Give Charity With Clarity

It's incredibly important to give year round, since people don't JUST need help around Christmas. Whether you're an activist, a philanthropist, a volunteer or a worker at a non-profit, you know just how much charities need help all through the year. Christmas, though, is when the majority of letters requesting assistance come in, and it's when many people's minds turn towards being grateful for their privileges.

So you want to give, but what charities to give to is the question? It seems like charities all over are disappointing us with unethical practices- the Salvation Army with its anti-gay stance (even going so far as to threaten to shut down all the soup kitchens they run in NYC if they had to adhere to civil rights laws, thereby fucking over the homeless) and money scandals, Goodwill's money scandals, issues with charities supposedly raising money for breast cancer, Haiti, and environmental groups (I mean, as anyone who's done with with nonprofits knows, if you're making good money at charities, you're probably mismanaging funds). How does a person who's anti corporate greed and pro human rights to navigate the tricky waters of  charity donations?

I was recently accused by someone I know of being a hipster do-gooder on a pedestal because I said I refused to support the Salvation Army and its bigoted policies. "Why punish the people they *do* help?" she asked. "Bigots need shoes and soup kitchens too". Well, yeah, I guess they do, and thank goodness the US has enough bigots to financially support these places so I don't have to. Because personally, if I'm putting money into the hands of people who may or may not every use that money to do more than line their own pockets, and who actively discriminate against people who need their services, I am saying that I think that's ok. And I don't. I tend to do a lot of research before I put money down on something. The Free Speech Coalition, for example, fucked over porn stars during the Porn Wiki controversy by not acting swiftly and not taking it as seriously as they should have, so I'm not supporting them either.

Well, I can't give you a list of all the charities everywhere you should support, but here's a few I quite like. I'll add, too, that I love to find local, small animal charities like Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre or New Moon Farm Goat Rescue and donate to them or sponsor an animal as a gift- it's rewarding to do that on a smaller scale with groups that would die without your help. I do recommend you do your own research- find out how transparent the company is, what their practices are, and who they outreach to (or turn away).


Sex Workers Outreach Project: a social justice organization that works to promote sex worker rights through education and advocacy.

Solace SF: group that actively supports sex workers in the Bay Area in many ways, both ones staying in the industry and those moving out of it. Faith based, but not at all pushy.

Electronic Frontier Foundation: deals with issues around tech, free speech and privacy rights, among other things.

Center for Sex and Culture: providing sex education, cultural events and maintaining archives of sexual material- supporters of the Safe/Ward project.

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom: supports advancing the rights of people who have alternative relationships (poly, kinky, swingers, etc)-also hosts Kink Aware Professionals.

ADAPT: organizes disability activists fighting for basic freedoms.

United Way of the Bay Area: helping Bay Area people out of poverty and homelessness while also refusing to work with groups that discriminate.

The Ella Baker Center: has awesome programs to help the community revitalize Oakland, trains youth to become community leaders, and has a green jobs campaign.

Ali Forney Center: provides housing for LGBT homeless youth in NYC.

Transgender Law Center: offers legal advice and workshops.

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders: New England legal rights organization focused on ending LGBT discrimination.


Sex Worker Open University: amazing multifaceted program that covers sex worker voices from all over.

TLC Trust: matches people with disabilities with sex workers comfortable working with them.

Backlash: defending freedom of sexual expression, particularly relating to things now illegal like "extreme pornography" (images of fisting, say)

Albert Kennedy Trust: supports LGBT youth 16-25 who are homeless or living in a hostile environment.

Broken Rainbow UK: supports LGBT people experiencing domestic violence.

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard: information, support and referral service for anyone who needs to consider issues around their sexuality.

North London Cat Protection Agency: the charity I fostered my London kitties from.


The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: fabulous group with branches all over the place who do a lot of community service for human rights with a big dose of irreverent humour.

Burners Without Borders: Burning Man folks working to help rebuild communities all over the world.

What are some of your favourite charities? List them below!

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