A Time To Share

For those who are able, the week before New Year’s can be a perfect time to contribute to charitable, public service, and arts organizations. It’s the holiday season, and for those who are on vacation, there is time to focus. I ask all of you to please tell us about, and preferably link, your favorite non-profits. I’m particularly interested in lesser known, local organizations.

Large and small, and mostly in their own words, these are some of my personal favorites (which do not necessarily reflect the views of DocuDharma or any of the other bloggers at DD):

Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment

The Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment is an environmental justice litigation organization dedicated to helping grassroots groups across the United States attack head on the disproportionate burden of pollution borne by poor people and people of color. We provide organizing, technical and legal assistance to help community groups stop immediate environmental threats. In the 16 years that CRPE has been helping the poor and people of color resist toxic intrusions and protect their environmental health, among our many victories we have beaten toxic waste incinerators, forced oil refineries to use cleaner technology, beaten a 55,000-cow mega-dairy, stopped numerous tire burning proposals, helped bring safe drinking water to various rural communities, stopped a garbage dump on the Los Coyotes reservation in southern California, and empowered hundreds of local residents along the way. Our ongoing campaigns fall into three broad areas:

Air Quality

Clean Water

Civil Rights

Rainforest Action Network:

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is made up of 43 staff members in San Francisco, CA and in Tokyo, Japan, plus thousands of volunteer scientists, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens around the world. We believe that a sustainable world can be created in our lifetime, and that aggressive action must be taken immediately to leave a safe and secure world for our children.

Dubbed “some of the most savvy environmental agitators in the business” by the Wall Street Journal, RAN uses hard-hitting markets campaigns to align the policies of multinational corporations with widespread public support for environmental protection. We believe that logging ancient forests for copy paper or destroying an endangered ecosystem for a week’s worth of oil is not just destructive, but outdated and unnecessary….

On an annual budget of slightly more than $3 million, RAN has helped convince dozens of corporations-including Home Depot, Citigroup, Boise Cascade, and Goldman Sachs-to change their practices, congratulating them when they do so. We’ve helped to protect millions of acres of forests in Canada, Indonesia, Brazil, Chile and beyond. But much more needs to be done. For our society to truly break its oil addiction, protect endangered forests, and promote human rights and sustainable finance, everyone must get involved.

Oregon Wild

Founded in 1974, Oregon Wild works to protect and restore Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife and waters as an enduring legacy for all Oregonians.

Oregon Wild (formerly the Oregon Natural Resources Council or ONRC) has been instrumental in securing permanent legislative protection for some of Oregon’s most precious landscapes, including nearly 1.5 million acres of Wilderness, 95,000 acres of forests in Bull Run/Little Sandy watersheds (to safeguard the quality of Portland’s water supply) and almost 1,700 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers.  As a leader of the national grassroots charge for conservation of roadless areas in our national forests, Oregon Wild helped secure administrative protections for more than 58 million acres of spectacular roadless areas across the country.

1000 Friends of Oregon

1000 Friends of Oregon was founded in 1975 by Governor Tom McCall and Henry Richmond as the citizens’ voice for sound land use planning.  Their goal was to protect Oregon’s quality of life from the effects of uncontrolled growth, using the tools of Senate Bill 100, passed in 1973….

But, 1973 was a generation ago.  Over half the people living in Oregon today weren’t here in 1973.  People realize things look different here, but may not understand that our land use laws are a big reason why.

Today, 1000 Friends staff focus on education and advocacy, to engage Oregonians in a fresh conversation about Oregon’s future, and how to make sure it’s a future we all want.  We seek to enhance the quality of life we enjoy in Oregon, with beautiful natural areas, the family-owned farms and woodlots that comprise our working landscapes, and vibrant, livable communities for urban and rural residents alike.

Forest Ethics

Founded in 1994, ForestEthics is a nonprofit environmental organization with staff in Canada, the United States and Chile. Our mission is to protect Endangered Forests, and to achieve that goal we’ve created a revolutionary new approach….

When we find that Endangered Forests are being destroyed, we determine which corporations are purchasing the products of that destruction. If a corporation refuses to change its practices, we hold that company publicly accountable—with protests, websites, email campaigns, national advertisements, and more. And when a company is ready to protect Endangered Forests, we help them implement sound policies through our Corporate Action Program.

Marin Conservation Corps

Started in 1982, MCC is the nation’s first local non-profit conservation corps. Since then, over 3,000 thousand youth have participated in MCC’s year-round work and education programs. Corpsmembers improve their academic skills, increase their employability options, develop an ethic towards service, and learn about a variety of educational and career opportunities while at MCC. All of these gains and personal achievements take place in the context of learning to appreciate the value of conserving and protecting Marin County’s precious natural resources.

Since our inception, MCC has performed nearly 3 million hours of work on the 150,000 acres of Marin’s public lands. Each year, we provide approximately 160,000 person hours to communities, local, state and federal land management agencies, schools, special districts and homeowner associations.

Seeds of Peace

Founded in 1993, Seeds of Peace is dedicated to empowering young leaders from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence.

Over the last decade, Seeds of Peace has intensified its impact, dramatically increasing the number of participants, represented nations and programs.

From 46 Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian teenagers in 1993, the organization still focuses on the Middle East but has expanded its programming to include young leaders from South Asia, Cyprus and the Balkans. Its leadership network now encompasses over 3,500 young people from several conflict regions.

The Seeds of Peace internationally recognized program model begins at the International Camp in Maine and continues through follow-up programming with international youth conferences, regional workshops, educational and professional opportunities, and an adult educator program. This comprehensive system allows participants to develop empathy, respect, and confidence as well as leadership, communication and negotiation skills — all critical components that will facilitate peaceful coexistence for the next generation.

Peace Education Fund

The Peace Education Fund works to shape public debate and organize the greatest possible public voice and participation on three priority areas: the abolition of nuclear weapons, terminating U.S. weapons sales and military training to human rights abusing governments, and strengthening international cooperation.

Through sustained media and public education campaigns, the Peace Education Fund disseminates compelling and concise information to millions of Americans, and serves as a resource on foreign policy issues for the media, journalists, citizens’ organizations and policymakers.

The Peace Education Fund is the educational sister organization of Peace Action West, the largest and most active membership peace organization in the western United States with 50,000 members and an email alert membership of 35,000.

Project Vote Smart

Here at Project Vote Smart, Americans young and old volunteer their time, take no money from special interest groups, and have committed themselves to an extraordinary effort that, if successful, will provide their fellow citizens with the tools for a reemergence of political power not known for half a century. Their idea is one you may have thought of yourself. It is a deceptively simple concept but enormously difficult to achieve and would not be possible without the collaboration of citizens willing to lay their partisan differences aside for this one crucial task.

Picture this: thousands of citizens (conservative and liberal alike) working together, spending endless hours researching the backgrounds and records of thousands of political candidates and elected officials to discover their voting records, campaign contributions, public statements, biographical data (including their work history) and evaluations of them generated by over 100 competing special interest groups. Every election these volunteers test each candidate’s willingness to provide citizens with their positions on the issues they will most likely face if elected through the Political Courage Test.

This project is an historic undertaking. Citizens come together, not in selfish interest or to support one candidate over another, but to defend democracy. It is an extraordinary gathering of people committed to one purpose: to strengthen the most essential component of democracy — access to information — even as it suffers grave attacks from candidates and political parties, many who are now willing to manipulate information and deceive voters.

Children’s Cancer Association

We’re here to help. The Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established in loving memory of five-year-old Alexandra Ellis who courageously fought cancer for two and half years before she died on May 7, 1995. In the year of Alexandra’s death, CCA was born. Since then, CCA has worked to offer award-winning programs, along with information, advocacy and support that help enrich the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families.

I Have A Dream Foundation – Oregon

The “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Oregon helps children from low-income communities in Oregon graduate from high school prepared for advanced study or rewarding employment by providing a long-term program of mentoring, tutoring, and enrichment with a partial college scholarship available to all Dreamers (students) that graduate from high school.

Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded in 1971 as a small civil rights law firm. Today, the Center is internationally known for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacists and its tracking of hate groups.

Standing Against Global Exploitation Project

The Standing Against Global Exploitation Project- or the SAGE Project- is a nonprofit organization with one primary aim: bringing an end to the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adults. We at SAGE contribute to that goal by raising awareness about CSE/CSEC issues, and by providing outreach and services to CSE/CSEC survivors.

SAGE is a unique collaboration between law enforcement, public health, social services, and private agencies. Our approach is collaborative as well as prevention and solution oriented; it’s about restorative justice that benefits individual communities and the whole of our society.

SAGE is also unique in that it is one of the few organizations that was created by and for CSE/CSEC survivors. Within our various programs, we work with several hundred women and girls per week, and advocate for many more in our awareness-raising efforts. SAGE programs are also replicated by other organizations, with expert guidance from SAGE staff members.

National Coalition for the Homeless

The National Coalition for the Homeless, founded in 1982, is a national network of people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, activists and advocates, community-based and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission. That mission, our common bond, is to end homelessness. We are committed to creating the systemic and attitudinal changes necessary to prevent and end homelessness. At the same time, we work to meet the immediate needs of people who are currently experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of doing so. We take as our first principle of practice that people who are currently experiencing homelessness or have formerly experienced homelessness must be actively involved in all of our work.

Coalition on Homelessness – San Francisco

The Coalition on Homelessness was formed in 1987 to foster the active participation of homeless and low-income San Francisco residents and front-line staff in the struggle for economic and social justice. Through an integrated approach that combines outreach, peer support, leadership development, public education, advocacy, and community organizing, the COH works to defend homeless and low-income people from attacks on their rights and their persons, while advocating for permanent solutions to homelessness that take into account not only poverty’s devastating effects, but also its root causes.

Marine Mammal Center

The Marine Mammal Center works toward this end:

Through rescue and humane treatment of ill, injured, or orphaned marine mammals, to return healthy animals to the wild.

Through scientific inquiry, to increase knowledge of marine mammals, their health and their environment and assure their long-term survival.

Through education and communication, to increase appreciation of marine mammals, foster informed decision-making affecting them, and inspire action to protect the marine environment….

Since 1975, over 12,000 animals, such as elephant seals, sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, fur seals, dolphins, harbor porpoises and the like, have been rescued and treated at our hospital facility. Each year marine science education programs and events reach over 100,000 school children and members of the general public, helping to foster a sense of responsibility and connection to the marine environment. Our science program increasingly provides vital information on our sick and injured patients – what diseases they suffer from, how their immune systems work, and most important of all, how they are affected by changes in their environment.

San Francisco Symphony

American Conservatory Theater

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences


The Exploratorium is an experimental, hands-on museum designed to spark curiosity-regardless of your age or familiarity with science. There are hundreds of exhibits to touch, pick up, and tinker with. Your curiosity can be your compass to endless discoveries!

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Founded in 1935, the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is among the oldest and largest professional non-profit theatres in the nation. Each year OSF presents an eight-and-a-half-month season of eleven plays in three theatres plus numerous ancillary activities, and undertakes an extensive theatre education program. Operating on a budget exceeding $26 million, OSF presents more than 780 performances annually with attendance of approximately 400,000.

Portland Art Museum


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  1. The Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ) was established in June 2002 as a nonprofit, public interest law firm committed to advancing racial and economic justice. Its founding responded to an urgent need to re-establish in-state advocacy on behalf of low-income people and communities of color. Supported and staffed by civil rights advocates, attorneys, social service advocates and others, MCJ is committed to developing and pursuing strategies that combat discrimination and poverty in Mississippi.

    About Katrina:

    Two years after Katrina improvements in the lives of low-income coastal Mississippians have come slowly; in fact, for some it hasn’t improved at all. Thousands of families still live in damaged housing without water or electricity. Entire housing complexes remain closed and are not being replaced; what remains is priced beyond reach. As a result, the housing crisis on the Gulf Coast has created a new population of homeless poor in our state.

    Visit them here.  

  2. out of San Francisco to it. One of the founders, Meda Benjamin is always in the forefront of civil action, always putting her mouth where her beliefs are.  I believe they make an invaluable contribution to people-people alliances on a global level.

  3. …to which I just gave $100.

    Peace and a better year in 2008 to all.

    • Nordic on December 30, 2007 at 07:29

    I’ve got so much money left over after the holidays.  

    Feeling guilty now …..

    Seriously, this is the worst time of year for money.  I feel like I get laid off, and then mugged, every year at Christmas.

    I think they should give me my fucking tax refund on December 10 if they really want all my remainding money to be spent on the consumer orgy that is Christmas

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