    As for money gifts, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Big Brother, Big Sister.
  • If the tax deductions ended today, would you still give? Many wouldn't. And if they don't end, do you give completely anonymously? Why not?
    • I would continue to give. I make enough along with my wife that giving is not a financial problem. I try to give 2-3% of gross, but that should probably be higher.
      As far as taxes go, I do list my donations on my taxes. I have considered giving anonymously, but don't really see a need to do that. I try to give to charities based upon what they do and how they are run. The tax deduction is just a nice side effect. I do agree that donations in general would be less if they were not deductable.
    • In answer to your first question, the tax deductions don't matter an iota for a lot of people. Unless you have a whole lotta deductions, you're going to be better off taking the Standard Deduction anyway so your charitable giving "doesn't count" that way.

      For a single person, the standard deduction is almost $5,000; married is almost $10k. So you'd have to have a lot of deductions for other reasons, or give over that amount, to have it matter for tax purposes.
  • I put a lot of personal time and effort into ISAIAH [], a coalition of Minnesota churches working for social justice through systemic change.

    This group is not about evangelizing. It's about getting down and dirty in the political process to effect real change. I am working on securing dedicated funding for public transportation in Minnesota. I have been amazed by what this group does. Immigration reform, brownfields cleanup, affordable housing, domestic violence -- the list just goes on. The Gamaliel F []

  • At my (public school) campus, religious groups get only $300 a year from the University and the rest has to be made in donations. Because of the students' lack of money, it is hard to ask them for donations.

    I suggest going to your almamater and donating a few hundred dollars to your campus ministry, Chabad, or Hillel. With tight budgets, religious organizations provide cost effective and selfless support to many students.
  • I give to Hospice as much as I can during the year. Hospice provides support and compassionate care for the terminally ill and their families.
  • The Joe Homan Charity [] basically helps kids out of child labor in India, and gives them an education instead.

    Simple, lightweight organization, mostly locally run and administered.

  • Nice thing about working for my company (Juniper Networks) is that they'll match (most) any charitable donation up to $1000/yr. A lot of companies do this, so be sure to find out if yours does too.

    Anyways, each year I give to the EFF (should be obvious why) and Ducks Unlimited ( who help protect America's wetlands.
  • There are a few recycling-refurbishing programs here in the bay area who could use the support of a few extra geekbucks.... besides mine... including:

    The Access 2 Technology Project [] which collects discarded Apple Macintosh computer equipment to use in a classroom math/science program for 4th and 5th graders. A2T teaches the kids how computers work by having them take apart, clean, test and refurbish the equipment. Then, by the end of the program, the kids have rebuilt a computer that they get to KEEP! T

  • 1. The Libertarian Party []

    I donate money to these guys... yearly dues + the occassional one-off donation to help a particular project.

    2. Civietown Volunteer Fire Department.

    I was an active member of this VFD from about 1989 through 2000, during which time I held every position from "probie" to acting fire chief, and led the department in "calls answered" in 1999 while serving as assistant chief. I spent more hours than I care to recall conducting training meetings, working on equipment, filling out pape

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