Seasons Givings: 2008
by Devanshu Mehta
A few years ago, this blog made the front page of Slashdot with a list of “geek” charities and projects that I thought were worth my donations.
For this year, I have a shortened list- a couple of old favorites and a couple of new favorites. Let me start with the new:
In their own words:
DonorsChoose.org is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.
Proposals range from “Magical Math Centers” ($200) to “Big Book Bonanza” ($320), to “Cooking Across the Curriculum” ($1,100). Any individual can search such proposals by areas of interest, learn about classroom needs, and choose to fund the project(s) they find most compelling. In completing a project, donors receive a feedback package of student photos and thank-you notes, and a teacher impact letter.
This is fantastic- and you can select a school close to your home if you want. They funded over $6.4 million worth of school projects in 2008.
Kiva lets you make loans to the working poor- you will be repaid, but without interest. You can fund real people, with real small business projects. They partner with expert microfinance institutions in the regions where you lend money. I’ve been lending small amounts of money to projects all over the world for a couple of years now- it works, the money has always been repaid.
And then there are a few old favorites- no surprise if you read this blog regularly.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
If you believe in any of the things I write about here- defending your rights in the digital world- then EFF is fighting for you. Just today, they announced that they are challenging the constitutionality of the law granting telecom immunity to the companies that helped the government in its domestic illegal wiretapping.
For an idea about why I support Creative Commons, check out my article about why this blog is CC licensed. I joined the Creative Commons network a couple of days ago- if nothing else, it gives you a free, privacy-protected openID profile.
And a few honorable mentions:
- The Sunlight Foundation, which works on transparency in government.
- FreePress.net, which works on media reform.
- Change-Congress, which works on reducing the influence of money in politics (recently started by Lawrence Lessig).