As the end of this year gets closer, and more non-profits reach out for charitable donations, I thought it would be a good time to look at the organizations I’ve donated to throughout the year and share some of the reasoning behind my giving. The majority of my giving is religiously-motivated, while the rest isn’t. When it comes to other giving, an increasing amount of that non-religious charitable giving is focused on non-profit journalism.
Religiously-Motivated Charitable Giving
I’ve been a baptized member of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church since elementary school. My parents sent my younger sister and I to the same SDA elementary school and high school. My sister earned her undergraduate education degree from an SDA university as well. We grew up returning tithe and giving offerings to our church, and I’ve tried to be faithful with that practice, even through the pandemic. This year, as in previous years, my denomination and my home church will be the largest recipients of my charitable giving.
Another charity I donated financially to this year, and to which I’ve donated my time in the past (through assisting with ESL courses and teaching technology courses to seniors) is Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington (ACSGW). This charity was founded in 1983 by 3 SDA churches located in Takoma Park, MD and Silver Spring, MD.
The most recent change to my giving is the addition of my high school alma mater to the list of recipients. A fellow alum reached out regarding donations to projects at our high school and I chipped in a bit of money for one of the projects. Giving to my high school is something I plan to do more regularly in 2023 and years to come.
Other Charitable Giving
I’ve donated regularly to my local public radio and TV stations, WAMU and WETA respectively, for many years. I grew up listening to and watching them both, and I make sure that my children get at least of bit of PBS kids programming in their media diet regularly.
ProPublica received my earliest donation specifically for non-profit news back in 2010. Since then, my non-profit news donations have expanded to include Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. ICIJ and ProPublica get monthly automatic donations and I need to put Reveal back on that list as well .
This year included a bit of giving to tech-focused non-profits:
- Internet Security Research Group (the non-profit behind Let’s Encrypt, which provides certificates for website encryption free of charge for my website, and millions of others)
- The Internet Archive (not just of previous versions of websites, but free books, music, and more)
- Electronic Frontier Foundation (defending free speech online, fighting illegal surveillance)
- Wikimedia Foundation (they host Wikipedia and a wide range of other projects to make knowledge freely available online)
One of my longer-running monthly automatic donations has been to RAINN. I first learned about the charity through the experience and music of Tori Amos (specifically the track Me and a Gun, from her Little Earthquakes album). Over the decades she’s continued to speak out as a survivor of rape and do other work fighting on behalf of sexual assault victims.
Edit: After I published this post, I discovered the software I use to track my expenses mischaracterized one of my charitable donations. Friends of the Library Montgomery County is a charity that supports the public libraries in Montgomery County, MD. Given how the culture wars have begun to negatively impact both public libraries and school libraries, putting additional funds (beyond tax dollars) toward libraries is more important than ever.
Charitable Giving Plans for 2023
I hope to give more, and more consistently to the causes I’ve written about above. I’ll also look to resume giving to charities I missed this past year. Capital Area Food Bank is one such charity. Kiva is a non-profit microlending platform through which I’ve made loans to borrowers in 13 different countries over the years. I’ve also donated funds from time-to-time, but not as often or consistently as the sort of work they’re doing probably needs. I donated to The Bail Project and the Equal Justice Initiative in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers in 2020 but unfortunately haven’t done so in subsequent years.
I feel very fortunate to have the means and opportunity to give, and hope to encourage whoever may read this to give as well.