There’s been some discussion on this site recently regarding disclosure of charitable donations. I can understand why some might wish to keep this information private but I’m not at all shy about telling you which organizations I choose to support.
This year, I made donations to the following charities:
* Oceana – The largest international ocean environmental advocacy group dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans and its sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, whales, endangered species, and marine ecosystems.
* Union of Concerned Scientists – The leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.
* Conservation International – Applies innovations in science, economics, policy, and community participation to protect the Earth’s richest regions of plant and animal diversity and demonstrate that human societies can live harmoniously with nature. Works in more than 40 countries on four continents to help people find economic alternatives without harming their natural environments.
* The National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Provides advocacy, professional education, research funding and support for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.
* The Raptor Trust – Provides care and assistance for injured wild birds and aims to educate the public about conservation issues related to birds, especially birds of prey.
I also made material donations to the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, which benefits wounded, disabled, and handicapped veterans.
But there are a number of other types of donations I’ve made which may not count for tax purposes but count in myriad ways to me:
I’m an avid Freecycler, and donated over 35 items this year to those who needed them, including a giant standing freezer I gave to a local school for underprivileged children. Apparently this donation will be keeping them in ice cream parties for a long time to come.
I also save all my egg cartons for a local independent chicken farmer, and have brought over at least 100 cartons this year (I do a lot of baking). Since farmers in my area have a lot to contend with, this bit of recycling helps to keep at least one of the expenses down for a farm which appears to be barely breaking even.
And then, as always, there’s the active practice of channeling my spending towards organizations and businesses I believe in, using my purchasing power to support their continued growth. For instance, in 2007, 71 percent of my total grocery budget went to support local agriculture and small businesses. I hope to grow this percentage even further in 2008.
Today’s the last day to donate for the 2007 tax year; did you reach your giving goals?
Updated August 9, 2011 and originally published December 31, 2007.