Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Power of Giving

Last year I went through a phase of giving over the period of a month. I gave to a variety of Jewish organizations, with the ultimate goal of ... feeling good. I'll admit it. I never really gave to any organizations before, because I never had money. When I did have money, I was busy paying off my creditcard debt. So the moment I had a few free bucks, I gave. Meagerly, but I gave, and mostly to my tzedakah box at home.

Right now, I'm sitting at the Future of Jewish Nonprofit Summit in NYC, where giving, charity, and money have been the major topics of conversation. The fellow who opened the day's events, Charles Best of DonorsChoose.org, really paved the way for me to rethink how I view giving and charity, and for that I'm super thankful. In fact, I added a link on the right-hand sidebar to GO to DonorsChoose.org. And? I donated some money to a single effort that I'll mention in a few. All you have to do is go there, find any random or specific project looking for some funds, and give something, anything. One dollar will get a classroom far, believe it or not, and if a lot of people donate a lot of dollars, then bam -- you'll have a classroom with a bunch of awesome supplies like protractors and pencils and calculators and ... books. Yes. Books. Some people need something as simple as books.

In 2009, more than $300 billion were given charitably.* 
Seventy-five percent of that? From individuals.

A corporate giving list can be found at goodness500.org.

You can actually go to DonorsChoose.org and type in the keyword for any cause you fight for on a regular basis, any cause you donate to. Best used the example of a guy who is big on salmon in the Northwest. So Best told him to go to DonorsChoose and search "salmon." Bam. There were projects at schools all over that needed some type of donation tied in with salmon. Yoga? There are a lot of those, too. I looked up journalism, and there are a ton of projects looking for simple goods for journalism goodness. Holocaust your thing? There are a bucketload of projects looking for help in funding for supplies for Holocaust projects.

Basically, what I am saying is this: You got a cause you dig? You got an extra dollar in your pocket? Skip the latte tomorrow and donate it to a good cause. Let me get you started. An old college chum, Josh, is a Teach for America teacher in Kansas City, is looking for supplies for his math class. Simple stuff. Easy stuff. Just go there. (He needs $80, come on!)