Is there an official Metafilter Charity we can donate to for Christmas? December 7, 2014 6:31 AM   Subscribe

I was just wondering is there an official (or at least majority agreed) charity that Mefite's can give to in Metafilters name ? I know some people like to give to specific charities during this time of year.

I checked previous metasunder the search term "Official Charity", and didn't get any search results. Apologies if this has already been asked and answered.
posted by Faintdreams to MetaFilter-Related at 6:31 AM (30 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Hey, there isn't an official Metafilter charity, but off the top of my head, we do have a Metafilter team on (Kiva tag on Metatalk). Here's a post from last year about the effort.

Many people contributed to the New York Cares Winter Wishes program, which is wrapped up (pun!) for this year, I believe. Others can chime in with any other programs folks here are participating in.
posted by taz (staff) at 6:40 AM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Givewell's 2014 recommended charities list was recently released. If you are looking for an outstanding opportunity to give to global poverty charities its an invaluable resource. For well known historical reasons I imagine most mefites will not have looked at their charity evaluation work recently, and that is a real shame.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 6:59 AM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's cool that there is a Kiva team, but I personally find donating via that method problematic because there was some investigative journalism last year (?) about how kiva micro loans actually increase poverty rates. I'd be happy to post links if anyone is interested.

The Givewell list looks pretty comprehensive though. Thanks.

Uhm what are the ,'historical reasons' that mefites might not be giving to charity lately? I am confused.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:12 AM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

He didn't say they wouldn't be giving to charity, but rather that they might not be looking at Givewell for historical reasons.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:17 AM on December 7, 2014 [8 favorites]

Jacquilynne thanks for that link, that clarifies things a lot.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:28 AM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe we could have a yearly thread like this where mefites can nominate orgs they work with personally or have found to be helpful, for those wanting to donate.

I have a volunteer opportunity available for anyone who wants to put in some internet time for a good cause with the magic of the holliday spirit! You can ask me or Claud about it- we are simply looking for people to look up a few resource links available in their own city/state to create a large database of resources for mom's in crisis. You could spend literally 10 minutes or hours whatever time commitment you have. Often when people are in crisis the task of figuring out what resources exist feels insurmountable and people are not even connecting with resources that already exist-- we are looking to create a more extensive resources list than just emergency resources- resources that encompass a full spectrum of safety nets and wellness and enrichment and low cost accessible services.

Knowledge of websites that further supports, education, or resources for struggling/single/disabled moms with things like low cost meal plans, craft activities, stress relief ideas or activities or support forums are also helpful.
posted by xarnop at 10:25 AM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

A few places I donated in 2014:

Lucie's Place does outreach to homeless LGBTQ young adults in Little Rock, AR.

EveryLibrary is a nonprofit social-welfare organization that helps public, school and academic libraries win elections.

The National Network of Abortion Funds is what it sounds like.

And the Ferguson Municipal Public Library, well, you all know them.
posted by box at 12:17 PM on December 7, 2014

I work with a great small charity personally and I know it inside and out, would vouch wholeheartedly for its character and honor. I've never mentioned it here by name because as I have been involved with it for years, it seemed inappropriate to 'advertise' it per Metafilter guidelines. But let me know if there is any list that I could contribute it to. I'd love to put it anonymously onto a list of MeFite charities, if such a thing existed.

It's extremely worthy and very short on money because we spend very little on publicity/fundraising.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:20 PM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

I donate to all the usual causes but one that is dear to my heart is the Carolina Raptor Center.

They help make owls and eagles and hawks better!
posted by winna at 12:27 PM on December 7, 2014

Yeah, on the one hand I get that self linking is discouraged, but I also thought that was mostly for front page posts and less strict in comments. Given that we have a mefiprojects, joblisting pages and I thought we had a mefi business page somewhere? It seems like a mefi related charity orgs page would be great too.

I wasn't trying to be an ass my self linking something I'm associated with, but I feel like it would overall be a great thing if there was a place where mefites could specifically do that- channeling a lot of the good energy here towards such endeavors, I know there's a lot of people working on great causes both for paid work and volunteer/grassroots and charity projects.
posted by xarnop at 12:34 PM on December 7, 2014

Xarnop, treehorn+bunny & everyone else, how about a new page on the wiki and a metatalk post to introduce it? I could set up the wiki page, if the mods and no one else objects. It'll fit into the "Group/social stuff" category, and would look somewhat like this stub.

If we decide to go forward with such a collection, we should discuss if we just allow all charities/orgs - without vetting them - and ad a disclaimer to encourage mefites to do their own research or if we want to use some kind of objective measures before approving them to the list.
posted by travelwithcats at 1:20 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Thanks for posting this, Faintdreams, since it's something I've meant to ask.

FWIW, back in 2009 there was an official MeFi raffle for user account number 100,000, and mathowie sent the proceeds from the raffle to five charities -- you could choose one of the five when buying a ticket. The charities were:
Doctors Without Borders (which had the most amount of donations by far)
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Creative Commons

Here's the page with the results, plus links to the original announcement and the winners (and video of the raffle drawing -- highly recommended if you haven't seen it before).
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 1:30 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

travel with cats that sounds cool to me!!! I'd be curious for anyone elses leanings.
posted by xarnop at 1:37 PM on December 7, 2014

I like to donate to Reading is Fundamental (and sent my secret quonsee one of their pins this year :) )
posted by gaspode at 1:58 PM on December 7, 2014

"I was just wondering is there an official (or at least majority agreed)..."

Perish the thought.
posted by vapidave at 2:21 PM on December 7, 2014

> Equality Now is a great organization with a Metafilter connection.

What is the Metafilter connection?
posted by gingerbeer at 2:54 PM on December 7, 2014

The charity I run has a mentor-match program (you get interviewed and matched to a suitable kid by the kid's needs and interests rather than picking the child you want to sponsor) for our low risk children and we have a waiting list of about 30-40 kids so memail me if you'd like more info - it's in Cambodia, you write letters once a month - snail mail is preferred by the kids but we can translate emails - and it's $45/month.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:43 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Some friends and I run a holiday gift program for homeless children in/around Madison, WI (spoiler: there are a ton more than one might think). We gather wishlists from the kids so that we can give them things they really want and/or need, rather than just stuff that's perceived as being age/gender appropriate, and we deliver the presents right to the families. It's a big project I've spent a lot of time on for the past couple years and would love to share but it's not exactly a "Project" so I would definitely be in favor of having a collective list somewhere.
posted by teremala at 5:18 PM on December 7, 2014

The public school district that I served on the board of for 5 years and am always nattering on about has a foundation that helps support public funding shortfalls. It provides everything from copier paper (one year we ran out in January and teachers couldn't xerox!) to truancy support* to college scholarships, and you can designate where you want the money to go. You can donate online, it is tax-deductible, the woman who runs the foundation is wonderful, and even a small amount of money makes a real, tangible difference in the lives or classrooms of impoverished children. $10 buys a lot of copy paper. Or two uniform shirts. Or three dictionaries for students to keep.

*Truancy support goes out and finds out WHY students aren't attending school, and addresses the problem, which can be as simple as buying the student 5 shirts at $8 each so they can come to school in shirts without holes in them, or as complicated as addiction support. If they're arrested for truancy, cops bring them to truancy support instead of jail.

I particularly have an affection for the fine arts program (particularly the Peoria Jazz All-Stars, a historically extremely strong jazz program that has really struggled to stay funded in recent years) and the Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center, which has been a national leader in educational innovation for children in general and children in poverty in particular, but there is definitely something for everyone!

Also this is a small city with small-town type media so EVERYTHING gets reported so if you guys donated $100 collectively as "Mr. Seymore Butts" (or "Mr. Math Owie" or "The Internet") it'd be on the news and I would laugh. In fact I'm pretty sure you guys could create and endow the Math Owie Award for Excellence in Math and/or Health Sciences for $1000 or so and get 20 years of laughs out of your donations as students are awarded it every year at the awards banquet and have to write thank-you notes to Matt and it's on the news every year.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:36 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

I donate to the Randolph Area Food Shelf in my town and I help sponsor a scholarship at the local vocational school for girls in technology. Those are my two charity destinations where I just give money instead of time. I am a huge fan of EveryLibrary and should toss some money their way, thanks box for the reminder.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:49 PM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

Okay I'm going to tell a heartwarming story about Valeska Hinton to try to encourage you to donate. Valeska serves students (birth to first grade) across the entire district, but parents have to sign a contract to enroll their children there, and one of the things they have to agree to do is come to a family reading night once a month (I think First Tuesdays?). On Family Reading Night, they open up the library and the lounge-y areas so parents can cuddle their kids and read to them -- and they also have adult literacy tutors and GED specialists there and the school officials know every parent and they quietly direct the GED and literacy people to GET ON PARENTS' ASSES if they don't already have their high school diploma or speak English. And it's incredibly supportive and non-judgmental and so by May, you will see young black men whose pants are near their knees, who are 17 and have criminal records, sitting in a rocking chair with their 3-year-old child, sounding out together "Goodnight Moon" because the Family Reading Night literacy stormtroopers have been AT HIM since September and have gotten him into a literacy program and a GED program and are showing up at his apartment every single day and banging on his front door if he doesn't show up for his literacy classes. (We literally have two employees whose job this is.) You will see 40-year-old women who only speak Chinese (their husbands immigrated as doctors or engineers) who have learned enough English to read "The Runaway Bunny" and you will see doctors and lawyers whose kids are enrolled there because IT'S JUST THAT GOOD A PROGRAM reading the Hungry Caterpillar and you will see grandparents who walked across the border 40 years ago and who have lived in Spanish-exclusive communities since reading Spanish-English preschooler books to their small grandchildren with translators nearby and teaching Spanish phrases to English-speaking parents. You will see six-week ASL courses with free childcare specifically geared towards playdates so that Deaf kids' classmates' parents can learn enough ASL to understand "where is the bathroom?" and "I am hungry" and "Thank you for having me." Because Valeska Hinton knows that early childhood education isn't just about the children but about the caregivers, and they will move heaven and earth to get those caregivers reading to their kids.

It is such a happy place that whenever we visit my 5-year-old collapses bonelessly on the ground and refuses to leave and sobs when I carry him out.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:25 PM on December 7, 2014 [7 favorites]

TL;DR: The Giving Network is a charity near and dear to my heart. For me, it exemplifies the Margaret Mead quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

15 years ago, when the remnants of Hurricane Floyd hit my area, there was extensive flooding. Bound Brook and Manville were particularly hard hit. A member of my congregation, who was working as a freelance photojournalist at the time, was taking pictures of the aftermath of the flooding. Realizing that many people had lost everything, she sent an email to the congregation's email list asking folks to bring gently used basic household goods to church on Sunday. As I recall, that initial request was for sheets, blankets, towels, pots and pans. Thus was the Giving Network born.

15 years later, it's still going strong, and has expanded, but is still all volunteer. It picks up not just small household goods, but furniture as well. It picks up food from a local supermarket and delivers it to food banks. A small but hardworking group of volunteers make it happen. When you call and leave a message that you want to donate a couch, for instance, it may be a few weeks before it gets picked up. The Giving Network does not have a warehouse, so the couch gets picked up from your house and delivered to the house of someone in need the same day.

Although many of the volunteers are still church members, the charity is a separate entity now, with its own 501 (c)(3) number. It's not a big charity - the budget is under $20,000 a year, which covers rent on the sorting/storage facility for small items, car insurance and repairs, gas. It's not a charity with a wide reach, either - because of the limited people power and vehicles (2 old but well loved donated vans) the Giving Network's reach is limited to Somerset County. For the people living in poverty, leaving shelters for new housing, dependent on a food bank, though, it is large enough.
posted by booksherpa at 7:02 PM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like it, travelwithcats - my only regret about it is that it seems like it may be tucked away and a little hard to find. But perhaps that makes sense. It also seems that it would be nice if there were a delineation between local/small charities that Mefites are directly involved in and large international charities that Mefites like. I feel like having a list that includes Doctors Without Borders, the EFF, and my charity would seem strange.

It actually seems like there might be 4 categories: local/small charities near and dear to Mefites (that we give to), large/international charities near and dear to Mefites, local/small charities that Mefites run or work for, and large/int'l charities that we run or work for?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:16 PM on December 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

It's always a good time to donate to your local food bank.

In addition, I find Dollar A Day to be pretty awesome. Though that's more for year-round giving instead of a one-time thing.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:45 PM on December 7, 2014

Just Dentention Internaitonal does smart, prisoner led work, to advocate ending prisoner rape. It has gotten results, in a charity that is still quite controversial or unknown or even under reported, though Obama is changing this.. link here They also have a letter writing campaign that you can do if you don't have money.

I also believe strongly in Harm REduction, and Harper doesn't, so I try to give money to The Canadian Harm Reduction League and a local wet shelter. I gave some money to Seaton House but they were ontroversial, and i am worried about the new mix use facility.

Knowing about access to abortion, and to women's health on reservations, I try to give a little b it to one of the Native Health boards--the one linked is to one in South Dakota. They also advocate for indgenious access to abortion on national and internaitonal levels. The Canadian Aborgional AIDS Network does similar on the ground work

I have very little money, so the smaller orgs who are doing the most work for the lowest people, tend to get my cash.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:39 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

I like the idea of giving a collective donation to a charity, in fact, I came close to making this meta earlier in the month (I held back because I had no idea about the logistics or how to organise it). If we do choose a charity or charities, would it be possible to have an international option? I obviously don't intend that as a criticism of all the good work that local charities do, but I'd feel a bit uncomfortable giving money for domestic stuff in a developed country in a world where so many people die of easily preventable causes.
posted by Ned G at 6:41 AM on December 8, 2014

Ned G, my giving philosophy is similar (give where the need is greatest). My charity is 501c3 but is also an official registered NGO in sub-Saharan Africa, where it operates in rural village communities.

I do give to a variety of charities and would gladly give something as part of a Mefi Giving Club type of thing too.

Would people be interested in joining an informal club where we would submit charities for voting, and vote on a charity to give to together for some specified time period? (i.e. once a year at the holidays, or once a week each week during December, or even once per month year round)? We could have a domestic and international option for each. I'd be OK with organizing. Maybe we could post the open votes and the winner in a MeTa here each X time period?

I'm kind of a philanthropy nerd so I understand if folks want to go a different way. Just a thought.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:35 AM on December 8, 2014

The kind of format I was thinking was SurveyMonkey anonymous poll for voting, winner gets posted somehow to all those involved and then each person who chooses to participate is responsible for making a donation of whatever size they feel appropriate, as desired.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:38 AM on December 8, 2014

I work in international health and regularly donate to UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross, and Oxfam International. For this year, I would recommend Doctors Without Borders due to their work combatting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
posted by emd3737 at 11:28 PM on December 8, 2014

I've just kicked off MefightClub's annual donation drive -- I invite MFC members (or anyone else) to donate directly to Child's Play or charity:water (the links are to our campaigns) as part of our efforts, with many thanks in advance.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:40 PM on December 16, 2014

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