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The Exponent’s Favorite Charities for Giving Tuesday

Giving TuesdayWe’re all familiar with Black Friday and lately, Cyber Monday is gaining popularity, but I’ve been super excited about Giving Friday the past couple years. #GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back and occurs on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. On this day, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Here at The Exponent, we wanted to list some of our favorite charities that we like to give to and trust for their good work. Below are some thoughts from our permabloggers and other Exponent II community members.

Liahona Children’s Foundation

I’ve been so impressed with this foundation’s board of directors. Their fiscal management and the employment of locals to carry out sustainable programming in developing countries is inspiring.

The mission of the Liahona Children’s Foundation is to nourish the potential of children to lead healthy and productive lives by eliminating malnutrition and providing elementary educational opportunities among LDS children and their friends.

I’m a big fan of organizations that give children experiences with the arts. I used to work for Gateway to the Arts in Pittsburgh, which is similar to the Young Audiences chapters that you see in other cities. The best group I know of is the Shropshire Music Foundation. Liz Shropshire teaches kids in war-torn parts of the world how to make music, and it’s magical. My grad school research was about the effect of cross-disciplinary arts learning on standardized test scores–the link is very, very strong, to the point of overcoming socioeconomic predictors.

I also believe very strongly in supporting medical research, especially in areas where you have a personal connection. I’m giving to the Preeclampsia Foundation this year. March of Dimes is another organization that works to prevent premature births.

One organization that I’m continually impressed with is THRIVEGulu, which operates a center in Northern Uganda that supports the emotional healing and rehabilitation of trauma victims of the Ugandan Civil War.  I love that it follows good models of sustainable aid – it works with the local community to both identify and carry out local initiatives focused on local needs.  It also has a strong Exponent II connection – THRIVEGulu was founded by Exponent II founding mother Judy Dushku!

Another organization I feel strongly about is Women for Women International, which is a huge non-profit organization operating in 8 countries that focuses specifically on helping and empowering women in war-torn countries.  I really believe that specifically investing in women will do the most to effect positive and sustainable change within our communities, on both the local and international levels.

I don’t have a specific organization or cause to which I routinely contribute. I do routinely stop to help strangers, keep cash and small, useful items in my car for homeless folks around town, and donate to friends’ fund-raising efforts when they make personal pleas on behalf of loved ones. I donate at grocery store check outs more than I used to. There are so many wonderful ways to give. I try to keep my giving close to my own community or at least within the state because I like the way that feels.

This is wonderful TED about effective altruism. I’ve thought about this a lot since I first watched it.

My husband and I donate money to Mama’s Clinic, a reproductive health and childbirth center in the highlands of Nicaragua. Mama Licha has been a midwife serving this under-served population for over thirty years, and this charity has helped to fund and build a clinic where she can better serve women with few resources. This charity was started by a friend of my husband’s, so we’re confident the money is used well.  (Note: if you donate money using the donate link on the website, specify that it is for the Mama Licha Project).

We also asked members of our Facebook group to list their favorites as well. Here’s what we received:

Lisa Dame
I work with The Road Home in Salt Lake City, whttp://www.the-exponent.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=21429&action=edithich is the largest homeless shelter in the state of Utah. I am on the services committee which is a volunteer support group to the full time employees. I have become knowledgeable of this organization inside and out. Their mission of eliminating homelessness is a worthy and attainable goal as they work to get people into stable living conditions as quickly as possible. I hope you can include this wonderful charity.

Linda Carrion
USO.org is my favorite organization (not really a charity).  Why do I love it?  My brother is active duty and at one time was stationed in the Middle East, during Christmas.  The USO was a big presence there and brought them a little slice of home. It made us here at home feel better that he was getting taken care of while in a war zone and brought peace and comfort to our hearts during a difficult time.

Kimberly Burnett
Camp Manitou Experience is a free one-week summer camp for grieving boys. My boys went last summer and had amazing, life-changing experiences. (Read Kimberly’s blog post, but make sure you have some tissue first!)


EmilyCC works for a national non-profit and lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.

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7 Responses

  1. Aimee says:

    I love these suggestions and am so glad for a “shopping day” like this in my life!

    This year an organization I’m especially glad to support is Think Unlimited, a nonprofit based in the country of Jordan which teaches critical and creative thinking for social change among Arab University students. Recognizing how it is often”disaffected youth, whose lack of freedom, lack of opportunity, and lack of voice ” drives revolutions and rebellions, Think Unlimited teaches “critical and creative thinking for positive social change,” and connects “Arab youth across the globe to create a powerful movement of changemakers.” Although the founders happen to be friends of mine, I would have supported this endeavor in any case–their work feels more urgent than ever. http://www.thinkunlimited.org/donate/

  2. MargaretOH says:

    I love this list! Thanks for putting it together. One of the groups we support is the Against Malaria Foundation, which fights malaria cheaply simply by providing sleeping nets. The organization is very highly rated by non-profit watch dog groups because it is so transparent with its finances and has very low overhead costs. We also love that we don’t get tons of mail from them–just an email every month saying they received our donation. http://www.againstmalaria.com/

    Another group we’ve liked is Kiva, which has become pretty famous in the last few years for providing small loans to entrepreneurs around the world. You loan out your money, choosing which project to fund, and they gradually pay it back. You can then cash out or loan again. We’ve made it into a recurring Family Home Evening, with our kids getting to choose the country (and then we spend some time learning about that country) and the project. http://www.kiva.org/

  3. Ziff says:

    Thanks, all y’all, for these helpful pointers!

  4. Caroline says:

    Love this post, Emily, and all these recommendations. Thanks!

  5. Caroline says:

    Oh, and by the way, I also like Women for Women International. I’ve been sponsoring different women in the middle East and Africa for about 10 years now through this organization. It’s pretty neat — you can get letters from the women you sponsor and write back.

    I didn’t mention this in my little blurb above, but I also like the Humane Society and the ASPCA. I’m an animal person, so it’s important to me to funnel some of my charitable giving in the direction of animals.

  6. Patty says:

    Not an unusual or imaginative choice, but I give to Doctors Without Borders because they go in to places no one else goes and have a good reputation for effective use of funds given. I also contribute to the Union Gospel Mission and Salvation Army on an occasional basis. They tend to help the less attractive down-on-their-luck people, I think.

  7. Olea says:

    I have a friend who is involved in Effective Altruism through http://www.givewell.org (they rate Malaria nets very highly) and Giving What We Can (which is a group of people who commit to donating 10% of their income to charity).

    They also recently started a new arm called 80000 hours, which is how many hours people are expected to work over their lifetime, and how we can best plan our career to have the most impact on improving the world.

    It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I feel like I need to impact the world better in some positive way.

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