Around the holidays, I usually get some email asking where to give money to help advance the issues I cover here. That, or where not to give money, given that common charities like the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society sometimes take the “fighting disease” thing to the level of lobbying the government to pass laws that control voluntary behavior (see smoking bans, fat taxes, etc.).
Here are a few places I recommend:
Reason Foundation. Obviously, a gift to my my employer supports my work, as well as the magazine as a whole, the foundation, and reason.tv.
Kiva. My new favorite charity brings microfinance to the masses. Kiva finds entrepreneurs in the developing world who need small (by our standards) gifts to either maintain or expand their businesses. You read over the profiles, choose a recipient, and make your loan (as little as $25). You can then track your beneficiary as they use the loan. When they pay you back (no interest), you can then re-lend to someone else. The repayment rate is more than 99 percent. Read the NY Times’ Nicholas Kristof on Kiva here.
Institute for Justice. Incredible record in winning real economic freedom for real people. Probably the best bang-for-your-buck libertarian organization around.
Cato Institute. And probably the most influential libertarian organization around. I don’t agree with everything Cato scholars put out, but Gene Healy, Tim Lynch, Jim Harper, Chris Preble, and Ted Carpenter alone are worth a check.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Who better to make the argument for legalizing drugs than a bunch of ex-cops, judges, and prosecutors?
Mississippi Innocence Project. If you’d like to help undo the damage done by Dr. Hayne & Co. in Mississippi, donate specifically to the Mississippi Innocence Project.
Cory Maye Justice Fund. As I’ve noted in the past, this is not a legal defense fund. Maye’s legal defense is paid for. Instead, donating here gives Maye money for his prison canteen, to give to his family so they can visit him in prison more often, and might let him buy some Christmas gifts for his kids. It’s managed by his attorney, Bob Evans. But Maye has the say in how it’s spent. Not tax-deductible.
Ryan Frederick Defense Fund. Frederick on the other hand is paying for his legal defense. So donating here will help him with his trial next month. Also not tax-deductible.
Modest Needs. A great little organization that makes small, one-time loans to people in need to prevent them from getting evicted, losing their jobs, or having to go on public assistance. They help with things like medical bills, car repairs, or other unexpected expenses.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation. Private wildlife preserve near Girdwood Alaska. The Agitatrix and I visited this summer. They raise baby moose orphaned when their mothers get hit on highways, injured bald eagles, orphaned bear cubs, and so on. They’re also raising bison in hopes of repopulating parts of Alaska. Some photos here.
Dogs in Danger. Website that pairs people looking to adopt a dog with dogs in shelters who are nearing their date of euthanization. They do great work, though the site itself damn near makes me want to cry. Good for a donation, but also, if you’re looking to adopt a dog, check here first.