Aunt B on Philanthropy 101

It just occurred to me that some of you might not be givers. It’s not that you don’t want to give, perhaps you’re just unsure, doubtful that your gift will make a difference, or go to right people. I get that.

Within the past year, Mama has given away fruit trees at local Farmer’s Markets, a tree for everyone who friends her on Facebook and reusable grocery bags to those of you who made a pledge to help out BP with that devastatingly nasty oil spill. Mama is a dog lover too and will feature adoptable pets on this site and will collect and give blankets to local shelters. Yeah it’s a horn, it’s Mama’s and I’m tootin’ it.

Philanthropy is good. Giving feels good, better than receiving most of the time. Oprah challenged her readers to think about giving this way. If you are going to buy a $50 gift, use $25 towards a gift and donate the other $25 to a charity in that person’s name. Well, yes I invoked Oprah, but that’s because like Mama, giving is one of her favorite things.

So what if we were to try that this season? Here are some of my favorite places to give too, these are places that help women, families, animals and the planet. Mama approved, of course.

Kiva-means “unity” in Swahili and was founded in October 2005 by Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley. Kiva allows lenders to microfinance entrepreneurs in developing countries. The money is paid back to you and you have the option of reinvesting.

Americare– with 99% of its funding going to programs, Americare provides help when disasters or violent conflict happens in the U.S. or abroad.

V-Day– V-day works to end violence against women and girls worldwide.

First Book– addresses literacy by providing books to children to keep. I like their tag line, “Don’t you remember your first book?”

Actors and Others for Animals – with 93% of its funding going towards programs, AOA subsidizes spaying and neutering and helps pet guardians living on low or fixed incomes care for their animals.

– Aunt B