Day 11: Planned Parenthood. Probably, you all know what Planned Parenthood does, but if not, it provides health care, of many kinds, to people who need it, and takes a lot of heat for doing so.* I still go there because I have insurance, and they took care of me when I didn't, and now my insurance dollars fund something I believe in. From the "Who We Are" page: "Planned Parenthood is one of the nation's leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and the nation's largest provider of sex education. Planned Parenthood also works with partner organizations worldwide to improve the sexual health and well-being of individuals and families everywhere."
Day 12: Heifer International. HI is one of the first three charitable organizations I can recall raising money for, as a child** — there is something tangible and easy-to-understand about giving animals that can feed, clothe, and otherwise sustain people. From "About Heifer": "We empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but our approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market. When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses." Also, I would swear that there was a bit on The Office where Kevin described HI's work as "a great prank," but I can't find it, for the life of me. Anyone else remember that?
Day 13: Sylvia Rivera Law Project. From the home page: "The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence." Seems important, right?
Day 14: Bike and Build. I first heard of this group a year ago (two?) when they were doing a bike clinic with kids at the church of a friend of mine when I was staying at said friend's house. From the home page: "Bike & Build organizes cross-country bicycle trips which benefit affordable housing groups. Specifically, we fund projects planned and executed by young adults. Over the past 10 seasons we have donated more than $4.5M; built for more than 160,000 hours; pedaled over 7.5M miles; and engaged more than 2000 young adults in spreading the word about the affordable housing crisis in America." And hey, if you're interested, they still have 2014 rider spots available.
Day 15: Camp Rising Sun. People who know me well know I believe in camp, generally. This camp helps kids with cancer. I first heard about it from a former coworker, one of their volunteers, who used to (perhaps still does?) go back every summer, and when she came back to work she just shone with the joy of that experience. From their "Who We Are" section: "It is our mission at Camp Rising Sun to provide a safe nurturing environment to kids who have faced the diagnosis of cancer, so that they may grow and learn from their experiences to become the best they can be."
Day 16: National Park Foundation. Maybe it's just because I'm sick to death of winter, and ready to get out and hiking, but our national parks are awesome, and I support them. "The National Park Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service, enriches America’s national parks and programs through private support, safeguarding our heritage and inspiring generations of national park enthusiasts."
*Also, unrelated to Planned Parenthood, but related to what PP gets a lot of attention for, which is abortion: If you have a chance to see After Tiller, I hope you will — I saw it a few weeks back and it really moved me and shifted my thinking about some things. I saw it with the only other person who I know saw it, and she is probably bored of hearing me talk about it by now. You can watch it through Amazon, if there isn't a screening near you.
**Other early favorites were:
- Unicef, because children
- What was then the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief, now Episcopal Relief and Development, because church
- The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, because competitive reading. Anyone got a kid doing the MS readathon? Or any other readathon?