Today is Giving Tuesday. It’s the day where you take the few dollars you have left after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday and give them to charities of your choice—a global day of giving to kick off the 2016 season of giving.
While I have mixed feelings about philanthropy as a necessary evil in an unfettered capitalist society, I do think charitable giving is important. And this year, more so than ever. After my husband and I came out of the post-election haze (okay, we’re still partially in it), we decided that one thing we could do immediately was to give money to organizations working for social justice in the face of real and anticipated injustice and oppression.
On this Giving Tuesday, I want to share this list with you, in hopes that you may feel inspired to contribute to these or similar organizations.
- Equal Justice Initiative: Committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
- Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC): Dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
- Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): Mission to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
- Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC): Improves public understanding and policies that impact American Muslims by engaging our government, media and communities.
We will also continue to give to organizations we support ongoing, including:
- Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM): Affirms and supports LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leaders and those pursuing a call to rostered leadership, while engaging allied congregations and ministries to proclaim God’s love and seek justice for all.
- Youth M.O.V.E. National: A youth led national organization devoted to improving services and systems that support positive growth and development by uniting the voices of individuals who have lived experience in various systems including mental health, juvenile justice, education, and child welfare.
- Mad in America: Serving as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care in the United States (and abroad).
- A variety of local organizations, because we like to keep most of our money local.
We also support our church, political campaigns we believe in, and some of our our alma maters (because more people need a liberal arts education).
Finally, we typically give Alabama Head Injury Foundation a nod, because my late father-in-law volunteered with them, and when we donated to them in his honor for his last birthday on earth, he said it was the best gift we could give him. (Remember this if you’re struggling to buy “stuff” for someone you love. A charitable donation in their honor may be more meaningful.)
While I trust these organization with our money, you should do your research and determine which organizations (it might be a completely different list) you want to support in light of the election of 2016.
And of course, donating money is the most passive way to support a cause. Get involved in other ways too, if you are able, by donating your time, talents, and energy to making the world a better place.
The future is in our hands.