Philanthropy of the Year

Over the past few years I’ve taken to tracking all the donations I make to various organizations. I have a google doc and then it goes into my financial reporting. I thought I’d share with you all a few of my top faves. Maybe you could let me know of your good organizations that you think are worthy of support.

First of all, the main recipients are my church, the Unitarian Universalist First Parish in Cambridge, and then my alma maters – UVM, LSE, and Goodenough College (what was the London Goodenough Trust for Overseas Students when I was there). Also, I make a donation to the Boulder Society to support leadership at the University of Vermont (I am a Boulder alum).


Then, there are the Big Orgs that I’ve supported over the years and still feel they are relevant. This includes Amnesty International (USA) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (I have a cousin with MS and my other cousins organize an MS Walk fundraiser every September. I may try to do it this year). I also supported UNICEF this year as one of my board members was running in the NYC Marathon for it – though that cancelled, I donated anyway. In the past I’ve also supported Greenpeace (and I retweet their stuff!! Yeah @kuminaidoo!) but this year it seems like they weren’t bothering to ask small donors like myself. I may have told them to stop mailing me stuff and they obliged, but then missed asking me directly. Well. I’ll have to sort that out.


I also support a lot of organizations that are led or closely aligned with my friends:

Environmental Leadership Program – I became a fellow of this organization in 2011 and it has been a wonderful support group, source of ongoing training and inspiration and also a lot of fun! They are taking applications for the 2013 cadre of Fellows, so if you know anyone who is a developing leader in the broad environmental field, take a look at the site and the application.

Appalachian Mountain Club – I have a connection through the ELP who is an officer or something in the AMC. And I regularly get up there to the mountains (I will have to tag my hiking entries in the blog here some day) so I figured I should kick them back a little something.

KomeraProject – My friend Margaret runs this great org helping girls in Rwanda stay in school and connect to mentors and role models as they proceed.

Excel School – My housemate Yutaka runs this charter school (he’s also a founder) in East Boston. Good stuff.

Livable Streets – A friend of mine through the cooperative scene, Jeffrey Rosenblum, is a founder and on their board now – the promote de-car-i-fy-ing streets so that pedestrians, bikes and other uses can benefit from the public roads. And casino en ligne wordpress to reduce bike-accidents which I have suffered. So I offer them my support. Yes I still have a car but I think pedestrianization is great. The way they improved the design of the BU Bridge was significantly due to Livable Streets design support. We’ll see more of that good design intervention work on the upcoming renovations to the Longfellow Bridge.

Ally Coalition – my old buddy Jeb works for the band fun! for their human rights / gay rights organization. When I say works for it, he has been creating it over the past year and it’s good stuff.

Toxics Action Center – another colleague from the ELP, Sylvia Broude (in my 2011 cohort) recently became the ED of this organization and I like what they do. Stop coal power plants for instance.

New England Grassroots Fund – also part of my ELP Posse, Bart Westdijk, works for these folks and I like what they do up there in Vermont!

And also I’m a fan of some professional associations like my own USGBC MA and NESEA (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association).

Food Democracy Now! – these guys rock! They are totally on top of it and working to stop genetically modified organism pollution in our world. I hope they can grow and stop the madness. You surely have seen my likes and re-posts on facebook and twitter. Just say No to GMO!

Food Dem Now

Organic Consumers Association: I like what they’re doing to promote organic and sustainable agriculture.

MassPIRG: They were jamming on the bottle bill. I like that, though in general they seem a bit scattered.

Wikimedia: They asked in a really good way. And one of my favorite things to do on a Friday night is rabbit-hole on wikipedia. So I gave.

Red Cross: in response to Sandy.

I also gave to my old Weston Drama Workshop – they put on a 50th Anniversary Gala and Show this summer – I got to act and sing in it with alumni from the past half century – it was great! I attended a great workshop organized in part by my former housemate Laura Hopps) by Joanna Macy presenting her “Work that Reconnects,” and late in the summer I funded my bro Ted on Kickstarted for his travel/art project – I am beginning to wonder when or if he’ll ever finish that thing. He’s being a bit of a perfectionist it seems. I guess I’ll just be patient.

I’m sure there were more to give to but these are the ones that I know I gave to. There probably were some other small donations that I didn’t notice – like $5 for MoveOn or something, or some cash contributions at parties or such, but these are a good representation of the basics. I hope I can find even more good causes to give to in the coming year.

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