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What Organizations Do You Contribute To?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the 'tis-the-season-of-giving dept.

Christmas Cheer 92

Cymage asks: "I usually do my charitable contributions in December, and so I am looking at organizations to give to. I try to give to organizations with different areas of focus. Here are some of the ones I have given to in the past/am considering: Basic Needs (Atlanta) - Food Bank and St Vincent, Promoting Self-Sufficiency - Habitat and Heifer, and Digital Rights/Software - EFF, Mozilla, SourceForge, and BitTorrent. What other organizations, especially technical ones, do you give to and why?"

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I give to (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11084118)

The Parents Television Counsel, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Business Software Alliance, Microsoft, Clear Channel, and several other groups.

Damn! (1)

parvenu74 (310712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084408)

The first thing I thought of when I saw the topic was "Microsoft -- the licensing comes due in December" but I missed on getting this tid-bit in first... I need to stop paying so much attention to my job and pay closer attention to /. so I don't miss such opportunities to post. Oh well...

Most folks here probably do. (1)

Myself (57572) | more than 9 years ago | (#11090497)

Seriously! Where do you think the DVD-CCA gets their funding? From that LOTR box set you had to have! If you think what happened to Jon was wrong, stop throwing money at the machine that made it happen. Is hollywood's entertainment worth the society it creates?

This is why I've never purchased a DVD with CCS or region coding, and don't plan to ever do so. (They're a great way to store data.) If you can't kick the DVD habit, at least give a few bucks to the EFF each time you indulge.

How about the RIAA? Find some indie bands who don't feed the monster. I've discovered that small concerts (under 500 people are so) are not only more fun than 10,000 idiots in a sports arena, but the small venues [] generally have better acoustics.

Maybe your niece really wants the latest teen pop CD for x-mas. Fine, but bundle it with some weird cool music. [] You never know what might happen.

As for Clear Channel, what radio stations do you listen to? They sell your ear-time. Stop buying from their advertisers if you can help it. Discover the kickass late-night program [] on the local station [] .

As for the BSA and Microsoft, I'm sure we all understand the basics here, but seriously consider it. Are you supporting the noncommercial projects you value? Have your contributions this year outweighed that XP license your uncle bought?

Savings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11084127)

I save my money.

OpenBSD (3, Insightful)

nocomment (239368) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084210)

why? because I care.

Charities (4, Informative)

Ratbert42 (452340) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084219)

After a friend of my daughter went through surgery and radiation for a brain tumor, I donate to:

The Ronald McDonald House in particular is amazing. I followed another young girl with terminal cancer that, when she was discharged from the hospital with a week or two to live, said she'd rather live at the Ronald McDonald House for her last few weeks since she'd spent so much time there.

time == money? (2, Interesting)

OmniVector (569062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084293)

i don't really have much cash to give, being a college student.. but i do donate a lot of programmer time to projects. my current favorite is opendarwin. i try and port things whenever i get the time (which isn't often lately).

Re:time == money? (1)

DemENtoR (582030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085096)

IMO Apple isn't really a charity.

Re:time == money? (1)

OmniVector (569062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085522)

they sure aren't. now what does this have to do with opendarwin [] ?

Re:time == money? (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085379)

Yes and no. For the rest of your life, time is likely to be more important than money. However it is likely that at some point in the future you will have a lot of money, and still find time lacking. Please, when you reach that point continue to give both time and money. One is not a substitute for the other. If you don't have money to give you should be living right on the edge of survival. (No TV, no internet, except what is required for work)

As a student don't give money, you don't have it. (even if you do, except for a few rich society is better off if you spend a few years spending it on your education) After you graduate you are likely to have money.

A few (4, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084330)

I was a Sierra Club member for a while, before getting disgusted with the way they exploit general political divisions to fire up their base -- whipping a hysterical jihad against Republicans probably is lucrative for them, but I have no interest in supporting their fairy tales about arsenic. Instead, I've shifted my donations to focused environmental groups: things like the National Coalition for Marine Conservation [] or SPNI's endangered species restoration.

I'd also recommend Spirit of America [] : whether or not you support the process by which we got involved in Afghanistan and Iraq, this is a terrific way of trying to get it to work out for the better.

Re:A few (1)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11086571)

I am/was a member of the Sierra Club, but I agree that they have become WAY too politicized. Sure, George Bush is a "bad, bad man", but every Sierra Club newsletter blows endless hot air about Bush this, Bush that.

I also don't like how the Sierra Club is so focused on promoting government regulation. My new favorites are the Nature Conservancy [] , which works quietly but effectively, and the Rainforest Action Network [] , which works directly with polluting corporations without relying on (much?) government strong arming.

Family scholarship (3, Interesting)

(trb001) (224998) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084389)

When my grandmother's brother passed away earlier this year, his immediate family started a scholarship fund at the local high school in Bolivar, NY that he had attended as a kid. They set the terms, and decided it would be an anonymous nomination process among the teachers based on a few criteria (work ethic, morals, etc) and would be handed out at graduation, unbeknownst to the recipient. The area isn't what I would call depressed, but it's no booming economy where everyone can afford to go off to college. The fund is small right now ($500/year handed out), but I'm hoping my whole family will contribute a little to it each year.

I'm willing to bet that a lot of high schools have similar funds for seniors. If not, starting one would be an excellent project and use of your charitable contributions. I think it's a great way to give something that helps locally (you'll see the results of your money) and will help further someone's education. As a side (and somewhat selfish) benefit, my grandmother, who is in her late 70's, doesn't really need more trinkets or useless crap laying around her house, so instead of presents some of us are contributing extra to the fund in her name.


BSA (0)

scumbucket (680352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084390)

No, not that BSA. The Boy Scouts of America.

The Human Fund (1)

greechneb (574646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084427)

I donate to the human fund, and I also skip gifts and instead donate to the human fund!

They help people, I think....

Re:The Human Fund (1)

Wescotte (732385) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085973)

I donate to the human fund, and I also skip gifts and instead donate to the human fund!

You celebrate festives too huh?

Re:The Human Fund (1)

potat0man (724766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11087523)

You celebrate festives too?

that's only for the rest-uv-us.

libertarian-friendly charities? (5, Informative)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084531)

Even though I'm a libertarian, I still like to help people. ;-) But where are the libertarian-friendly, tax-deductible charity organizations? Libertarians talk about how private charities would be more beneficial and efficient than bloated gub'mint bureaucracies, but many of the libertarians don't put their money where their mouth is.

Here is the list of charities I've settled on. They are not 100% Pure Libertarian, but I think they honor the spirit of small-l libertarianism. These links are ALL tax-deductible.
  • The ACLU Foundation [] is the arm of the American Civil Liberties Union that conducts its litigation and communication efforts. ACLU Foundation is tax-deductible, but the ACLU is NOT tax-deductible.

  • The American Red Cross [] offers 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.

  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [] (SPCA) provides effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals through national programs in humane education, public awareness, government advocacy, shelter support, and animal medical services and placement.

  • Amnesty International [] undertakes research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination.

  • The Cato Institute [] seeks to broaden public policy debate to include the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace.

  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation [] works to protect fundamental rights regardless of technology; to educate the press, policymakers and the general public about civil liberties issues related to technology; and to act as a defender of those liberties.

  • The Nature Conservancy [] preserves the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive through land acquisition and conservation easements.

  • The Rainforest Action Network [] campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants, and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through grassroots organizing, education, and non-violent direct action.

  • Trickle Up [] helps the lowest income people worldwide take the first step up out of poverty, by providing conditional seed capital and business training essential to the launch of a microenterprise.

before you donate to the Red Cross... (5, Insightful)

snooo53 (663796) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085714)

There's an article in Smart Money about the Red Cross that doesn't paint a pretty picture. Here is an excerpt...

Article []

For instance, in its fiscal year ending on June 30, 2002, the American National Red Cross spent $1.16 billion on employee salaries. Spending on actual disaster relief assistance for individuals was only $608 million. Of that, $479 million was for Sept. 11 assistance. This spending occurred only after the media put loads of heat on the organization. During the preceding fiscal year (the one ending on June 30, 2001), the Red Cross spent $1.04 billion on employee salaries and only $149 million on actual assistance for individuals.

Despite all this seemingly damning evidence, Charity Navigators gives the Red Cross a four-star rating, largely because of the organization's financial strength (which after a point, becomes more of a negative than a positive in my view). This is why I think doing your own research is highly advisable, especially if you're contemplating major gifts.

Personally, if you wanted to help through the Red Cross, I'd suggest giving blood instead.

Re:before you donate to the Red Cross... (1)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11086474)

hmmm, thanks for the article link. I'll need to research the Red Cross more. :\ I was also contemplating the United Way instead of the Red Cross, but most of the United Way programs seem to brag about how they promote and work with goverment agencies (instead of directly helping people).

Re:before you donate to the Red Cross... (2, Interesting)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11086669)

The Better Business Bureau's [] charity reports web site says Red Cross CEO Marsha Johnson Evans' base salary is $450,000 and former American Red Cross CEO Dr. Bernadine Healy received total compensation of $1,921,913 (which includes a $1,569,630 severance)!! I know some charities offer high salaries because "executive-quality" people can find high paying jobs elsewhere, paying THAT much for a charity does not project a good image. >:\

Re:before you donate to the Red Cross... (3, Informative)

Joe5678 (135227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11088579)

I would have to guess that the billion dollars isn't spent on people sitting around counting money, but on people out doing charitable work.

charitynavigator lists Program Expenses at 91.1% of their budget, this amount includes both material costs of doing their work, as well as labor. Administration Expenses is 5.2%, which isn't great considering their budget, it's probably justified.

What you have found is merely sensational journalism (probably not even journalism) that is expressing the statistics in a way they need to make their story.

The Red Cross isn't made up of volunteers, so they do in fact need to pay the people doing the work.

Debian (2)

keesh (202812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084624)

I contribute to Debian because I enjoy backstabbing, political flamefests, being held up by the oversized rusty buttplugs worn by the managers and having patches rejected because they don't contain the term "GNU" frequently enough.

Oh, wait, no, that's why I stopped.

Salvation Army (1)

shadowzero313 (827228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084676)

I usually drop in the coin change from when I buy something this time of year. Other than that, nothing.

Charitable Contributions (1)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084749)

I'm also looking to make my charitable contribution, but I'm not sure on the specifics (this is the first year I've had money enough to give). How do I know how much of a tax break I'm getting? What determines how much I can give? All the web resources I've checked out pretty much say "Talk to CPA", and I don't know any CPAs that will have that discussion for free. Any Slashdotters have any tips?

Re:Charitable Contributions (1)

phallstrom (69697) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085217)

I'm not a tax guy, but my memory is that it's rather complex, but unless you're donating 10's of thousands of dollars you can deduct it all from you taxes -- remember this means you don't get taxed on that amount, not that you get that much back!

I don't remember the specifics, but a couple of years ago we went over the yearly limit and our tax guy worked it so that the over-amount was carried over to the next year.

But yeah, you should talk to a CPA. Or just give the money away and then have the CPA do your taxes at which point you'll find out for yourself :-)

US Tax code- sorta kinda (1)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085596)

I don't know what the yearly limit is, but if you give over a certain amount annually to a single organization (I believe it's $3,000), you need a receipt from them; send a copy of it with your return.

How much will you save on taxes? Roughly your tax percentage times your donations. For instance, if you are buying a home, have kids and give a fair amount to charity, your real tax rate might be around 10% (taxes owed / gross income / 100). In this case, your tax benefit is 10% of whatever you give. IOW, if you donate $5,000, you will pay roughly $500 less in taxes. If your real tax rate is 33%, you'd pay almost $1,700 less in taxes. If you're poor enough that you don't owe any tax, you obviously don't have any tax savings (the government won't give you money for helping other people).

Time (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084757)

I only donate time (and all the money I spend during that time)

I only do things in my locality (due to travel time)

I refuse to give a penny to or have anything to do with abrahamics (judaism, christianity, & islam) as they cause enough misery without my help.

I only work about 20 hours a week and this keeps me really busy, I've become quite the handyman and good with filling out various forms for the local government.

You don't have to look far before you find something worthy your time and money and if you are the one spending the money you can be sure to it's going to good works... This week I swung by the local homeless shelter/kitchen & fixed some stuff, it cost me about 60 euros and about 8 hours work. No big deal... but makes an impact where I live and that gets me out of bed early in the mornings.

Oh... and because this is /. I should add that I fix a bunch of PC's for schools and temples around town... again no big deal but the recipients are appreciative.

Organizations that truly do good (non-techie) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11084779)

In my life, I've needed the help of a few organizations over the years, especially during those lean "underemployed" periods. Here in the New York metro area, a few standouts:

ChaiLifeline [] , which helps critically-ill Jewish children and their families. Truly a God-sent organization.
Tomchei Shabbos of Queens [] : Simply put, they give food to families that need it. Without questions.

Rather than focus on the techie organizations that get discussed here so often, look to your own community, and find those groups and organizations that truly help the needy. {Anonymous}

help out smoeone's discarded pets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11084868)

Humane society []

Child's Play (1)

ragnarok (6947) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084890)

If you're a gamer (or even if you're not) you should check out Child's Play [] . It's a charity set up by the Penny Arcade [] guys to give games and toys to kids in hospitals who need them.

Last year (the first year) they raised something like $250k and really did a lot of good for the hospitals.

It's a chance for gamers to show the community what we're really about instead of being stereotyped as violent misfits living in basements.

Re:Child's Play (1)

Deekin_Scalesinger (755062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11114965)

You could also give to the Violent Gamer Misfits' fund to help purchase additional basements...

Noncommercial Broadcasters (2, Informative)

antizeus (47491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11084926)

If you appreciate noncommercial media, you may want to support them. If you live in the US, you are likely near a PBS television station and an NPR radio affiliate. If you're really lucky, you may have some excellent college radio stations or a Pacifica affiliate. I particularly enjoy KFJC [] and support them every year. Some broadcasters may not be actively soliciting funds during this period (KFJC for example has its yearly fund drive in October), but I'm sure they'd be willing to accept donations at any time.

Re:Noncommercial Broadcasters (1)

araven (71003) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085538)

Thank you! You beat me to it. You should be able to contribute to your local Public Television station/network using their web site, and I doubt any would turn down a check that arrived unsolicited in the mail either.

I got hooked on science and technology as a kid watching Nova, Doctor Who, 3-2-1 Contact, Zoom, and a host of other science and sci-fi programs on Public Television. It may not be quite what it used to be, but it's still the first and best source of early GOOD TV science hooks for kids. Actual science, not corporate dreck (or at least not as much).

A good gift would also be a letter or email to your favorite state and Federal legislators telling them how MUCH you appreciate Public Television, or appreciated it as a kid and want it to be there for the kids who will be professional geeks in a couple of decades (and the ones who won't). Maybe CC the letter to the local paper and the local station as well.


Programs I find useful (1)

invisik (227250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085453)

I try to run as many cost-free programs as possible on a day to day basis. I do try to donate some money when I can to them, as I know they put out a considerable amount of effort. I have no problem sending some money in for a program I find useful and is quality work.

Haven't put at my list together yet this year, but typically the guys at putty, Mozilla Foundation, OpenOffice.Org and a few others.

Even just a few extra dollars helps these and other projects out! Give what you can--or wait until the summer when you have more cash to spare. Donations work year round!


not too many technical places (1)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085473)

Some sites I use a lot take PayPal contributions, such as []
The Salvation Army
The Goodwill Computer Store (semi-technical?)
The Ronald McDonald House
Some kids who don't have a dad around
Our church always helps 1-3 needy families (it's a small church)
A local veterans organization
Blue or Brown Santa, or Toys for Tots
sometimes a local homeless group
You might consider having the homeless in for a meal
local boy, girl, cub, etc. scouts
pretty much any kid who shows up at our door selling something 8^/
groups that help those laid off (often high tech)
In the spirit of the original St. Nick, just helping anonymously with specific needs (layoffs, sick, dadless or momless, etc) is near the top of my list

-Evyl Abrahamic Type, apparently

You get the *strangest* combination of junk mail (2, Insightful)

jkujawa (56195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085530)

... when you're a member of both the NRA and the ACLU.

Seriously. I think my junk mail gets in fights in my mail box.

Re:You get the *strangest* combination of junk mai (1)

archnerd (450052) | more than 9 years ago | (#11088552)

LMAO! It's posts like this that make me wish I had mod points. Might I wager you're a libertarian?

Re:You get the *strangest* combination of junk mai (1)

jkujawa (56195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11092564)

And you'd be correct there.

Year round (2, Insightful)

bluGill (862) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085577)

First of all, giving should be year round. Odds are family obligations this time of year take a lot of your free cash. Even if you could give, it is sometimes a good idea to put a little extra into retirement accounts if you are not up to the yearly max. (See a professional for advice, and you need to consider your own situation) I'm not saying give to yourself first, but there are many reasons this should be a month where you might give less than normal. But only if there is a normal.

First of all, give blood if you can. The restrictions are so tough that most of you cannot, but for those who can, please give often! In the same note, make sure you have an organ donor card filled out with the state.

Next, check your charities. I refuse to give to the United Way because they spend so much on promotion. (nearly half the money you give them isn't spent on good causes) Unfortunately they do know the small causes that you should be giving to, so I can't say they are evil, just I don't like them. Don't give to them unless you are at a loss for anything else to give to.

I give to Ducks Unlimited [] every spring when their fund raiser comes up.

Every time I get groceries give $3 to the local food shelf. (my local store will add that onto my bill, or they have a collection point at the exit for foods I buy) It isn't much, but it adds up. (disclaimer, I just started this, my goal is to make this last though)

My local electric co-op rounds all my bills up to the nearest dollar. That $6/year all goes to charity, and I don't even notice. Suggest your utilities do the same.

I'm not going to cover what others have said. The important part is to find what works for you, and then do it.

Re:Organ Donation (1)

quandrum (652868) | more than 9 years ago | (#11086475)

Make sure you know your state's rules on organ donation too! In New York State, that little card means nothing. Your next-of-kin gets to make the final say, and usually they have to make this decision at a very difficult time, so make sure they know your choice!

As for other states or countries, it's up to you to find out the procedure.

Who I give money to (1)

bactram (838897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085593)

Re:Who I give money to (2)

superyooser (100462) | more than 9 years ago | (#11087307)

These are NOT charities! What you listed are highly partisan political organizations.

I'm seeing people list a lot of special interest, activist organizations pushing political agendas. Instead of relief organizations like Samaritan's Purse [] and Operation Blessing [] , I'm seeing Mozilla and Pacifica Radio?? (I just reloaded the comments, and there are more real charities listed now.) Look, I'm a member of, and I'm glad there is alternative media, but give me a break! What about the sick, the poor, the hungry? What about the oppressed, the persecuted, the abused? How about some priorities? There are a lot of people in the world who need your donations more than the lawyers at the ACLU and Stallman's cronies at the EFF.

Re:Who I give money to (1)

bactram (838897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11088816)

I didn't say that these groups were charities. I just said that they're the groups I give money to. All of them are about helping the oppressed, the persecuted, the abused. And I believe that they need the money now more than ever because of the current administration and it's lack of respect for peoples rights. (I wouldn't have mentioned it, but you brought up the republicans -- who I certainly don't want in power)

Re:Who I give money to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11088829)

Do you REALY think that "Samaritan's Purse" and "Operation Blessing" are not "special interest activist organizations pushing political agendas?"

If you do, then you're deluded.

The last thing this world needs is more abusive religious fanatics pushing their highly political special interests. If there are sick, poor, hungry people, then society should take care of them REGARDLESS of their religious persuasion and should do so without trying to FORCE them into a particular religious doctrine. Those organizations you mentioned are shills using resources to push the most vulnerable people in the world into believing what their wealthy (and un-wealthy) donors pretend to believe.

I want for my TAX dollars to provide food, education, necessary health care, and shelter at a subsistance level to those unable to provide for themselves. Those are things we should all have a right to demand if we need them. So while I donate quite a lot to an array of organizations, I tend to focus on those things that I don't consider the sole responsibility of government.

One exception, because our government is so entirely backward in this respect, is Planned Parenthood. I donate to several reproductive rights organizations to pay for contraception (and yes, abortion) for those girls and women being abused into poverty and treated like property by people the previous poster seems to be supporting. Planned Parenthood is an outstanding organization, working worldwide to reduce poverty and misery in the best way possible, by helping to relieve population pressure and by treating women as if they're human. Feeding the hungry sounds nice, but going to the source of the problem is better.

I rarely flame (and in defense of karma, this is anon), but it's insulting to read hypocrisy from one of the people responsible for the misery in question and have him act as if earnest and worthwhile organizations like the EFF are unworthy of our attention while religious bigots somehow are.

When the hypocrite Republicans who give away .000001% of their income quit telling the rest of us how to give away our 10%, the world will be a better place.

Re:Who I give money to (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 9 years ago | (#11090529)

What about the oppressed, the persecuted, the abused? How about some priorities? There are a lot of people in the world who need your donations more than the lawyers at the ACLU and Stallman's cronies at the EFF.

I would consider donating to the ACLU because it helps the oppressed. It may not be popular to support Nazi speech (using one example), but it is necessary in order to support free speech.

In the same light, I would consider donating to the EFF because I believe that Stallman's "right to read" future is a possibility. Our civilization is built on knowledge, and the current trend is for corporations to limit our access to and control of knowledge.

While I haven't investigated either organization closely, both appear to do much work towards their stated goals.

Yes, there are hungry people in the world. There are starving people in the world. I'm not really sure how to help most of them out. How do I buy a meal for a starving Somalian without the money being diverted to some corrupt warlord?

If we limit it to the US, how am I sure that the money I donate goes to starving people, and not towards people scamming the system? I'm not sure.

EFF and ACLU I understand. World hunger, I do not.

Re:Who I give money to (1)

superyooser (100462) | more than 9 years ago | (#11090706)

I would consider donating to the ACLU because it helps the oppressed.

When I speak of oppression, I'm mostly thinking about the slaves in Africa and the worldwide sex slave trade. There are human rights organizations (mostly Christian) buying people out of slavery in Africa and rescuing women and children from the sex slave trade.

The ACLU has a skewed perspective as to who is "oppressing" whom. They say that a person engaged in homosexuality has a "right" to join the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that requires belief in and respect for the God of the Bible. The ACLU thus attacks (oppresses?) the BSA in order to force an unqualified person into its organization. The ACLU acts to destroy the BSA and other organizations that have rules for membership. In cases like this, homosexuals and the ACLU are ones trying to take away rights - the rights of everyone else to make their own rules for private institutions.

Organizations are defined by their membership qualifications. Boys can't join the Girl Scouts. Catholics can't join a synagogue. People who don't drink alcohol can't join Alcoholics Anonymous. Hunters can't join PETA. Pro-lifers can't join Planned Parenthood.

If you force an organization to violate its raison d'être in order to let someone in, that organization is being harmed. You are contaminating its membership and diluting its mission. The individual wanting to join an organization that is incompatible with his own beliefs and lifestyle is the one perpetrating harm. He wants to force a group to violate its own rules and spoil the nature of the fellowship that all the other members had a right to expect would continue. If the ACLU wins, one greedy, self-absorbed person gets his way, and everybody else loses. One aggressor wins, and a whole institution (one that is legal, peaceful, and beneficial to society) is made void as others follow through the illegitimate gate that has been busted open.

The ACLU serves as an anti-rights battering ram for hateful individuals who want to destroy Christian organizations and to eradicate Biblical religion and tradition from public view. The ACLU pushes the militant atheist/communist agenda and does not constitute a charity.

Re:Who I give money to (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 9 years ago | (#11090966)

The ACLU has a skewed perspective as to who is "oppressing" whom. They say that a person engaged in homosexuality has a "right" to join the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that requires belief in and respect for the God of the Bible. The ACLU thus attacks (oppresses?) the BSA in order to force an unqualified person into its organization. The ACLU acts to destroy the BSA and other organizations that have rules for membership. In cases like this, homosexuals and the ACLU are ones trying to take away rights - the rights of everyone else to make their own rules for private institutions.

Wrong. The Boy Scouts of America accepted government funds. Ergo, not entirely a private organization. Thusly, the BSoA were required to operate within certain requirements. They did not and were sued.

In addition, you are wrong about the Boy Scouts' requirements -- members are not required to believe in the God of the Christian bible. Belief in Allah or Vishnu works just as well.

PS: I'm a Christian. I also have socialist/communist tendencies[1] and try to live a vegan lifestyle.

[1] Other than the atheism ideology, communism seems *much* closer to the teachings of Jesus than capitalism.

Re:Who I give money to (1)

bamberg (9311) | more than 9 years ago | (#11092289)

1] Other than the atheism ideology, communism seems *much* closer to the teachings of Jesus than capitalism.

Actually, communism and atheism have nothing to do with each other. Stalin and other "communist" dictators opposed religion only because they didn't like sharing power (and weren't smart enough to work through religion like so many other dictators). But you're right, Jesus would have favored communism over capitalism.

Re:Who I give money to (1)

dark_requiem (806308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163808)

Well, I'm glad at least someone admits openly that Jesus would likely have been a Red. Just goes to further confirm that we'll have to wait for the Antichrist to make an honest profit and keep it.

Re:Who I give money to (1)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11091951)

person engaged in homosexuality has a "right" to join the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that requires belief in and respect for the God of the Bible

Because, of course, all of those gay Christians are just faking their belief in God. How sneaky of them!

Re:Who I give money to (1)

araven (71003) | more than 9 years ago | (#11092046)

You're simply wrong. Wrong on just about every level. I know several Republicans who, like the other members of the ACLU, value our political heritage and our constitutional rights. Without those rights, we're nothing.

I should not be compelled to fund religious organizations with my tax dollars. That is an obscenity. If the BSA is a religious organization, as it appears to be, then it should not benefit in any way from public funds. That was the gist of the argument in Dale v. BSA. Public group = no discrimination.

If Bible-thumpers want to evangelize, then they should do it honestly and honorably and WITH THEIR OWN FUNDS. I have IMMENSE respect for the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses who go out knocking on doors, using THEIR OWN FUNDS to communicate with people about their beliefs. Or the Gideons, how 'bout them? No tax dollars there! And the ACLU defends the first amendment rights of religious organizations fervently. You don't give a rip about genuine religious expression within the context of a democracy. You want a theocracy. That'd be the form of government that causes the Middle East to be such a hellish place. Actual Christians (of the Jehovah's Witness/Mormon/Gideon variety for instance) recognize that and see that religion belongs in the private sphere. Persuasion, not compulsion. You cannot compel faith.

You're simply wrong. You prefer to use MY money to espouse YOUR beliefs, and exclude MY children from your hypocritical organizations while doing it. For people who oppose confiscatory taxation, boy, you seem to be very much for confiscatory taxation.

Had Dale been successful, the BSA would have to choose between getting off the public teat and continuing their bigoted exclusivity. Homosexual boys and troop leaders would be treated with the respect and dignity that the BSA pretends to instill in its members. Everyone would win, the BSA would be a less hypocritical organization, and millions of boys excluded from membership would have opportunities they otherwise wouldn't. It wouldn't be a hollow victory for "one person" but a victory for what the Boy Scouts have always CLAIMED to value. Not this hacked-up bull they came up with in the lawsuit, but the REAL values applicable to all boys. Please note, the Girl Scouts don't have any such bullshit membership requirements, and they're a damned sight better organization than the BSA.

As for the other organizations you're wrong about most of those as well. I have it on good authority that boys can join the girl scouts, but that conflicts with what their web site says. I bet if a boy pushed the issue though, he could. There are no religious or homophobe restrictions. Planned Parenthood has no membership qualifications I'm aware of. Pay your money, be a member. A Catholic probably could join many synogogues. Can't imagine why he'd want to, but he probably could. Others might require an affirmation of belief he'd be unwilling to make. AA, probably likewise. Do you think they accept gay alcoholics though? You betcha. So what interest could a non-alcoholic have in AA? Especially since they can join Alanon, an org under the same umbrella. I'm guessing a hunter would feel pretty hated by PETA, but if he sent in his money, I bet he'd get a membership card. But hmmm...why would a gay 10-year-old boy want to join the Boy Scouts? Hmmmm...maybe because every other boy in his class is doing it? Maybe so he could go to summer camp when no other option exists? Maybe because he genuinely believes in the values hollowly espoused by the leadership of the BSA (though often genuinely espoused by the local chapters that ignore the BSA bigotry and admit any boy). Hm. See the difference? The OTHER difference here is that none of the organizations you mention, except occasionally PPA and the Girl Scouts, get public funds or represent themselves as a general membership organization. When my TAX money pays a membership organization, then they had damned well better not restrict membership on any sexist/racist/homophobe/creedal/etc basis. Either do it WITH YOUR OWN MONEY, or within reasonable limits, accept anyone who wants to join (i.e., if you're an organization for boys aged 5-17, then accept any boy aged 5-17. If you're an organization providing services to alcoholics, then accept any alcoholic...).

Fortunately for those of us with a clue, the IRS recognizes that the ACLU Foundation is, in fact, a charity. If you can steal tax deductions by giving to Bible-thumping powermongering greedy political groups pretending to some sort of charitable activity, then fortunately I can contribute to ethical, useful, socially responsible organizations that defend our constitution from theocracy nuts such as yourself. I despise what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it WITH YOUR OWN MONEY.


Political organizations vs. relief organizations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11091308)

What about the sick, the poor, the hungry? What about the oppressed, the persecuted, the abused? How about some priorities?

Taking this logic to its natural conclusion would seem to imply that all of us (individuals, businesses, charities, universities, Catholic Church, etc.) should immediately divest ourselves of all material wealth and donate all our assets to less advantaged people. After all, feeding 100 hungry africans for a year on my salary surely deserves a higher priority than feeding me alone for a year, right?

The problem here is that of the age old parable about giving a man a fish vs. teaching him how to fish. As an extreme example, in the above hypothetical situation it would be far better for me to keep at least (say) half my salary to feed myself and use the other half to support 50 starving people for a year, since this way I get to survive for the year and earn income next year and over the long run do more good than if I just die from starvation. I'm not saying I actually do this, but the point is that, even if your goal is poverty eradication, it is perfectly rational to prioritize wealth-generating activities above direct relief activities on the grounds that the former will relieve more poverty in the long run.

I will grant that many people do donate to special interest organizations purely out of self interest, but that's no reason to tar all donors with the same brush. There are many who genuinely believe that digital free speech rights, for example, would lead to an economic boom in the first world rivalling that of the industrial revolution. If this really is true, then donating to the EFF is really a no brainer, even from a save-the-world point of view: by supporting such an agenda, you are hoping to bring about more increase in world prosperity than can ever be achieved by the direct relief route.

Now, you may not agree with this logic in this particular case, but over the global sweep of time, the chances are very good that one or another of these unforseen ideas (not necessarily this specific one) really will bring about another economic revolution, and so it is probably in your interest to support such diversity of opinion, because no individual person can possibly be expected to judge accurately where the next such wellspring of economic wealth is likely to originate.

Luckily, the IRS agrees with my viewpoint that diversity of opinion as to what constitutes a public charity is a good thing: the legal eligibility rules for 501(c)3 public charities do not restrict membership solely to organizations that specialize in direct relief activities. Some amount of special interest activities are allowed, although excessively special interests (such as political action committees) are excluded.

Re:Who I give money to (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11089288)

The Americans United against what? We do have a separation. Where do we not?

User Friendly (1)

araven (71003) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085604)

They have the BEST it's a good thing to do. How many comic strip artists publish with O'Reilly?

Illiad is awesome. (I am in no way affiliated with User Friendly, I'm just a fangirl ;-)).


How about who don't you give to? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085720)

If I get a phone call during normal supper time, I won't give to that charity unless it is one I REALLY care about. Especially if they are rude to me. A couple months ago I got a call from a Firefighters charity at 6:00pm, just as I was sitting down to dinner. I politely told the individual I was not interested but before I could finish, they hung up on me. They won't be seeing any of my money.

Recently the news reported that the local police were hiring a private group to collect donations door to door for their TIPS program (get cash rewards for helping to catch criminals). The company was taking 70% of what was donated, leaving a measly 30% for the actual fund. They won't be seeing my money either.

When a charity comes to the door, I'll usually ask for documentation on how much of my donation will actually go to the cause. If they can't provide, or tell me where to get it, I won't donate.

Re:How about who don't you give to? (1)

gcaseye6677 (694805) | more than 9 years ago | (#11089053)

Almost every 3 months, I hear something on the news or read in the paper about a "charity" that is collecting on behalf of some police or fire group and keeping most or all of the donations for themselves. Sometimes it's just an outright scam and the police warn people not to give them money. If there are any legitimate police/fire charities that telemarket or go door-to-door, the majority of the bad apples have ruined it for the few good ones, just like the telemarketing industry as a whole. Because the probability of a scam is so high with them, I just avoid them all and only donate to charities that I have researched and am familiar with. Even then, I'm careful about who I actually give my contact info to (never donate to the national wildlife fund, my Mom made that mistake once and they send her something asking for more money almost every week).

My Church (1)

raider_red (156642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085767)

Charity begins at home, so most of my monetary donations go to Austin First United Methodist Church. I also volunteer in their homeless ministries, and in renovating houses around the Austin area.

USO (2, Informative)

jhines (82154) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085789)

I don't agree with the war, but support the folks fighting it.

My Church and the Salvation Army (1)

BeProf (597697) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085878)

I give to my church (the local Christian & Missionary Alliance) and I give to the Salvation Army.

JPFO and Software In The Public Interest (1)

Bob_Robertson (454888) | more than 9 years ago | (#11085954)

Once upon a time, the NRA [] received dues from me, it took only one major election cycle to notice that they are merely shills for the Republican and Democrat parties. Libertarians are, how can I put this politely..., a freaking thorn in their side. What's the one thing that would bankrupt the NRA? Actual enforcement of the Bill of Rights! Then the NRA would have to go back to being a marksmanship club. Boo Hoo!

So I went looking for a more focused rights-oriented, rather than money oriented, organization and found Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership [] who didn't care a bit about my Jewishness. Their _Grandpa Jack_ book series is excellent.

And, of course, money to Debian for the best Linux distribution on earth [] .


MSF (1)

Moleman (74531) | more than 9 years ago | (#11086068)

Doctor's Without Borders. Can't go wrong with a Nobel Prize winner.

Re:MSF (1)

palndrumm (416336) | more than 9 years ago | (#11087416)

Yup, Médecins Sans Frontières [] are at the top of my donations list. Mainly because they go to all the places no-one else wants to go, and do the crap work that no-one else wants to do.

Re:MSF (1)

GuyZero (303599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116071)

Might I also suggest Engineers Without Borders?

A similarily worthwhile cause that probably resonates with the /. crowd.

People (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11086904)

A few years ago I decided to only give to organizations that deal with people in need. So out went the WWF and Greenpeace. I now give to Amnesty International, the salvation Army, The Dutch heart Foundation (I have a heart desease myself so I feel I get the mony back when I go to hospital again), MSF and a Dutch foundation that helps people who are mentally handicapped.

FKF (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11086991)

Most of my money goes to the Feed Kano Foundation. Food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and the various other needs of myself take so much of my money that I don't have enough for anything else.


Freedom From Religion Foundation (1)

bigjoeystud (715224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11087131)

No one else mentioned this fine organization which also has an entertaining newsletter: The Freedom from Religion Foundation [] is committed to keeping the boundaries between church and state.

Re:Freedom From Religion Foundation (1)

araven (71003) | more than 9 years ago | (#11088973)

Along the same lines, Americans United for Separation of Church and State ( AU is perhaps more interested in maintaining the wall of separation for the purpose of perserving both religion and state than is FFRF.

So if you're not a nontheist, AU might be a choice you're more comfortable with. Traditional conservatives, people who grasp the concept of democracy, liberals of all kinds, the religious and the non should all be working together to protect our right to be free from each OTHER'S religion and free to practice our OWN. When the government advocates any religion, it hurts every religion (or rather, every person).

Thanks for suggesting FFRF though, my "nontheist" father might appreciate a donation on his behalf for our nonsectarian winter holiday gift giving ;-).

What organizations do you contribute to (1)

Dethdoc (53121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11087339)

I will reiterate aboout Heifer International; they do good work.

Nobody. (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11087613)

Because I'm a cold hearted, selfish bastard.


[sort of...]

I'm of the opinion that most Americans are far too indebted to even consider charitable donation. They should take care of that first, and then donate later when they don't have interest charges knocking down their door.

They then have more money for themselves, meaning they're less likely to need philanthopy, and more able to give it.

Hey, you asked...

Re:Nobody. (1)

Myself (57572) | more than 9 years ago | (#11090540)

If Americans could refrain from buying shit they don't need [] , they wouldn't be in such debt.

Answer me honestly: How many of the "gifts" you're buying this season are honestly useful and needed? How much of that unnecessary spending goes onto a credit card?

Americans by and large aren't in need of philanthropy. They're in need of common fiscal sense. There are definitely people, at home and abroad, who need help. Try that instead of buying uncle Jim another tie he'll never wear.

Doctors Without Borders (1)

Earlybird (56426) | more than 9 years ago | (#11087854)

Doctors Without Borders [] .

Church and Pro-Life (1)

gaudior (113467) | more than 9 years ago | (#11088143)

Our family tithes to our home congregation, and I support the local Pregnancy Care Center, which offers alternatives to abortion and counseling for sufferers of Post Abortion Trauma.

We also support a little girl in Ecuador, who happens to be the same age as our youngest son. This is through an organization called Compassion.

Heifer? No... you're going the wrong way. (1)

beholder77 (89716) | more than 9 years ago | (#11088685)

Being vegan, I have a few problems with Heifer [] . Sending livestock to people in 3rd world countries is really dumb. You need to grow a significant amount of grains to feed livestock, which can be just as easily used for human consumption. Livestock is just not ideal for these kinds of economies.

Re:Heifer? No... you're going the wrong way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11093022)

So give us an alternative then...who helps the 3rd world eat without sending livestock?

Re:Heifer? No... you're going the wrong way. (1)

jdigriz (676802) | more than 9 years ago | (#11099017)

Gotta disagree with you there friend. Heifer International has many options that don't require grains or much in the way of land. I personally like sending people a brace of rabbits [] , but there are beehives, trees, goats, sheep and pigs. Sure, everyone knows the 4lbs corn:1lb beef ratio that is so prevalent in vegan literature, but you have to remember that's the model of first-world agribusiness, not traditional farming. Heck, for most of the beef industry's history in the US, cattle were grass-fed. And people don't get much nourishment out of grass.

Re:Heifer? No... you're going the wrong way. (1)

beholder77 (89716) | more than 9 years ago | (#11103393)

You didn't buy a brace of rabbits. You donated X amount of dollars to the general Heifer fund. They decided where your money went. Yet another reason to not trust these people. There is a decent critique of the organization here [] .

As for grass grazing of cattle: If the grass grows so could grains. There are hundreds of grains humans can live off of, that don't promote soil erosion like overgrazing livestock.

Open source all the way! (1)

gbell (84505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11089014)

This year I gave to:


I've used these products for years (at work too) and realized I really needed to pay them back for the tremendous functionality they've given me to do my job.

I even sent money to dpreview since the content is so excellent I really wanted to pay for it (haven't bought yet, so couldn't use their linked retailers).

Several I would've liked to give to but giving money wasn't available or wasn't easy (paypal): fedora, pine, jpluck, xawtv, mplayer, xmms, grip, lame, EFF, Perl...

Besides supporting your favorite projects, you sometimes also get a hotline into the developer, and/or priority feature requests!

Donate your time. (1)

Bilzmoude (811717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11089469)

Money is nice... but if you can do it, donate your time. This is something that I wish I did more of. Its easy to give money, but your time is more valuable to many charaties.

As for money gifts, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Big Brother, Big Sister.

What I like to ask, when charities come up. (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11089531)

If the tax deductions ended today, would you still give? Many wouldn't. And if they don't end, do you give completely anonymously? Why not?

Re:What I like to ask, when charities come up. (1)

Cymage (612344) | more than 9 years ago | (#11091815)

I would continue to give. I make enough along with my wife that giving is not a financial problem. I try to give 2-3% of gross, but that should probably be higher.
As far as taxes go, I do list my donations on my taxes. I have considered giving anonymously, but don't really see a need to do that. I try to give to charities based upon what they do and how they are run. The tax deduction is just a nice side effect. I do agree that donations in general would be less if they were not deductable.

Re:What I like to ask, when charities come up. (1)

Lish (95509) | more than 9 years ago | (#11101055)

In answer to your first question, the tax deductions don't matter an iota for a lot of people. Unless you have a whole lotta deductions, you're going to be better off taking the Standard Deduction anyway so your charitable giving "doesn't count" that way.

For a single person, the standard deduction is almost $5,000; married is almost $10k. So you'd have to have a lot of deductions for other reasons, or give over that amount, to have it matter for tax purposes.


David Greene (463) | more than 9 years ago | (#11089928)

I put a lot of personal time and effort into ISAIAH [] , a coalition of Minnesota churches working for social justice through systemic change.

This group is not about evangelizing. It's about getting down and dirty in the political process to effect real change. I am working on securing dedicated funding for public transportation in Minnesota. I have been amazed by what this group does. Immigration reform, brownfields cleanup, affordable housing, domestic violence -- the list just goes on. The Gamaliel Foundation [] has affiliates all over the country. Consider donating money, or even better, time to their work.

Religious Groups on Campus (1)

sometwo (53041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11091362)

At my (public school) campus, religious groups get only $300 a year from the University and the rest has to be made in donations. Because of the students' lack of money, it is hard to ask them for donations.

I suggest going to your almamater and donating a few hundred dollars to your campus ministry, Chabad, or Hillel. With tight budgets, religious organizations provide cost effective and selfless support to many students.

Hospice (1)

TechieSidhe (621990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11091579)

I give to Hospice as much as I can during the year. Hospice provides support and compassionate care for the terminally ill and their families.

Joe Homan (1)

seanellis (302682) | more than 9 years ago | (#11091738)

The Joe Homan Charity [] basically helps kids out of child labor in India, and gives them an education instead.

Simple, lightweight organization, mostly locally run and administered.

Companies who match charitable gifts. (1)

adturner (6453) | more than 9 years ago | (#11093559)

Nice thing about working for my company (Juniper Networks) is that they'll match (most) any charitable donation up to $1000/yr. A lot of companies do this, so be sure to find out if yours does too.

Anyways, each year I give to the EFF (should be obvious why) and Ducks Unlimited ( who help protect America's wetlands.

Tech $$$ Giving (1)

briggsbo (840714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11098431)

There are a few recycling-refurbishing programs here in the bay area who could use the support of a few extra geekbucks.... besides mine... including:

The Access 2 Technology Project [] which collects discarded Apple Macintosh computer equipment to use in a classroom math/science program for 4th and 5th graders. A2T teaches the kids how computers work by having them take apart, clean, test and refurbish the equipment. Then, by the end of the program, the kids have rebuilt a computer that they get to KEEP! The computer is imaged with educational freeware and other educational software that they have been given permission to use.

I happen to be the director of the project....but I would still say it was a fabulous project to support! We recently guided 47 5th grade students through the program and sent them home with 7xxx or beige G3 level computers that had been slated to be scrapped. The kids are elated and their teachers are now able to ask for their typing, written work, spelling and math reinforcement to be practiced at home.

FSF or GNU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11102627)

What about the FSF or GNU project. Seem opbvious to me.

My donations (money and/or time) (1)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11126152)

1. The Libertarian Party []

I donate money to these guys... yearly dues + the occassional one-off donation to help a particular project.

2. Civietown Volunteer Fire Department.

I was an active member of this VFD from about 1989 through 2000, during which time I held every position from "probie" to acting fire chief, and led the department in "calls answered" in 1999 while serving as assistant chief. I spent more hours than I care to recall conducting training meetings, working on equipment, filling out paperwork, answering calls, helping with fundraisers, going to county comissioners meetings to beg for money, etc, etc.

I have sinced moved out of their area, but I am still on the roster, and keep a set of turnout gear in my car, and answer calls when I'm down in the area visiting or on vacation or whatever. I miss being active in the fire service, but I don't miss getting up at 3:00 in the morning, when it's 10 degrees outside, to drive to the fire station to answer yet another false activation of some automatic alarm.

3. I intend to start giving more to groups like the EFF and FSF, when I get out of debt.

Give to Computerbank (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11128861)

Give to Computerbank Victoria, they are a volunteer group who recycle computers for disadvantaged individuals and community groups. They do most of their work in Victoria (although there are similar groups across all of Australia), as well as some project work overseas.

The cool part, is that Computerbank use open source software to do their work.

They are running an auction over at eBay for a "warm fuzzy feeling." []

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