• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Let's Talk About Giving Money to Charities  RSS feed

 
M.R.J. Smith
Posts: 73
Location: North Idaho at 975m elevation on steep western slope, 60cm annual precipitation, zone 4
1
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Return the surplus, right? Well, this may be a strange thing to hear on permies, but some of us have a surplus of money! Well, let me rephrase that; due to religious reasons, we feel compelled to part with a share of whatever money we may have. This is not just out of "rule following" but more out of a spirit of not being attached to money and trusting in God to take care of us regardless of what happens (I know this is a laughable concept to many here but that is aside the point.)

We don't prefer giving money to our church as they are very well funded. We don't want to give to some big nameless, faceless, and potentially dubious organization. I only found 1 thread on the entire site about charity giving, which mentioned heifer international, but allow me to create a more general thread about giving.

So, we have Heifer international which educates poverty stricken areas and gives them animals so that they can get a more sustainable income- not sure how sustainable the husbandry practices are because animals can be quite destructive if misused.

What other options are out there that people can suggest?

We have given anonymous cashiers checks to people we know who could use it in the past.

We have given valuable items like cars, etc to others for free that we could have sold instead.

Do we have any other creative ideas? I'm looking for something that we know makes a real difference in someone's life and does something to help regenerate the planet to boot. My mom gave to one where she paid for someone's college in a 3rd world country and we still write letters to her and I'm happy this person went on to be an accountant at some firm in town. Not saying it is bad to do as this made a huge difference in someone's life but in a perfect world it make a huge difference in their life AND help the earth, AND create a surplus from that person's benefit that they can pass on to continue the cycle.

A perfect candidate for me would be a fund for micro-finance loans for people who want to start sustainable agriculture businesses in poverty stricken areas. Does anyone know of anything like this?

 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5912
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
367
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
make a huge difference in their life AND help the earth, AND create a surplus from that person's benefit that they can pass on to continue the cycle.


I guess the obvious choice that comes to mind now, to me, would be to 'sponsor' a gapper or an ant at the Lab....or fund a project there.

Not a charity, I know, but would further what was said in the quote above
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
183
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a thing, but I don't know the quality of the institution: https://www.kiva.org/

There's also financing folks through crowdfunding campaigns on platforms such as Gofundme, Kickstarter, etc.

 
John Weiland
Posts: 938
Location: RRV of da Nort
43
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This looks like a pretty good one: http://gardenwarriorsgoodseeds.com/2015/01/01/white-earth-land-recovery-project-minnesota/

Just to add that with the White Earth Reservation equidistant from North Dakota State University and the Univ. of Minnesota--Crookston, you might be able to sponsor a scholarship for a student to work on a plant breeding degree, the materials of which are planted and observed at the White Earth planting location and the project undertaken under mentorship of tribal and university advisors.
 
Andrew Brock
Posts: 43
1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If possible, volunteer at a few places, then let that inform your decision. You can get a good idea of how a place operates by how well they manage volunteers (ie if there are a bunch of volunteers standing around its probably not well manages in general). This way you are also keeping the money in your community too
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
117
forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You might look at the United Way. As I understand it, they more vet other charities to confirm that money received is actually being applied to the stated cause. Donating through United Way they send that money to your local charities (and you can pick which charities) or you might just use their lists as a guideline for direct donations.

At this point in time they're trying to focus on charities which will have a lasting impact in the future lives of the recipients. Much of it is educational or health care based, I believe.
 
Vera Stewart
Posts: 244
Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
23
bike books dog food preservation greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler Ludens wrote:Here's a thing, but I don't know the quality of the institution: https://www.kiva.org/

There's also financing folks through crowdfunding campaigns on platforms such as Gofundme, Kickstarter, etc.



Kiva is a platform that arranges for people to lend through it's website to different loan organizations around the world. Lenders don't make any interest, but the vast majority of the organizations/partners do. Kiva itself uses donations and corporate sponsors for revenue. Most borrowers pay interest, although some loans are zero percent. That's the story.
If you choose to go the Kiva route, it's pretty important to learn to use the loan filtering options, so that you only look through the loans from organizations telling you they charge less then x percent interest. You can also filter loans for "green" or "agricultural" or ...there are a lot of filtering options. It's easy, but not obvious. (you have to use the "advanced options" to exclude some amazingly high interest loans.) But first you have to decide if you believe most of what Kiva and it's partners are telling you, because a lot of people have had questions. Plus it's important to note that usually the people profiled have already received a loan, and their profile is an example, not an indication of who specifically is getting your money. You might be helping funding their neighbor, but not them.

There is a "Kiva Zip" program as well, that provides zero interest loans to people in the US - I've seen some permie-look farmers seeking loans there. With Kiva Zip the loans are to the actual people listed. You should also watch for "matched loans" when a sponsor promises to match your loan, allowing faster funding.
I find that I'm most comfortable loaning through Kiva to the Coopertiva San Jose, in Ecuador, as they don't charge a particularly high interest, seem well established, and often are lending to farmers in remote areas. Unfortunately the Kiva Zip program has lower rates of repayment.

I don't believe Kiva as an organization is running a scam, I think it's big and has faced considerable scrutiny, and if something was amazingly wrong it would be known by the public by now, but they do deal with field partners of varying degrees of venality, and can be a bit...opaque about what is actually happening to the money you lend. And maybe you don't believe in the whole lending/borrowing thing. Which is valid.

Anyway, I continue to use Kiva, but lending through Kiva is only part of my charity plan, and I'm essentially just recycling loan repayments into new loans on the platform at the moment, rather then adding new funds.

I also am involved in local literacy charity, shop at the second-hand shop, where all profits go to the local hospital, and donate to people like the Nature Conservancy. But I'm always interested in getting new ideas on this charitable topic, so I will be following this thread with intrest.

 
Roberta Wilkinson
Posts: 175
Location: Washington Timber Country
18
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My stepdad is part of a charitable organization that provides union trade apprentices with a full set of the tools of their trade at the end of their apprenticeship. This is a huge leg up for a young person starting what can be a valuable lifelong career. So, maybe something like that? I realize most union trades aren't directly permaculture-related, but maybe you could bankroll young natural builders or solar installers.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
gardener
Posts: 2587
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
502
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I prefer a decentralized approach to giving. Rather than donating food to a mega-food pantry, I prefer to give food directly to individuals. It's part of my strategy of localizing my life, and every aspect of it. More than I few times, I've gone home shirt-less or coat-less because someone needed my clothing more than I do.
 
Jim Thomas
Posts: 57
Location: SC; Zone 7B
3
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Buy fresh food from local (preferably permie) farms and give it to local soup kitchens. Just make sure that it is something the kitchen will actually use. This gives a 3fer:

1. Supports the local farm
2. Provides food to poor people
3. It's not just food, but HEALTHY food.

We've bought food for people in the grocery store line on occasion, when it is obvious they are struggling, but I just can't do it when it's a cart full of junk food. The problem is, the junk food is so much cheaper than the healthy food.
 
Jason Silberschneider
Posts: 177
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
jack spirko did an excellent podcast on 10 Steps to living free in an unfree world (Podcast download link) where he mentions creating your own charity that is specific to how you'd like your money spent.

He talks about how to go about setting one up with a few like-minded colleagues, and some of the tax and legal aspects of it. Sponsoring an ant may even qualify as a legal charity for tax purposes.

But at least you'd have control over where your 10% of earnings is going, and how it is being spent.
 
Alex Apfelbaum
Posts: 49
Location: Northeastern Spain (Mediterranean, zone 9b)
2
books chicken forest garden
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tyler Ludens wrote:Here's a thing, but I don't know the quality of the institution: https://www.kiva.org/


I've been using Kiva regularly since 2011 and am quite satisfied, it's easy to use and you have a good view of the progresses made by the people borrowing your money. Not all projects succeed, but many do !

On a side note, I wish there weren't so many poor farmers looking for a loan to buy hybrid seeds and fertilizer...
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 652
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
23
trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Casie Becker wrote:You might look at the United Way. As I understand it, they more vet other charities to confirm that money received is actually being applied to the stated cause. Donating through United Way they send that money to your local charities (and you can pick which charities) or you might just use their lists as a guideline for direct donations. At this point in time they're trying to focus on charities which will have a lasting impact in the future lives of the recipients. Much of it is educational or health care based, I believe.

Perhaps some people like the United Way, but after working at an office that was striving for a high "participation rate" I am forever turned off to the them. The United Way's main fundraising tactic seems to be getting employers to pressure their employees into giving, at that just seems slimy to me. In my opinion, if there exists such a power imbalanced relationship between two people (teacher/student, employer/employee, etc.) that it would be inappropriate for one to ask the other on a date, then it is also inappropriate to ask for a donation.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
117
forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is probably a valid concern. I tend to be blind to those kinds of power imbalances. I've regularly asked top leaders in my company to pitch in at the same tasks we pay high schoolers to do, and they do it. Its only on later reflection that it occurs to me that most people wouldn't have asked.

I don't have any more problem telling people no than I have saying yes, after I've weighed the reasoning. I view my company cooperating with United Way in fund raising as allowing me a convenient way to donate to charities that I would easily forget about in the general bustle of my life.

But I also specifically pointed out that donations can be made specifically to the individual charities, without paying through United Way. As a resource for giving, this gives people hundreds (probably thousands) of different charities who have been investigated and determined not to be doing things like blowing all donations on 'conferences' to the Bahamas for employees.

On rereading your post... was it United Way at fault for the high pressure tactics? Or was this something that your company was doing? My company also strives for a high participation rate. We are paid for a half an hour of listening to a sales pitch, entered into a raffle if we do donate, and then we go about our business. No one else ever finds out how much or even if you donated. Other than that one meeting a year (and receiving our prize if we win the raffle) it isn't brought up again.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
183
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Alex Apfelbaum wrote:

On a side note, I wish there weren't so many poor farmers looking for a loan to buy hybrid seeds and fertilizer...


This is a holdover from the Green Revolution which still has a stranglehold on agricultural thought around the world. This is why there's such a desperate need for people to teach permaculture all over. I'm not talking about teaching the PDC, I'm talking about teaching people to grow food using permaculture principles.

 
Linda Secker
Posts: 87
Location: Lancaster, UK
1
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I give to 'practical Action' a few times a year. They used to be called 'The Intermediate technology Design Group'. They have local people on the ground in places that need assistance and find out WHAT would help local people (rather than just making a decision themselves). The project has to be replicable, and made from local materials. So for instance, a stove, made of local clay, so that women in Africa don't have to cook over smoky, inefficient wood fires. They don't have to haul so much wood and their families are healthier. HOWEVER what Practical Action does, is TEACH these women how to make the stove, and teach them how to teach others how to do it. The stoves spread outwards from the original village. They've done all sorts of other stuff too - comfortable harnesses for donkeys, bicycle ambulances, new bridges.... the point is that the people who need the help are taught a skill rahter than just being given something.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
183
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Linda Secker wrote: the point is that the people who need the help are taught a skill rahter than just being given something.


This is so important! In truly desperate situations outright charity of food, water, shelter are necessary, but once the crisis is past, people need help moving toward independence with new skills.

 
John Wolfram
Posts: 652
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
23
trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Casie Becker wrote:On rereading your post... was it United Way at fault for the high pressure tactics? Or was this something that your company was doing? My company also strives for a high participation rate. We are paid for a half an hour of listening to a sales pitch, entered into a raffle if we do donate, and then we go about our business. No one else ever finds out how much or even if you donated. Other than that one meeting a year (and receiving our prize if we win the raffle) it isn't brought up again.

I would agree that it's not the United Way's fault if it's just a one-off company that uses high pressure tactics, but when you see newspaper articles like this one it suggests that it is a systemic problem. I fault the United Way for setting up a system that encourages, and benefits from, employers pressuring employees to donate in much the same way that others might fault Nike or WalMart from setting up systems that encourage, and benefit from, sweatshop labor.
 
kevin stewart
Posts: 73
3
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Imagine kevin and I are in a bar and we see ten co-workers at a table and I give kevin money to buy ten beers for them.
On his way to the table he drinks five, give two to friends and spills the rest so badly that he arrives with barely one.
Not even ten percent. That's your average charity.

I worked in a hawaii hotel that passed out payroll deduction slips to make donations to united way, from every paycheck. There was a lot of pressure and many of my coworkers didn't want to give. Out of six hundred employees I might have been the only one to say no.

This week I went to a car auction in los angeles and when I didn't buy anything I walked to the metro train station.
I passed through skid row. Wow! Tarps and tents everywhere. I have been thinking that a stand up tent would make a miserable situation a tiny bit better. So I'm going to look into that.
Of course then I start thinking about pota potties, and a dumpster to keep the place clean.

I still had $2000 cash in my pocket as I walked past the tents. This 59 year old pilsbury dough boy was a little concerned.
 
I think I'll just lie down here for a second. And ponder this tiny ad:
21 podcast review of Sepp Holzer's Permaculture
https://permies.com/wiki/54445/digital-market/digital-market/podcast-review-Sepp-Holzer-Permaculture
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!