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Charity Season!!!

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Hey all! Hope you had a FABULOUS holiday! Gonna upload a video about my vacation soon, but wanted to drop in and remind you that it’s charity donation season! I have a few places I always give to, thought I’d list them if you’re interested in some good causes to support!

Mr. Hollands Opus Foundation: http://www.mhopus.org/
Donates instruments to needy US public schools and keeps their music programs running when they’re threatened. As a former musician myself, violin got me a full scholarship to college and enriched my life in many ways. Very low overhead too. They also take instrument donations and refurb them!

Wikimedia (owns Wikipedia): http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home
I consider this the public radio of the internet. We all use it, we should support it to keep it going, because if it disappeared our internet life would be much sadder.

Stray Cat Alliance: http://www.straycatalliance.org/
I donate to several other animal charities, but this one addresses the root of the problem of stray cats. They capture, and release feral cats and prevent them from making more feral cats. Good idea!

Kiva: http://www.kiva.org/
This is a very cool charity where you’re actually giving a LOAN to small businesses across the globe, and when they repay the loan you get to re-invest the money in another business. Helping a woman in Mongolia open a clothing shop is a cool feeling 🙂

Please share any other ones you feel passionately about as well! I always check charities on Charity Navigator to see what percentage of donations go to actually helping their cause. Some of them are TERRIBLE with regards to overhead (As much as 80% going to their administration)

Ok, Happy donating!!

  • This is awesome, Felicia! I would also like to point out Patrick Rothfuss’s Worldbuilders, which is going on right now. It’s his annual fundraising drive for Heifer international. I know he adores you (in fact, he’s the reason I watch “The Guild”, “Legend of Neil”, and pretty much everything you do). Worldbuilders is going on right now, I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already at PatrickRothfuss.com

  • The awesome thing about Kiva is that, as you add more and more loans, eventually you reach a tipping point where your loan repayments will fund more loans without any additional investment on your part. That’s a REALLY cool feeling.

  • Since The Crash of 2008 I have donated $1/day to the Second Harvest Food Bank in my area. I have them auto-deduct $35/mo. from my checking account; I don’t even notice.

    With 50 percent of the U.S. population now poor or low income, and unemployment continuing at record levels, they have an ever increasing need for funding beyond Thanksgiving.

    All of the above are awesome, too. Choose something and help out!

  • Larry C.

    Yesterday, Christmas Day, I found out something interesting. While most grocery chains participate in the Food Share Alliance, donating past dated produce and other unsold good food to food banks, the notable exception is Costco. Every day, Costco shovels tons of perfectly good food into the landfill, when people are going hungry. If you shop at Costco, please take a moment to let them know you are not happy about their corporate policy.

  • Nathan

    Felicia you are amazing! With the exception of the Stray Cat Alliance I know, love and donate to all of these charities and I was really excited to find out you support them as well. Keep being awesome. Also another awesome charity I’d like to plug is Doctors Without Borders, They do a lot of great work helping bring medicine and treatment to people all over and are definitely worthy of people’s attention. Website here: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

  • Trevor

    Good Job Felicia! My favorite charity to support around the holidays is http://www.childsplaycharity.org/ – they help raise funds for toys and games for children’s hospitals.

  • Here’s one I bet you’ll appreciate.

    http://childsplaycharity.org/

    Here is a bit from their site:
    Since 2003, we’ve set up and organized Child’s Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in our network of over 70 hospitals worldwide. Over the years, you as a community have answered the call and come together to raise millions of dollars.

    Child’s Play works in two ways. With the help of hospital staff, we set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, books, and other fun stuff for kids. By clicking on a hospital location on our map, you can view that hospital’s wish list and send a gift.

    Child’s Play also receives cash donations throughout the year. With those cash donations, we purchase new consoles, peripherals, games, and more for hospitals and therapy facilities. These donations allow for children to enjoy age-appropriate entertainment, interact with their peers, friends, and family, and can provide vital distraction from an otherwise generally unpleasant experience.

  • Cormac

    I just heard an interesting story on NPR about how people are going into local department stores and paying off layaways, particularly near the holidays. You’re almost guaranteed to help a needy family, your money stays local, and 100% of it goes to the recipient. It wouldn’t work for businesses looking for write-offs, obviously, but if you have $50 you’d like to put to good use, that can help.

  • Mr. Holland’s Opus is definitely one of my favs. <3 Music!

    http://www.redcross.org/ – With the natural disaster that happened in the Philippines, there's no doubt that this place can help. The health of Americans as well as those all around the globe could also use a donation. I know it's a very generic place to donate to, but maybe bringing them to better health will be inspiring to them. I know it was for me when I received a toy at a hospital about 10 years ago. – Administrative fees 3.9%

    http://www.childsplaycharity.org/ – Speaking of toys… I remember having a tube up my nose and down into my stomach 10 years ago, and what got me through it? The hospital's SNES. I'm happy to see that there is a charity that gives to hospitals so that children that may have been probed to health have something to keep them occupied. – Administrative fees < 5%

  • I love the Stray Cats Alliance idea. I had not heard of it before. Thanks for sharing! This year my husband and 11 other Indie Game Devs are teaming up to donate 25% of our profits for all of December for some of our iDevice games to Doctors without Borders and Child’s Play. We’ve got a fair chuck to send and December isn’t over yet! Check us out! http://12indieapps.com/ It’s such a great feeling! Neat to see several people mentioning these charities here already!

  • Cassie

    Patrick Rothfuss (author of The Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear, and HUGE Felicia fan) does a fundraiser every year called World Builders (http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2011/12/worldbuilders-2011/) where you donate money, he matches and you’re entered into a raffle for some really awesome prizes. You can also flat out buy some of the stuff. The money goes to Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org/) which is an awesome charity. It’s still going on until January 31st, so check it out!!

  • Molly

    CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) provides an advocate for a child in or affected by the justice system. They take the kid’s side and speak for them so they will be treated fairly. It could be abuse, foster care, divorce/custody, domestic violence, delinquency, or whatever. The advocate stays on that child’s case until the situation is resolved or until the child becomes an adult. CASA is a national organization with hundreds of local offices.
    http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301295/k.BE9A/Home.htm

  • Tweeg

    Some awesome causes there.

    I like to try and donate to child’s play when I have the means.

    http://www.childsplaycharity.org/

    The charity where gamers donate so children’s hospitals can have toys/games.

    Pretty awesome

    Hope your having a awesome xmas/holiday season.

  • Bella

    I like Habitat for Humanity. The recipients often work along side the volunteers to build their house. The houses are decent and affordable and our local area has a good rating. The local food bank also has a good rating. Food and shelter are basic needs. Since I’m short on funds myself, I lean towards these kinds of charities.

  • Gregory R.

    I agree with just about all the charities you’ve listed. Sorry to sound morbid, but in many cities the feral cat situation is out of hand, and it would be a better decision to euthanize these cats. The cost of fixing these cats and releasing them back into the wild still continues their predator behavior. I enjoy seeing rabbits and birds in the backyard, and it won’t matter if that cat has balls or not, it will still kill.

    • Dear Gregory.

      I read your post and wanted to reply to it because what you wrote is a common misconception. To impound, house, kill and haul away the dead body of a shelter animal nationally costs about $250. And the supply is endless because the ones that are out there, continue to breed and have kittens.

      To fix a stray costs about $50 and there is not a continuous supply of kittens. The vast majority of wildlife are killed by yes, we humans. Loss of habitat, pesticides and in the case of birds, flying into windows, cell towers etc is the leading cause of death for these precious creatures. I too love rabbits etc and want to see them all live.

      People have done trap and kill for hundreds of years and it simple does not work. When you trap and remove a cat, new cats come in to fill up the void and those cats are not fixed.

      There are stray cats because we humans, yes humans again, abandon pet cats, these cats roam free and breed. The solution is free spay/neuter and education. Its not more human to euthanize these cats. They want to live and we would be “euthanizing” about 100 million. Its extremely expensive and inhumane.

      I hope this made sense to you and I am happy to engage in a dialog and answer any questions.

      • Gregory R.

        Neat christi metropole! I’m glad you responded to my post! Kinda made my day in a way. I did some research and unfortunately your facts seem to be way off. The humane socitey of america only charges $35 to put down a cat and there are many vets that will do it for free. And I guess you could say I live in the sticks, lots of forest area, but I see dead cats a lot, mostly half eaten by coyotes or loose house dogs. Nature itself I witnessed does a really good job of decomposing dead animals. If it costs $250 where you are to kill and dispose of a cat, someone is profiting from it. As crass as it sounds it shouldn’t cost anymore than price of a trash bag and having a good pitcher’s arm throwing it in the trash.

  • Tim

    I like The Child Welfare League of America: http://www.cwla.org . Their mission statement: “CWLA leads and engages its network of public and private agencies and partners to advance policies, best practices and collaborative strategies that result in better outcomes for vulnerable children, youth and families. Our vision is that every child will grow up in a safe, loving, and stable family. Our focus is children and youth who may have experienced abuse, neglect, family disruption, or a range of other factors that jeopardize their safety, permanence, or well-being. CWLA also focuses on the families, caregivers, and the communities that care for and support these children.” I also like the Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org

  • Tim

    I just checked Charity Navigator for CWLA, the charity I just recommended. It seems they have been in a decline in various areas for the past few years, and I was not aware of this. I take back my recommendation. But I still recommend the Red Cross.

  • Spencer G

    Consider the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with a great 90% of their donations going straight to research. They have low admin costs and they are pushing drug treatments right now through the FDA that might fix (not cure) the effects of CF on young kids. My 8 yr old daughter thanks everyone that helps her out!

  • I did the Kiva thing myself for a year, but prefer to help Habitat for Humanity instead now, Kiva just has a shady feel to it, taking zero interest loans from the public and lining their pockets with money repaid by the poor in 3rd world countries. We already have that in the US, it’s called the banking industry, who take taxpayer funded bailouts then loan that money back to the US Government by buying US Treasuries.

    The Electronic Freedom Frontier http://eff.org is always high on my list for their promotion of our freedoms remaining as we move into a digital world.

    And finally, while not actually a charity, I enjoy contributing what I can to as many projects as possible at http://vodo.net to promote starting or starving artists see their work get made, and to promote an alternative to big media and typical showbiz funding. You never know, the next Kevin Smith or Felicia Day could be found here.

  • Grant

    Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org). Donate a few dollars to provide breeding livestock (could be as small as bees or as big as a herd of cattle) to families worldwide. Provides food and self-regenerate as they breed. “Pass it on.” Bring a family or even an entire village out of poverty through a small donation.

    Of course, the best time to make a charitable donation is really early in the year, when many employers still have $$$ left in their “matching dollars” fund. If you waited until this week, the odds are your employer will have used up their charitable allotment for 2011.

  • Jasmine

    Merry Christmas Felicia and all. Daughters of Cambodia is an organization that rescues trafficked girls from prostitution and slavery. It is set up to educate and counsel the girls and teach them life skills like how to run a cafe or how to sew, and then it has set up small businesses for them to work in to support themselves and their families. You can help by buying the handmade goods or by sponsoring a girls full wage every month ($70). My sister volunteered in Cambodia and saw for herself the amazing work Daughters is doing there.

  • Real life superhero movement charity drive

    Doing a charity sock drive for the homeless in SF if anyone has the ability to send or donate socks to a good cause please follow the facebook link below and send us your socks 🙂

    http://www.facebook.com/events/178646685566200/

  • Shay

    Thank you for the suggestion Spencer – CF is a terrible illness and research improves lives. My DD turned out to be a carrier but it’s been near and dear to my heart since I googled CF after my DD failed her newborn screening.

    The National Epilepsy Foundation.

    Any and all food banks need any and all help. From clearing out your pantry [will you ever really eat that can of mixed vegetables?!] to money to volunteering your time. Food banks also often take toilet paper, soap, disposable diapers etc.

    St Jude Children’s Research hospital or any hospital that takes children regardless of their parent’s ability to pay.

  • SAMFund for Young Adult Survivors of Cancer.

    Founded
    2003

    About
    The SAMFund is designed to support young adults as they get back on their feet after cancer treatment. To date, we’ve awarded a total of $600,000 in grants and scholarships to individuals across the country… and we’re not done yet.

    Mission
    The broad mission of Surviving And Moving Forward: The SAMFund for Young Adult Survivors of Cancer is to assist cancer survivors in the United States between the ages of 17 and 35 with their transition into a successful post-treatment life.

    The SAMFund distributes grants and scholarships on an annual basis to young adults between 17 and 35 who are finished with active treatment and residents of the United States. Awards cover a wide range of “real life” financial needs such as rent, medical bills, insurance premiums, gym memberships, family building expenses and many more. The SAMFund also provides online support through its blog and free Webinar series, entitled “Moving Forward With Your Financial Health,” in addition to in-person support through its Survivors’ Network program.

    The SAMFund partners with other organizations in the cancer community to provide the most extensive support possible so that young adults can not only survive, but truly move forward.

    Email
    info@thesamfund.org

  • Raeven

    I’m uncertain of how much goes to the admin of it, but the TSAA would be one to check out. The Tourettes Syndrome Assosciation of Australia. The more donated to them the better my chances of being cured of this goddamn neurlogical disorder, and being able to live life normally.

  • I really like Heifer International. I donate via Patrick Rothfuss’s Worldbuilders fundraiser for it since they match 50% of what you donate. Chances for cool books and prizes is just another perk. 🙂

  • Rayne

    I donated to my local no kill shelter. And I volunteer with helping the canines. (allergic to cat dander. Sadly. ). There’s always an increase in abandoned animals around this time of year for some reason. Cudos to you for supporting animal charities. They have no one but us ro help them.

  • Please help us save our no kill dog rescue shelter. We have 36 dogs & out of $. Need food and need heat. Power bill 2 mo behind and we need lights & and heat for the dogs. We lost most of our donors when the Gulf Oil Spill caused them to lose their jobs and businesses. We love these dogs very much and they deserve a chance for a home. All are spayed/neutered, up to date on shots, microchipped, heartworm free and ready for a home. Can see them all at http://911ruff.org/pets.html just scroll down to see them all.

  • John W

    If you are in the military or a federal employee you can also donate to various charities through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). You can have a portion of your check taken out every payday and distributed to as many charities as you want or you can make a one time contribution as well. Chances are if you are military or a federal employee you’ve probably been approached at least once this year. Here is their website:

    http://www.opm.gov/cfc/

  • Megan

    I really like the Fistula Foundation, which is doing fantastic work to provide surgeries to repair internal trauma experienced by women who have no medical help during births or who have suffered sexual violence in wartime. They also have a four-star rating with Charity Navigator.

    http://www.fistulafoundation.org/index.html

  • Garrett

    Glad to see Child’s Play well-represented here. I’m continually impressed by the level of donations and events/auctions that support that charity. I’ve been giving ever since Mike and Jerry founded it.

    I granted my “practice fiddle” to my old high school years ago. Once I was out of college I realized that I didn’t need two of them and that there were plenty of kids renting theirs (which is such a rip-off) so I worked with my old conductor to get it in the hands of a musician from a low-income family that shows a lot of promise, someone who will stick with it all through high school. It’s passed through two musicians so far who have gone on to study music in college! A little disappointed Ms. Day is referring to herself as a “former musician” 🙁

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