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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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I just heard a radio ad for people in financial distress to call 211. I was very impressed. I tried calling it from my home phone to see who it is that is funding this but got "We're sorry. You are not authorized to call the number dialed". Now I am thinking I should try to help bring this service to my area. Anyone know anything about this?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 6:39 PM

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Wonder Inc.

Wonder - a big brother/big sister organization for foster care children - Wonder's mission is to insure that no child go through foster care alone.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 6:52 PM

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I'm a social worker who refers clients to 211 a lot. It's great. While I know the United Way has a valuable place in the non-profit world, I try to donate my money to an agency, rather than the organization. That fifty dollars goes a lot further that way. Doesn't pay United Way salaries, but buys much need goods for an agency.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 9:54 PM

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My daughter goes there. She suffers from a brain tumor and they help us out sooooooooooooo much! If it wasn't for them sometimes I would really be lost. They offer such a great support system for the families and they are so great with the children. If it wasn't for them I am positive my daughter would have died when the previous doctors said she would. She was not supposed to live to be 1 year old. She is now 20 months old and we are holding out till she is 24 months to under-go brain surgery to remove the tumor. St Judes rocks! Help out kids that need the help!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007, 10:44 PM

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008, 5:13 PM

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I have a foster child in Zambia, I buy breast cancer products, and I give to childrens' hospitals. I have 2 daughters, so those charities are particularly dear to me.

Monday, February 04, 2008, 7:56 PM

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any animal based charity.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008, 3:57 AM

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Any Battered Womens Shelter

this is the most underfunded charity around! There are 10 times more shelters for abused animals than there are for battered women (and men) and their families.

Thursday, February 07, 2008, 1:46 PM

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I'm particularly fond of this painless way of giving...

You register with the site, you pick your favorite charity (most of the ones listed above are on the list), and any time you shop online from about 800 stores (including just about every site I use - orbitz, amazon, avon, old navy, etc), the store donates a percentage of your purchase to the charity you selected. It's like free money for charity - it doesn't cost me any extra than if I'd ordered without being registered with

Monday, March 24, 2008, 12:04 PM

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When I'm in a bad mood, I search for non-religious, grassroots orphanages abroad that accept PayPal donations and send whatever I would have spent on cookies and brownies to feed the bad mood. February was a lousy month for me, but a great one for an orphanage in Nepal.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 3:31 PM

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MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association)
If you give to your local chapter the money stays in your community and helps pay for things like doctor's visits, wheelchairs, leg braces, sending children with the a neuromuscular disease to summer camp, etc.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 5:27 PM

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3:31 - that's great! What a wonderful way to respond to a bad mood! I imagine giving feels SO much better than eating, regret, and extra weight!

Monday, March 24, 2008, 7:26 PM

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Make A Wish

As a pediatric oncology nurse I have seen families come to the end of the road as far as treatment. Recently I had the opportunity to see first-hand what this charity does for these families. It has become my favorite charity.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 10:38 PM

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Komen for the Cure

huge history of breast cancer in my family and i'm a 2 time 3-day walker.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 9:55 AM

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It's a kind of warehouse for sponsoring specific projects for lots of different charities, from as little as $10. Sometimes I just use it for easy searching and contribute directly to the charity (linked from their site) so that this middleman doesn't get their 10% cut, but for smaller charities that are 100% volunteer-run, this site is incredibly efficient.

Thursday, April 10, 2008, 12:29 PM

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Hearts United for Animals... nonprofit no-kill animal shelter.
AIDS research, product red...

Goodwill for clothing and product donations.

Thursday, April 10, 2008, 1:44 PM

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Usually i make small contributions all over the year, not just around Christmas but i must admit i like playing the Santa during this period for poor families with kids. I use to make small donations considering the amount of money i get every month, but i have no particular preference for any organization. As long as i know for sure they are not scams it doesn't matter where my support goes, after all they will help less fortunate people and that's all that matters. BTW, i am planning to try auto donations (which is a first for me) i want to get a new car and it would be nice to give the one i have away.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 7:00 AM

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The Ronald McDonald House

I have two brothers, and both live too far away from the Los Angeles Children's Hospital to drive back and forth daily. Thankfully, The Ronald McDonald House was there so that they could stay in town, near by (across the street from the hospital) while their little ones were going through surgeries, tests, etc. for weeks and months at a time, both on several occasions.

my older nephew, now in 4th grade, goes to ST. JUDES CHILDRENS RESEARCH HOSPTIAL in Memphis twice a year to get the specialized testing and help he needs for his extremely rare medical condition.

The other nephew still has several surgeries ahead of him. He is only in the 1st grade. My family gives to both these charities. They are very near and dear to our hearts.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 10:21 AM

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