What is your favorite charity?

lexi7July 5, 2008

People on this forum have been called misers. IMHO, a miser is someone who hoards money because they love money. I tend to think we are people who love life enough to take care of our money and be good stewards of it. That being said, I am curious about how many people on this forum give generously. Do you have a favorite charity? After our tithes and offerings to church, we support St. Jude ChildrenÂs Research Hospital, the American Red Cross, Heart Fund and we purchased everything from cookies to spaghetti suppers from neighbors and friends. We know that if we give, it comes back to us.

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Because we are frugal with our money for ourselves, that means we have more to give than many families. We budget giving just like we budget spending. We also choose organizations that actually help others.

We have one local charity that ministers to homeless men that gets a large percentage of our giving dollars. It's one of the few in the entire region, so they do a great service to a large area. They provide for homeless men and help get them back on their feet and help them become productive citizens again. This same group also serve thousands of meals each year to anyone who needs one. They also sponsor free lunches for children (up to 18-years old) at several school locations around town during the summer (when school is out).

Our local food pantry is another place we give to regularly. Their resources of food and $$$ are being utilized even more than ever with food and utilities skyrocketing.

There's always the Red Cross and Salvation Army as well. With all the tornado disasters we've had locally in June alone, their resources have been stretched. Our local chapter of the American Red Cross is functioning on borrowed money right now, so regular donations are important.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 4:11PM
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I try to give to one U.S. human based charity, one international refugee/relief charity, animal charity, an environmental group and a population growth control group.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 5:54PM
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St. Jude ChildrenÂs Research Hospital is my favorite charity. I also support the Make a Wish Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House (in Houston), and the Salvation Army. DH gives to Relay for Life, the United Fund, and Food Share through his job.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 6:08PM
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There were so many scandels that made news when I started making my own money that I never felt comfortable donating large amounts to organized charities. I tend to give more money or supplies to the local groups or organizations that need it. I've volunteered time and supplies over the years to local organizations that have needed help like the school library, Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, kid's groups, etc. Dh donates to the Salvation Army and another group through United Way.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 8:58PM
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Heifer International. It is an awesome program to help provide farming animals and necessities to third world countries.

Here in the states I donate to the Salvation Army, and other resale shops that help women get back on their feet to look for a career (it's called Dress for Success). I donated over 50 suits when I quit my management position.

I feel so good when I help others.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 5:25AM
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We're extremely frugal when it comes to ourselves, but give to many, as well.

Over the years, we've given our time and energies to: the Seeing Eye (we used to raise puppies), the schools, of course--all parents do that. Dooley House--an AIDs Baby Hospice in our area. As well as many other groups that needed extra volunteers.

Financially, we like to support Alex's Lemonade, Ronald McD House, Make A Wish to name a few.

But the bulk of our giving is done annonymously, directly to people who need help. Sometimes we know them, sometimes we don't--but there are always people in your own neighborhood who have hit hard times. A family coping with cancer. A single mom who has lost her job and has special needs children. A family who has lost everything in a fire. Sometimes we give money, sometimes we give food/clothes/other necessities. It makes you feel so good to know that you've helped someone NOT for the thanks you'll get, but simply because it was the right thing to do. I really prefer to do most of my giving that way. Of course, there's no benefit to you--no tax write off, no shiney halo over your head as you walk around town. Much better, though, the shiney glow inside.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 9:42AM
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I am extremely fortunate to have been born in a country where we enjoy a substantial measure of freedom and have a government chosen by the people, substantialy democrtic, though I am unhappy that so much of the financing of political parties comes from corporations. I am thankful that I enjoy a measure of prosperity, in a world where many scarcely know where their next meal may come from ... which means that I can enjoy the luxury of retirement, which is unknown in many parts of the world.

I support several church congregations, mainly where I attended when young, or served as minister, plus about an equal amount to provide Christian service and development systems abroad.

Medical research, etc. - Heart and Stroke, Lung Assoc'n., Cancer Soc'y., local hospitals, Arthritis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and St. John Ambulance.

Amnesty Internat'l., Canadian Food Grains Bank, Canadian Red Cross, Habitat, Inter-Pares (a group that works for human rights internat'ly) and Salvation Army.

I support the university plus the seminary where I was trained (both in a smallish market).

Ark Aid, a Christian agency helping the poor in our city, Life Spin, a social group helping poor local women become independent, London Food Bank, Mission Services, a local Christian-based service agency helping the poor, Teen Challenge (a Christian agency helping addicts get drug-free), United Way and Women's Community House, a local agency helping abused women get going on their own (where my daughter worked several years ago helping raise funds to build a local shelter).

Thank you for your contributions of time, talent, money and energy to help our communities, areas, countries and the world become a more satisfactory community in which to live.

I make contributions to a political agency, as well, as I believe that if millions of us as individuals disregard the importance of supporting political groups, a large proportion of their income will come from selfish groups who want their own interests served ... and many of us feel that to be an unhealthy way in which to allow our democratic system to develop ove time.

Good wishes as you attempt to ensure that your contributions made to charities are used honestly, efficiently and effectively.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 5:16PM
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I don't believe I have a favorite. Give regularly to the Salvation Army (in rememberance of the help they gave my father during the war overseas), Cancer Society (lost several relatives to cancers of one kind or another), Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Cadets of any service - (I can't pass a kid in a uniform raising funds) and of course Read-a-thons for local schools (anything to get a kid to read!).

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 4:07PM
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Here too, I don't have one favorite. There are so many good and deserving ones. Local crime prevention organizations, local food shelves, and various humane societies have been some of my favorites that are so often overlooked. And the donation of TIME often is needed even more than money. When I've had hard financial times I've still given time to worthwhile causes. What a great feeling to make a contribution of time and effort! So satisfying and the feeling lasts. And of course Diabetes research, cancer research, Salvation Army and many many more need support.

Sadly, there's very unworthy organizations too and downright scams. I am so annoyed with United Way and certain other organizations. When you look at the administration expenses of so many of these "businesses" it's appalling. I stopped giving to United Way decades ago when they stopped supporting diabetes research. My little protest. And I despise the extortion methods they use at businesses (you didn't sign and return your pledge card!).

I have very mixed feelings on Red Cross. They do a LOT of good, there's no question about that. But I don't like some of their fundraising tactics, especially targeting kids to send in their piggy banks. I remember in grade school there was the envelope in each class with the students names on it and how much did each donate. Even as a 3rd grader it bugged me and these days it angers me. But then they are, along with the Salvation Army, usually the first into a disaster area. So therein lies my quandry.

I also like to support public television, radio and the local community supported stations. Again time and effort is effective, needed and appreciated.

BTW, here's a frugal but valuable donation you can make to humane societies: Often there's free or super cheap after rebate items, like pet food, leashes, litter, etc. Donate the product to them. Some stores even have a bin you can drop your donation so you don't have to make a drive to drop it off. Check with them on what they can use. Often you have extra cleaning supplies and they can generally use them. Same goes for food shelves if you get cheap shampoo, cleaners, etc, donate to them. There's also places for battered spouses, single parents, etc that can use the products. Even sample sizes and the like. If you have a collection of little soaps that you've stolen from motels.... well there's a way to use them.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 9:11AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Humane society, Latin America child care, local food banks.
I have read some disturbing things about Heifer International and its help in third world communities.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:53AM
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Cynic your post reminded me of how great it felt to give blood back when I was able to do it. They said one unit of blood helped 4 other people. It was a great feeling knowing that my blood saved lives. Thanks for reminding me of that feeling. I wish I were still able to give. It isn't painful and once I gave the first time, I was never afraid to give again.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 11:20AM
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I tend to stick locally to the organizations I donate to. Both my husband and I volunteer and donate money greatly to our local schools. Schools are the most important factor in our families lives. There is nothing we don't do to help them out. Our local food pantry and humane society are organizations that we help also. I don't have a great deal of trust in national organizations that the money we would send goes to help the people that actually need it. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 1:08PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

At this time, we do not donate much in the way of money (still making up for past financial mistakes). However, probably one of my favorite organizations is Gospel For Asia. We have adopted 2 children who receive an education and a meal every day. Every cent goes to those 2 children because every administrator and office person has to raise their own funding. Also, GFA has a program where we can purchase different things for families such as chickens, goats, pigs (of course according to what is acceptable within those areas), etc which can provide families with food and income. We try to do this around Christmas as a project with the kiddoes.

Some money is deducted each paycheck to support Alta Mira. They provide early intervention services for young children with developmental needs. They worked with my autistic son and were wonderful.

Otherwise, we try to do things as the opportunities present themselves. We provide meals to people recovering from surgery or some other difficulty in their life, give gift cards to a grocery store to someone who lost their job, etc. We have a friend who recently started working 12-hour graveyard shifts and once a week I watch her kids for free so she can get some desperately needed sleep. Hopefully I can get my garden productive in the future so I can donate some of the fresh produce to a homeless shelter or foodbank.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 3:21PM
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Our school district has a school for homeless children and that is my fave. We also give to our animal shelter and we rescue strays. (Animals, not children!)

In another job I was the company representative for the United Way crusades - boy, could I tell you a few things about that organization! They would be my least likely charity to which I would donate money.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 8:00PM
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There is a website (sorry,don't know the name) that rates the various charities and how much of your money actually goes to the recipiants.....the one I had supported and stopped was the US Olympics. It was interesting to see the information as a guide to where your money would make the most impact.

But this past year I added a new one - From the Top which I happened to see on their PBS broadcast. It is about youngsters doing classic music. I also contribute to the Skaters' Fund which helps figure skating coaches who fall on hard times. I've tracked their awards and am pleased with who and under what conditions they have helped these people.

In addition, I buy used books at my local grocery store book bin as the money all goes to a local charity. I then donate books back in return. I also do Salvation Army but do not do Red Cross - I heard years ago they sometimes charge people for donated supplies, it is not outright freely provided. I also give to local charities as needed.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 7:59AM
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We sit down some time in mid December with a huge envelope of all the appeals we've gotten all year. We make a list of all the charities we want to give to. I check them on the web sites that rate these organization. The constant year after year are Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, Habitat for Humanities, The Carter Center, The local Food Bank, Homeless Shelter,Library, Schools and some local cultural insitatution. There wiill always be disaster relief needs and the neihborhood munchkins who are too cute to refuse and leave us with terrible cookies and candies which we usually eat anyway.

I think this important and I hope we will never be too poor to do it. I know that there were times when all our children were in college when we did not do as much charitable giving as I would have liked and I am grateful now that we can give more.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 1:54PM
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The Perpetual Education Fund. The fund functions as an endowment to students in developing countries, with all loans made from interest on the corpus. All donations made to the fund go to the fund corpus. All administrative costs, such as time and expertise, are donated by volunteers. As part of the "perpetual" aspect of the fund, each person receiving a loan, after completing his or her studies, is asked to give back to the fund generously, according to their ability.

This is just one charity I donate to. There are others, but this one is administered so well...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 6:53PM
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We have the kids buy toys for toys for tots and vounteer to help sort the toys.

We buy animals from the heifer foundation as gifts to relatives who don't want stuff, we give to Children's Miracle Network and after many years of donating our son was hospitalized for a chronic illness and we saw first hand where I money was spent--very impressive!

Our cub scout troop saves money and donates time to the Ronald McDonald house- another impressive organization.

We also donate blood to the American Red Cross which if you are frugal is right up your alley. I donated much needed blood and got a free pound of coffee from Dunkin Donuts and a free pizza from Pizza Hut and a free donation card with my blood type which I keep in my wallet:)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 12:09AM
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In addition to cash donations, DH & I do:

Me: I'm a trained Women's Crisis Counselor. Volunteered hundreds of hours to taking calls on the domestic violence & suicide hotlines; trained Court rape advocate; restraining order advocate; & taught many classes inside State women's prison to inmates on the cycle of domestic violence, how it changes an individual's ability to make positive decisions, drug-related seminars, & alcohol abuse recovery including testifying in Court at probation hearings. Also trained & volunteered as a cancer advocate for American Cancer Society & provided free music lessons to under-priviledged kids.

DH: Has served on about a dozen Boards of various non-profit organizations including mental health, woman's issues, minority business assistance, art/theater, pro-bono legal counsel, rings the Salvation Army bell every Christmas season, mans the Hospice booth at our local shopping mall several times/year, & served as CEO for one of the largest non-profit affordable housing funds in the country, fundraisers for American Cancer & American Diabetes Foundations, & local Board of United Way.

Our oldest daughter volunteers about 20 hours/week to a no-kill animal rescue facility. She's also involved in training personal assistance dogs for the disabled & has a certificate for emergency small animal (mostly cats/dogs) care in times of crisis like after Katrina she spent hundreds of hours caring for abandoned pets.

Our son donates a lot of time to American Diabetes & volunteers as a coach for his community's soccer & basketball teams. He's also participated in many fundraisers for American Cancer.

My personal favorite charity for cash donations is Make-A-Wish Foundation. DH's favorite is Hospice. We also support food banks in NY & CT. There is such need at our food banks it's reaching critical-mass levels. DH also serves food at the soup kitchen. We are both serving T-Day dinner this year at the food bank in lieu of our usual activities.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 11:09AM
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