Several years ago I figured out that the charities that I give to online should be done before the end of November so that I get billed and pay for them before the end of the year. It just helps keep the budget more clean and understandable.
If you are thinking about this stuff right now, here is a list of charities to consider. They are not all necessarily endorsed by me. I’m still working through them myself (tick tock), but I keep a running list that I update throughout the year and around this time I vet them.
- BSF – a free international Bible study – the best Bible study I know of
- Child’s Play – cool current games for kids in hospitals and abuse shelters
- City Kids Art Factory – art lessons for Jacksonville kids – typically inner city
- Cummer – Jacksonville museum & gardens – classic to contemporary works
- Eastern European Missions – giving Bibles to kids in Eastern Europe
- FCS Urban Ministries – holistic neighborhood redevelopment in Atlanta
- Feeding NEFL – food pantry for food pantries – NEFL division of Feeding America
- First – robotic competition for kids to promote engineering and design
- Girls on the Run NEFL – local chapter of org that trains girls to run a 5K to promote self confidence and inner strength
- Habijax – builds affordable housing for low income earners – local branch of Habitat for Humanity
- HALO – orphanage in Liberia – have supported for years
- Heifer International – provides animals and training to the poorest places in the world – recipients give and train others – a favorite charity of mine
- JCCI – community leaders study, provide information, and engage citizens to improve Jacksonville
- Kids Need to Read – Nathan Fillion supported charity providing books to libraries, schools, and reading programs for disadvantaged kids
- Leadership Jacksonville – develops future leaders to improve Jacksonville
- MOCA Jax – Jacksonville museum of contemporary art
- MOSH – Jacksonville museum of science and history
- Mt. Dora – children’s home and school in Florida
- MyVillage Project – foster collaboration between various organizations within the black community of NE Florida
- One Jax – promotes respect and improved relationships between the diverse population of Jacksonville
- Save the Children – Bill and Melinda Gates pick – worldwide – low overhead – health, education, and safety
- Syrian Refugees – provide food, water, shelter, and safety for those displaced – via UN Refugee Agency – Neil Gaiman’s page on the site (from last year)
- UCOM UrbanServ – food bank for a Jacksonville community (located in a cool old church)
- United Way of NEFL – a powerhouse charity of Jacksonville – provides and supports others who provide education, financial help, and health to NE Florida
- Valor Academy – takes willing kids in tough educational environments and provides a rigorous education
- Wikipedia – You use it. Help pay for it.
- WJCT – Jacksonville’s PBS TV channel and NPR radio station
- World Affairs Council – provides excellent speaker series among other things
- World Builders – charity started by Patrick Rothfuss and supported by numerous authors mostly for Heifer International but has also helped Syrian refugees in the past. You can support Heifer International via them and be entered to win expensive books and such. You can also buy stuff from their auctions and store with profits going to their selected charities.
- World Vision – Bill and Melinda Gates pick – do many things around the world including emergency relief, education, health care, economic development, and promotion of justice.
- Wounded Warrior – help injured (mental and physical) service members
Consider other charitable donations too. You don’t have to just give to traditional non-profit institutions. We all dream of receiving money that we would spend wisely but can’t imagine others being responsible with monetary aid. The number of times I’ve heard “We can’t give them money, because they’ll just waste it on X. Let’s give them some [physical item] instead” makes me want to curl up in a ball sometimes.
- Your favorite podcasts (This American Life and The Moth are great)
- Your favorite YouTube channels (see Howard Pinsky and Tested Premium)
- Individuals with medical conditions
- People running for office
- Besides donating your time and talents, give your money to small local stuff – offer to pay for the books for that volunteer class, the food bags to hand out to the homeless, the BBQ honoring the local fire department, the grandmother taking care of her four grandchildren down the street, etc.
- Tips – Make a budget item so that you can provide extra large tips to waitstaff who do an extremely good job or are in great need.
Support entrepreneurs, educators, and entertainers directly – sometimes for very specific reasons – with loans and donations through sites like:
- Donors Choose
- Fund Anything
- Indigogo (In a bit, you’ll probably be able to support the next season of Table Top.)
PLEASE NOTE: NOT ALL OF THESE CONTRIBUTIONS WOULD BE TAX DEDUCTIBLE. I think about charity in terms of things that I want to support and help put into the world. Sometimes I get a direct benefit from these things such as entrance to a museum when I “donate” to them. Consult your accountant or tax specialist but please don’t let it dictate all of your giving.