Friday, November 24, 2006

As I said earlier, the holidays are officially "on." What better day than Black Friday, or Buy Nothing Day, to give thanks for what you have, plan your charitable giving, and spend some energy on things that matter most?

December 1st is World AIDS Day. Here are a couple of really good promotions going on to help support Youth AIDS:

1. Kiehl's is donating 100 percent of sales of their delicious grapefruit hand and body cleanser to Youth AIDS. This is a great gift for Secret Santas or the hostess of the party you're attending or the house you are staying at for the holidays. I certainly wouldn't sniff disapprovingly at it either *wink*

2. If you're on MySpace, when you add 3 Needles as a friend before December 1st, 10 cents will be donated to the Youth AIDS Africa project. A free and painless way to do your part to not only raise some funds but get this critically acclaimed movie about the global AIDS crisis on everyone's radar, and get people talking.

If you're starting to think about tax season, and write-offs, or you just like to give a little back, here are some of my official endorsements for your hard-earned charitable donations:

1. Global Fund for Women

I worked here, I know the tireless women and men who work here, I know their courageous and fearless grantees, their dedicated international board, their loyal supporters. I know the good work this organization does for women's rights around the globe. Committed, positive, and passionate, GFW consistently invests over 3/4 of their funds into programs, above and beyond what is encouraged by such charity watchdogs as Charity Navigator; this year, they have invested over 80 percent toward programs, and have received 4 stars, the highest rating from Charity Navigator, for the fourth year in a row. Donate to the Global Fund for Women.

2. Greenpeace

I usually like to support small community-based environmental organizations, because I feel the most good is done to support your community first as a building block in a healthy environmental foundation, but longtime international healthy oceans advocate Greenpeace gets my vote this year because of the diversity of their programs, their commitment to nonviolence, and their support of people working to educate the public with scientific fact about the state of our oceans -- this article is why they are getting my support this year. Donate to Greenpeace.

3. Union of Concerned Scientists

I've been an admirer of UCS for some time. UCS merges scientific study with citizen action to work toward environmental stability and sustainability. Sharing their findings about everything from the benefits of organic food to the feasibility of renewable energy sources with the public, media, and governments, township to federal, has made them a well-respected environmental advocate in government policy. I also love their commitment to education -- making environmental awareness both realistic and easy to understand -- as well as their passion for removing the imposed hierarchy between scientific and "layperson" advocacy. Donate to Union of Concerned Scientists.

These are the charitable organizations I have committed to supporting this year, and I encourage you to check them out. But I would also love to get recommendations for charitable giving from anyone who reads this blog. Whatever you decide to support financially or spiritually, the most important thing this holiday season, and always, is to remember those who are less fortunate, and those organizations that are working to make our communities and our world a better place.

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