I’m a big fan of organizations that enable people to reach their potential. I understand the need for emergency relief in disaster situations, but ongoing relief to poor countries can actually do more harm than good (see Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in and Age of Plenty).
The non-profits listed here are ones I support and which focus on giving people a second (or first) chance. I hope you will be moved to share some of your excess with one or more of these fine organizations.
I love Heifer! I love the concept of providing qualified recipients with livestock to provide nourishing food, warm milk, and clothing. I love their cornerstone of passing on the gift. And they make it fun to share! You can chose to donate anything from a heifer (obviously) to a flock of geese. Heifer also arranges study trips to see their work in different parts of the world (yes, it’s on my list!).
Visit Heifer’s Online Gift Catalog and give somebody a bright future!
I learned about micro-lending from reading about Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen bank. I stumbled across Kiva during online usability testing on UserTesting.com. Kiva is an online community of lenders of micro-loans. To date, Kiva lenders have provided more than $160,000,000 in loans to qualified lenders. There is no interest on your loan, however, you will get the money back and when you do, you can pump it right back into the micro-lending machine and help somebody else!
If you’ve read Three Cups of Tea, you’ve heard of the Central Asia Institute.
Greg Mortenson, mountaineer turned educator, founded this organization to raise money to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His primary goal is to help young girls get a good education and, thus, a better future. When girls are educated and grow up to be educated women, it makes a huge difference for her family and for her entire village.
If you haven’t read Greg’s amazing story, you need to! He travels extensively to speak to various groups and raise money for this cause.
To donate to the Central Asia Institute, click here.
I first ran into Oxfam when I was looking to donate money to the devastating Haiti earthquake that occurred on January 12, 2010.
From their website: “Oxfam is an international confederation of 14 organizations working together in 99 countries and with partners and allies around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.”
We need to find ways to allow our suffering brothers and sisters to pull themselves out of poverty and sustain themselves longterm. Otherwise, we will never reach our goal of ending poverty. Oxfam is on it.