Donations 2009

Did most of my end-of-year donations in mid-December, but finished the last few in a mad scramble at the end of the year and didn't get around to posting about them. So here, too belatedly to be of any use for 2009, are the organizations I donated to.

Almost all of this is repeated from last year (and previous years). Sadly, I dropped a couple of organizations from the list this year due to cash flow shortage; I'll have more money this summer, but for now things are a little tight. New items on the list (since last year) are in italics.

The list is categorized for ease of scanning, though the categories are somewhat arbitrary in some places. Some items are listed under multiple categories.

Almost all of these organizations take donations online, either by credit card or PayPal.

Donations to almost all of these organizations are tax-deductible in the US.

Aid and relief

American Jewish World Service
They're "dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality [through] grants to grassroots organizations, volunteer service, advocacy and education." They came to my attention when they were helping fund underground schools for Afghan girls during the reign of the Taliban.
A Child's Right
"[T]he only water relief organization whose sole focus is bringing aid to vulnerable children in urban centers. In three years [they] have brought clean, safe drinking water to over 250,000 children in cities around the world." A family friend has volunteered with them, and I like what I've heard about them.
Direct Relief International
"[P]rovides medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people victimized by poverty, disaster, and civil unrest at home and throughout the world." I found out about them through Google's tsunami relief page in 2004, but like most of the organizations listed there, they also do good work worldwide and year-'round.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières
See listing under Medical organizations.
Habitat for Humanity
They build houses for people, and require those people to help build other houses for other people. Some friends of mine don't like the fact that Habitat is a Christian organization, but that doesn't bother me. They seek "to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action." They "invite people of all backgrounds, races, and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need." As far as I can tell, they don't proselytize.
American Red Cross
Provides services including "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." And talking with Kam about her volunteer work with them has made me like them more—among other things, last I heard, 97 percent of their workforce consists of volunteers. Various friends of mine are strongly opposed to donating to them for various reasons, but my sense at the moment is that they do enough good work to balance out the negatives.
This is the organization that Arthur C. Clarke recommended supporting in Sri Lanka after the tsunami. They've been around for nearly 50 years. They have an American branch, Sarvodaya USA, that's registered as a 501(c)(3); Americans who donate to the US branch can deduct the donations.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
They give food to people who need it. There are affiliated organizations all over the US.

Art and culture

Broad Universe
"[A]n international organization with the primary goal of promoting science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women."
Carl Brandon Society
Their mission is "to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction."
Clarion West
An annual six-week speculative-fiction writing workshop; I attended long ago. Many attendees have gone on to have high-profile careers in sf.
"[W]orks to build support for South Asian and diaspora writers by enhancing public awareness [...], creating opportunities for new and aspiring South Asian writers [...], and developing a supportive community."
KALW public radio
The Bay Area's other public radio station. I don't listen to it as much as I listen to KQED, but I do appreciate that it's there.
KQED public radio
One of the few radio stations I listen to these days, usually in the car. Though since I don't drive much, I don't listen to the radio much. Still, worth supporting.
Speculative Literature Foundation
Their mission is to "promote literary quality in speculative fiction, by encouraging promising new writers, assisting established writers, facilitating the work of quality magazines and small presses in the genre, and developing a greater public appreciation of speculative fiction." I postponed my donation this time, but will be donating extra later this year when I'll have more cash on hand.
Strange Horizons
The online sf magazine I'm an editor for.

Domestic civil liberties and civil rights

American Civil Liberties Union
Supporting civil liberties, especially freedom of speech, in the US. (Donations to the ACLU are not tax-deductible.)
Center for Constitutional Rights
Public-interest lawyers "dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights"; they've put in a lot of work on the legal situation for the detainees at Guantánamo Bay, among other things.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Sort of the online/digital equivalent of the ACLU, "confront[ing] cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights." I sometimes disagree vehemently with their phrasing and approaches, but I strongly support most of the work they do.
No on 1 / Protect Maine Equality
Worked to try to defeat Maine's Prop. 1, which rescinded same-sex marriage in Maine. Sadly, this campaign was unsuccessful.
Approve Referendum 71
Successfully worked to approve Washington State's Referendum 71, assuring strong marriage-in-all-but-name domestic partnerships.

Education and learning resources

Coyote Point Museum
A nature learning center here on the Peninsula; I'm most interested in their wildlife program. A couple of us donate in Alex's memory every year. See my entry describing Kam's and my visit a couple years ago.
Excellent and educational "museum of science, art, and human perception" in San Francisco. I rarely make it up there, but I maintain my membership anyway, to support their work.
Peter Hartman Fund at the Pierce College Foundation
My father taught at a community college near Tacoma, WA, called Pierce College. After his murder, the college set up a fund in his name for providing math books for disadvantaged students. If you'd like to donate to it, fill out the online form and specify "Peter Hartman Fund" in the "Where would you like your donation to go?" text box. (As with most of the items on this page, the Foundation is a 501(c)(3), so donations to it are tax-deductible.) Unfortunately, something went wonky with my donation this time; it got processed in the UK and converted to euros, and my credit card charged me a large foreign currency processing fee. But I'm sorting that out with the college, and I'll ask them to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.
Project Vote Smart
Provides a lot of useful information about ballot measures and candidates.
Resource Center for Nonviolence
A Santa Cruz-based "thirty year old peace and social justice organization dedicated to promoting the principles of nonviolent social change and enhancing the quality of life and human dignity." As usual, John McCutcheon will be doing a pair of benefit concerts for them in Santa Cruz this coming weekend, January 22 and 23, with the latter being (as usual) a kids-and-family-focused concert.
Room to Read
See listing under Kids.
Swarthmore College
My alma mater, still providing an excellent liberal arts education.
Wikimedia Foundation
Wikipedia is the single website that I visit most often (aside from the ones run by my employer), and probably the most useful and informative site I visit regularly. I use it all the time, for all sorts of things.

Environment and wildlife

This section is surprisingly paltry. This year, when I have more cash on hand, I'll add a couple of environmental organizations.

Coyote Point Museum
See listing under Education and learning resources.
Nature Conservancy
My donations to them are kind of roundabout, but I do support them. Even though they gave out my name and address to dozens of other organizations this year.

Kids and young adults

A Child's Right
See listing under Aid and relief.
City Year
"[U]nites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them skills and opportunities to change the world."
Room to Read
"[P]artners with local communities throughout the developing world to provide quality educational opportunities by establishing libraries, creating local language children's literature, constructing schools, and providing education to girls." Since 2000, they've helped local communities in Asia and Africa build 832 schools and 7,526 libraries, among other things. Oh, and they've donated 6 million books and funded nearly 8,800 long-term scholarships for girls.

Medical organizations

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières
"[P]rovides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters." They do good work, even if they do have wacky ideas about titles. I continue to refuse to donate to them 'til they stop requiring a title in their web form; I've been asking them to fix that for four years, and was told a couple years ago that they were working on it. I could certainly donate by phone without giving a title, but I'm annoyed with them. Still, they do good work, and as soon as they fix their online donation form, I'll send them money. I may even decide to stop being annoyed by this and just send them money anyway. But I do find it bizarre and baffling that (unlike every other organization on this list) you can't donate to them online without telling them your gender. I've told them exactly how to fix this; depending on their underlying system, it would take any competent web programmer about one to thirty minutes to get rid of the requirement. But they won't do it, and they've stopped replying to my emails about it. (A couple years ago, one of their webmasters sent me a condescending note containing false information in response to one of my email queries about this.)
Haight Ashbury Free Clinics
They've been providing "free, high quality, demystified and comprehensive health care that is culturally sensitive, nonjudgmental and accessible to all" in San Francisco for over 40 years now.
The Women's Community Clinic
Another San Francisco organization providing high-quality free healthcare: "free health care for women, by women." Came to my attention via a Jon Carroll column in 1999.


Broad Universe
See listing under Art and culture.
Global Fund for Women
"[A]n international network of women and men committed to a world of equality and social justice. [They] advocate for and defend women's human rights by making grants to support women's groups around the world."
The Women's Community Clinic
See listing under Medical organizations.

Closing note

If you donate online to nonprofits, I strongly recommend finding the little box many of them provide that says either "Yes, it's okay to share my name with other organizations" or "Please don't share my name with other organizations" and checking or unchecking it as appropriate. Maybe everyone knows this, but in case not: it's quite common for nonprofits to trade or sell their mailing lists, which can result in a flood of donation requests from other organizations. Many of which are also worthy, but there's only so many places one person can donate to—and I hate junk mail anyway.

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