As is customary here on the 316 Perspective at the end of each year I always do a post promoting some of the worthy charitable organizations I personally support. You can check out previous years’ editions here.
For this year’s edition I wanted to highlight not only the organizations I personally support but I also wanted to point out some other organizations some friends/Followers/readers suggested via FB and Twitter. In addition I also wanted to share my personal philosophy and approach to giving.
For me personally, my major giving areas are reflective of my personal values so I always love to give to education, the environment, health and the arts. This is not to say other areas are not important. I’m a supporter of social services programs and generally give to those types of organizations during the year, particularly during the annual United Way campaign. As animal lovers we also give regularly to our local Humane Society or other animal rescue organizations. For my year-end donations though I tend to try to focus on more “big picture” type of giving and try to frame my donations in an “investment” frame of mind to maximize bang for the buck (since I don’t have that much) as opposed to the “let’s help the poor/needy/save the animals” type of giving usually associated with United Way or Humane Society type of campaign.
Second, for those of you looking to learn more about the wide variety of organizations out there that you can give too beyond those that simply send you mailing labels or post-it notes in the mail, I highly recommend Charity Navigator and the American Institute of Philanthropy as sites you can research and learn more about the organizations that hit you up for money and well as learn about other organizations out there that do work in the fields you are passionate about. These sites share with you ratings about these organizations and give you a breakdown of how and where your money is spent. It’s a great place to check out these charities as well as learn about new ones that are worthy of your support and hard earned dollar.
Without further ado…
If you’re a long time reader or took some time to browse the archive link at the top of this post there’s no real surprise about who I continue to support so I’ll run down the major organizations and then I’ll list some other organizations I feel are worthy of support in hopes that maybe you too will consider giving. I’ll break these down by category.
As an educator I of course wholly support and believe in education, the dissemination of knowledge and the exchange of ideas. As such, some of the organizations I fully endorse are the following:
Wikipedia: Most folks know it as the site you go to look up obscure info on the web. Many folks aren’t aware this site is ran by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation (although Jimmy Wales and team have done a GREAT job of raising awareness the past few years with the “Jimmy Wales is WATCHING YOU POOP!” campaign.) Many of us turn to Wikipedia daily to look up something so if you’re a regular user please by all means help chip in and sustain this valuable resource for all of us. As Jimmy points out this year, if all users chipped in $20.00 it will sustain the site for a year. $20.00 doesn’t sound like a bad price to pay for access to such a wealth of information!
As a graduate of Kamehameha and a Native Hawaiian I am eternally grateful to the vision of Bernice Pauahi Bishop to educate future generations of Hawaiian children. Ke Alii Pauahi is the non-profit fundraising entity dedicated to developing funds to extend the reach of Kamehameha to fund education opportunities beyond those of just the three Kamehameha campuses. Some of the things the foundation funds are scholarships for college, support for Hawaiian charter schools and Early Childhood Education. For myself, I donate twice a year: once on Founders Day (in December) and again in May (in honor of my graduation from Kamehameha). I typically designate my support to Early Childhood Education or Charter School Support. I firmly believe in Early Childhood Education. The sooner we can help our children build a solid foundation in life the better off we ALL are in the long run. I also firmly believe in the vision and mission of our charter schools and the valuable work they do in offering alternative forms of education for our children that are more appropriate to specific learning needs/styles. Many of these organizations operate bare bones and the faculty, staff and students of these schools are more than worthy of our support.
I am a proud alum and employee of the University of Hawaii system. I earned an AA from Honolulu Community College where I spent 15 years of my life first as a student then as an employee. I also earned a BA from UH Mānoa’s School of Communication (then just a department), an MBA from the Shidler College of Business and an M.Ed from the College of Education. I donate at the end of each semester to the UH Foundation to support my alma mater: each December to the School of Communication (I was a Fall graduate) and each May to Honolulu Community College, the Shidler College of Business and the College of Education to commemorate my graduation from each of those programs. For this year, I’d like to point out and encourage donations to Honolulu Community College’s Native Hawaiian Education Enrichment Fund. This is the fund I personally set-up as my going away gift to the college upon my departure from service. The purpose of the fund, as the name implies, is to support Native Hawaiian Education at the college and specifically support Native Hawaiian serving programs at the college, in particular the Native Hawaiian Center and the Hawaiian language and Hawaiian studies programs. Most departments within the University operate bare bones on state appropriations and are reliant on either donations or grants to truly offer high quality services to students. Please consider giving to this fund if you are a supporter of Native Hawaiian education. If that’s not your thing, do consider a donation to your own alma mater and pay it forward to future generations of students following in your footsteps.
There is no shortage of organizations dedicated to protecting our environment. In the past I’ve donated to the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy. Unfortunately, you can’t support everyone (unless you’re in the 1%). For me, a few year’s back after discovering Charity Navigator I discovered the Environmental Defense Fund. After reading up about them I really enjoyed their approach to advocacy and conservation and find them to be the best organization to funnel my support of the environment through.
Disease is a part of life. Many of us are susceptible genetically to a variety of chronic illnesses: diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lupus, etc, etc, etc. In the past I’d given to organizations such as the American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Lymphoma Society, etc, etc. As with our environment though, you can’t support everyone (and all of those orgs are definitely worthy of support). Many of these organizations focus on research to fight the disease, some of them provide support for patients and their families. For myself, my approach to supporting health and finding cures for disease is to invest my limited funds with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. The NIH is a government agency dedicated to scientific research to find cures to diseases as well as advances in medicine, new forms of treatment as well as training and education for medical/health practitioners. The Foundation works with and provides additional support to the NIH. In my opinion, supporting the Foundation is the best way to be able to support the overall work going on to find cures for ALL the diseases that we and our loved ones suffer from.
I LOVE the arts. In my bio I taught myself as a Patron of the Arts. I love theatre. I love dance. I love music. For this area my support is purely local as it should be. Arts are something we enjoy here in our local communities. Sadly during tough economic times support for the arts is the first to go thus it’s up to us patrons to pitch in and support our local artists whose work we love. Here are some of the great organizations and troupes locally you can support and or check out a show at 🙂
The Actors Group: Local acting company that produces a great season of plays each year. No huge broadway or off-broadway style productions, but very entertaining, thought-provoking and artsy. 100% non-profit.
Diamond Head Theatre’s Youth Education Program: DHT is Hawaii’s premiere Broadway theatre but they too are a non-profit organization that offers an outstanding performing arts program for youth and adults. Your donation goes to support arts education in Hawaii 🙂
Hawaii Arts Alliance: They support arts education and promotion here in Hawaii Nei. Most importantly to me, donations to Hawaii Arts Alliance can be designated with help in finding a new home for my beloved Laughtrack Theater.
IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre: Hawaii’s premiere contemporary dance theatre. They BEAUTIFULLY fuse Western/Eastern/indigenous dance styles into truly spectacular shows. 100% non-profit.
Kumu Kahua Theatre: Kumu Kahua stages plays about Hawaii and/or the Pacific written by local playwrights. Support LOCAL theatre at its finest 🙂
Though not within the scope or premise of my Year End Donations piece, here are some other organizations we support locally:
Kanu Hawaii: Hawai’i’s grassroots sustainability organization. Take the challenge today!
Hawaii Dog Foundation: Hawai’i’s no kill dog rescue organization.
Oahu SPCA: O’ahu’s rescue shelter for our canine and feline friends.
That’s it for my picks. Here are some of your picks not already mentioned earlier as reflected by my friends/Followers on FB and Twitter.
Southern Poverty Law Center
If you’ve not done so already and it’s within your means please consider a charitable donation today. If you have a charity you’d wish to share with us please leave it in the comments section. Till next year…
Happy Holidays 🙂