Boing Boing Charitable Giving Guide, the 2009 edition


40 Responses to “Boing Boing Charitable Giving Guide, the 2009 edition”

  1. designwallah says:

    You and others have mentioned many worthy causes, but they seem to be very local. I feel we should help make life livable for people far away from us, people whose lives have been destroyed by our protectionism, greed and disregard for the environment. I am not a religious person at all, but I think World Vision Canada is doing a tremendous job helping people around the world overcome poverty, malnutrition and injustice.

  2. Erinn Andrews says:

    Another resource for finding strong charities is Philanthropedia ( We use experts to identify top nonprofits so you can trust your donations are helping really great organizations. And, we create a mutual fund from the organizations so you can support an entire social cause you care about–it’s a different way to give, but a smarter strategy because no one organization will have the solution to the sector’s problems.


    Another noteworthy charity is Engineers Without Borders Canada, which is one of many national EWB organizations. They use the ol’ fashioned engineering approach to help solve developing world problems.

  4. Maggie Koerth-Baker says:

    Wanted to toss in a good word for a couple of my favorites, as well.

    Harlem Children’s Zone is an innovative non-profit that seems to be developing a new, actually effective model for improving the lives of underprivileged children over the long haul and breaking the cycle of poverty. You can read more about them in this Washington Post article:
    Their Web site is here:

    Scholarship America strives to make post-secondary education available to all:

    Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, you know what they do. I’m a Big and this is a great program:

    National Alliance to End Homelessness is just what it sounds like and their mission is particularly important today, when homelessness rates are at a recent high:

    The Salk Institute is doing the basic lab research necessary to find cures for a whole host of human diseases:

    The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria does important work getting preventative treatment and affordable medications to all parts of the world.

  5. michaelocc says:

    I’d ask any Torontonians interested in helping a worthy cause at the most mind-blowing Holiday party ever to check out – our Twitter-powered giant Seasonal love-in for the geek, creative and marketing crowd in the GTA.

    Last year’s event (recap: raised $25K for the Daily Bread Food Bank. Food bank use is up 18% this year – they desperately need our help. Tickets are dirt cheap and the party is just phenomenal. Trying to raise $40K this year. Help the world suck a little less and party your ya-yas off while you’re at it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget “Child’s Play”, the charity run by Penny Arcade to donate games to children in hospitals.

  7. zikzak says:

    For the tech radicals in the crowd, I find that always deserves a donation. They provide free hosting services for political groups that might be targeted by government repression, and they also do some great R&D for creating secure and truly free communications and organizing for political activists.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another good one is blood:water mission, they do HIV/AIDS work and water development in Africa. Right now they are fund raising for biosand filters.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I see Child’s Play was mentioned, but wasn’t given a link —

  10. Anonymous says:

    The purpose of this charity (which is just starting to get off the ground) is to improve the health of women and children in the remote provinces of Afghanistan. The site has tons of info about the plight and difficulty of women’s healthcare in that country. Currently they are trying to raise enough money to provide training for midwives.

  11. Andrew W says:

    A cry for help. I used to like to give the younger kids on my gift list things like soccer balls or school supplies donated to kids in developing countries in their name through Samaritan’s Purse. I’ve since found out that Samaritan’s Purse owns a private aircraft, and has been flying Sarah Palin around in it. Frankly, I’m sick of giving money to Christian charities, only to have them turn around and use it to proclaim values that I’m completely against.

    Is there a good, reputable organisation that does the same thing and doesn’t have ridiculous overheads, fly affluent preachers around for prayer dates, or support vile hatemongers? The kids have loved these gifts in the past, and one young cousin actually asks for them (hooray!)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Let’s Bring ‘em Home ( is a great charity dedicated to paying for lower enlisted soldiers to fly home for the holidays.

  13. Anonymous says:

    On FB there is a bank donating to a charity you can select from a list. … from this list only Metabrainz is available. And don’t forget the Buckminster Fuller Institute.

  14. Green Gal says:

    NextAid’s mission is to improve the lives of youth in Africa by implementing and advancing sustainable solutions. They have several great charitable giving options for the holidays this year …
    - “Funk Aid for Africa” CD with 100% of the proceeds of this awesome compilation going to NextAid’s environmental community center in South Africa.
    - MUD Cares Palette of Eyeshadows where 100% of the proceeds go towards building homes for children in Africa who have been orphaned by AIDS
    - “Send a Child to School” program for a $75 donation


  15. jacksontom says:

    I like all of the pro-freedom groups Cory endorses, and I would add two: The Cato Institute,, an ally on many issues Boing Boing cares about, and the Libertarian Futurist Society (, which this year gave its Prometheus Award to Cory’s novel, “Little Brother.”

    But please, in a time when many people are struggling to get by in the worse recession in decades, let’s remember there are charities worth supporting besides copyright reform. I like Kiva, which provides interest-free microloans to help proof working people around the world ( and the Second Harvest food bank,, which helps hard-pressed food distribution centers across the U.S.

    • Moriarty says:

      I also support Kiva, but I should point out that the loans are not interest free. You, the lender, are not paid any interest, but the lendees do pay interest. This goes to the “local partners.”

  16. MrsBug says:

    My favorite:

    Teaches poor (mostly) Central American farmers how to farm sustainably and organically, while helping them with low-tech solutions to feed their families (wood-conserving stoves, more diverse crop selections, etc).

    Check out their latest newsletter here: for a great review of everything they do.

  17. Sara Falconer - WWF-Canada says:

    Please consider a symbolic wildlife adoption from WWF-Canada! Penguins, caribou, meerkats and more – super cute AND they help fund our conservation work.

  18. thelittlefluffycat says:

    Speaking up for the four-footed – Cat House on the Kings in California is a great no-kill no-cage shelter that can always use help. There are many ways listed on their contribution page, another way here:, and you can donate in honor of a hard-to-buy-for cat lover and have a “plaque” posted on CH’s website.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget Wikipedia! They’re still a long way from their fundraising goal.

  20. Maggie Koerth-Baker says:

    If what you see here on BB doesn’t cover the stuff you care about, head over to one (or more) of these sites to find highly rated charities that support the cause of your choice without waste and sketchy bookkeeping.

    The American Institute of Philanthropy’s Charity Watch has a list of top-rated charities organized by cause:

    The Charity Navigator has lots of great lists and commentary:

    The Charities Review Council is Minnesota-centric:

    The Better Business Bureau has a quarterly Wise Giving Guide:

  21. Chainring says:

    For those who care to take a moment to consider the efficacy of their charitable giving before donating, is a great online tool.

    Habitat for Humanity International is a personal favorite of mine.

  22. smartlikeatruck says:

    FSEA- Future Scientists and Engineers of America

  23. Anonymous says:

    you need to be very careful about how a non-profits raises and spends its funding….check overhead, administrative and fundraising costs carefully….after all, you want as much of your donation to go to help and not for salaries and pension plans…

    carefully selected non-profits in the USA, Israel and around the world that meet the ‘efficient and effective’ criteria of using funding….

  24. DloPwop says:

    My favorite charity is Clean Water for Haiti, of which I am the director. We are a small, volunteer run NGO that sells Biosand water filters at a subsidized price. Our budget is only about $200,000 per year but virtually all of it goes to help the Haitian people find access to drinking water. If you want a more intimate picture of what we do in Haiti you can look at my wife’s blog.

  25. tonx says: is the longstanding life raft for knowledge of the complex relationship between humans and psychoactive plants and chemicals. I’m guessing many people reading this have leaned on it as a resource at one time or another. Donors get their excellent Extracts newsletter and other good stuff.

  26. EMJ says:

    Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

    Our mandate concerns emergency relief, and the principles we honour while carrying out our work are contained in the MSF Charter. We launch our operations in areas where there is no medical infrastructure or where the existing one cannot withstand the pressure to which it is subjected. In most cases, relief programs change to rehabilitation projects that may run for several years after the most urgent needs have been met.

    For doing work that I wholly support but would never be able to do.

  27. Dan Schnitzer says:

    Please consider giving to EarthSpark International, which develops local businesses to provide access to clean energy technologies. We are presently focused on Haiti. Full disclosure: I’m Co-Director of EarthSpark.

    Visit to donate.

    You can also see what I’ve been up to here:

  28. fredini says:

    Coney Island USA ( is a nonprofit arts center based in Brooklyn’s Amusement zone and they definitely need some help this season. Their programs include the Mermaid Parade(the largest art parade in the US), as well as Sideshows by the Seashore, Burlesque at the Beach, The Coney Island Film festival, the Coney Island Museum and more.

    Alternatively, between now and Dec. 11th Facebook users can vote for them in the Chase Bank Community giving program. ( )

  29. ADavies says:

    Vote up for Amnesty. Without the freedoms they safeguard, many other advocacy groups couldn’t function.

    Same same with ACLU, EFF and others.

  30. kyleronald says:

    I’d like to suggest Coffee Kids. A nonprofit dedicated to helping impoverished coffee-farming families improve their quality of life. The organization supports locally-managed programs in microcredit and economic diversification, education and training, health awareness, and food security. Coffee-farming families reduce their dependence on the annual crop and create alternatives for more consistent income.

    Check out

  31. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to toss Project DoD into the hat as well.

    To quote them:

    Project DoD is a nonprofit collective organized to research and develop tools, technologies, and infrastructure that promote community, solidarity, and autonomy.

    One of their specialties is in hosting sites that have been kicked off other hosts due to DMCA abuses (and helping those sites resist further DMCA takedown abuses) though I believe that all are welcome to use them as a web host. They’ve been very good to a friend of mine who runs a blog highlighting child abuse and murder by a network of sketch-ass ‘therapists’.

  32. Anonymous says:

    A vote for the Office of Letters and Light, the group behind National Novel Writing Month, Script Frenzy, and the corresponding Young Writers Programs. They’re working towards creative expression, literacy, and literary appreciation – and they’re the people who keep us going every November and April. :)

  33. Anonymous says:

    There is a group working to promote African voices in citizen journalism by building a whole new free system just for the purpose, which is pretty cool! Check out what they’re doing at You can donate on their homepage.

  34. FionaMcLaren says:

    Just wanted to say thanks very much for including Amnesty in your list. We really appreciate all the support you and Boing Boing have shown us this year, it’s really helped make some of our campaigns a success, so thanks again!

    Online Communities Editor, Amnesty UK

  35. wackyxaky says:

    I’ve always found particular inspiration from Partners In Health ( They do comprehensive medical care in the most extreme poverty areas, such as the upper plateau of Hati, Malawi, Peru, and more. PIH is very highly rated in efficiency and success rates. I’m a little biased, because it was established in part by Paul Farmer, my idol.

    Part of what has made them so successful in providing healthcare is that they take a holistic view of healthcare, reforming and educating the way people think about health, improving hygiene and access to clean water, employing locals to do a tremendous amount of follow up work, etc. I can’t recommend them enough


    There’s also Wikileaks, which most people from around these parts are familiar with. They now have a paypal setup for donating, so it’s way easy.

  37. Strabo says:

    GAH, for the second year in a row you haven’t listed the MSF. Doctors Without Borders is THE best humanitarian/medical agency around. They don’t pay humongous executive salaries or have incredibly high overhead like The Red Cross. And even better: they go places that The Red Cross won’t. Giving money to the MSF means someone’s life will be measurably improved (they’ll be fed, or get critical medical care) and that a VERY HIGH percentage of your donation will actually go towards providing those services.

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