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What's your favorite charity?

I loosen the purse strings at Christmas time and indulge the kids more than at anytime of the year. But I also tell myself that if I can afford to buy all this stuff, I can afford to give money to charity at this time of year too. The last couple of years we gave to Doctors Without Borders. This year I have been thinking about giving money to local food banks (rather than just food) because I hear that they can buy much more with a dollar than I can. And/or an environmental organization.

Do you have a favorite charity you like to support at Christmas (or any other time of year)?

Thu. Dec 20, 9:24pm

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We always do Operation Christmas Child - the shoeboxes that we fill with toys and such for kids in 3rd world countries. It's from Franklin Graham's organization called Samaritan's Purse. It's a wonderful charity. We get to see video of the kids getting their shoeboxes, it's amazing and I cry every time. My kids love to pick out stuff for their box.
We also do our local homeless shelter and the Salvation Army gets our spare change.

Thursday, December 20, 2007, 9:47 PM

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I have the good fortune (up to this point) to be able to put a fair amount toward charities, and I like to think I choose well, obviously influenced by my areas of interest. These are some of my ungrudging picks among national/international groups:

Economic Development - FINCA International (microbanking)

Educational - American Indian College Fund, United Negro College Fund

Environmental - Student Conservation Association (internships in parks, etc.) (I also support many local and regional groups involved with trails and parks)

Humanitarian - International Rescue Committee (refugee relief), Habitat for Humanity International (housing)

Services like and can give you some useful information to evaluate the effectiveness of specific charitable groups. But if you can bring yourslf to take the time to read some of the Forms 990 (which are often findable online with these services) you will gt a far better picture from reading the whole form. In some ways, the grades from these services are based on conflicting ideas of how a charity ought to operate (in particular some favor building up an endowment fund and some penalize for it).

For example, a year ago I was looking at Parkinson's Disease groups. I think I found 9 of them and on reading the 990's, there were two that looked good, looked like they had real programs of substance. But the rest were nowhere close to the top two, and I wouldn't consider sending money to them. You would see things like "program expenses" being one $10K contribution to an institution for research, and $50K to develop and distribute educational material (meaning they took some easy to find information and printed brochures and mailed them around to pad out their program without the inconvenience and cost of doing something useful), and the remainder of the budget was overhead and salary for the staff of about 2 people - this tells you that the object of the operation is to keep themselves employed. In at least one case I found that the same people had several other charities going in much the same way.).

Friday, December 21, 2007, 1:53 AM

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St Judes Childrens Research Hospital

St Judes just does a world of good and donations are not needed only during the holidays. I have three healthy children, Thank GOD! and I can only imagine what a parent must go through that has a sick child or terminally ill child. This place takes in children regardless of what the parents can pay so the donations help to keep it that way. I am not a part of their organization in any way but am compelled to give to them when I can which unfortunately isn't very often. They do all kinds of cancer research and have had much success. Please consider during all times of the year. God Bless those children and their families!

Friday, December 21, 2007, 8:25 AM

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I don't have a lot of money to give, but when I have a little money set aside, I go for the animals. I'm a huge animal lover and volunteer at an amazing no-kill shelter regularly. Local shelters, those that are non-profit and no-kill, are exceptional for donations because they really, really need the money. Every cent goes toward what it should.

I live in southeastern Michigan and my favorite shelter is called Almost Home. The website isn't updated very often, but this is a good example of an amazing charity.


Friday, December 21, 2007, 8:39 AM

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I will donate to the family abuse shelter in our area. I also donate to the leukemia and lymphoma society. The one thing I did this year is become an elfin and as the secret santa did in year past give randomly to those you feel lead to give.

Friday, December 21, 2007, 9:24 AM

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Heifer International

We donate money to buy sheep and goats for families in developing countries and give that donation in our family member's names. Several years ago some family members asked that we stop exchanging gifts to avoid mass consumerism at the holidays. It's worked out well for everyone, especially those in need in other countries.

Friday, December 21, 2007, 9:45 AM

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Kiva ( - it's a very personal, interactive way to microlend to the types of people/countries/tiny businesses in the developing world that you choose to support. It's billed as "charity meets myspace" and is surprisingly addictive.

Friday, December 21, 2007, 9:48 AM

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United Way

Friday, December 21, 2007, 12:15 PM

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PETA, Humane Society of the United States, local animal shelter, Feral Cat Association, Susan Koman Foundation

Friday, December 21, 2007, 12:22 PM

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Salvation Army

Friday, December 21, 2007, 12:27 PM

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