I said I'd finish it in April. But better late than never, here's my giving plan.
I started by attempting to articulate my priorities for organizations to donate to. I came up with three major ones: a) address issues and problems I care about; b) empower the people affected and disadvantaged by those problems to help address them; and c) look at the underlying issues and work for fundamental social changes.
Then I looked at my 2006 target amount ($3,000, or 10% of my take-home pay), and divided it into $2,000 for U.S. and $1,000 international. In the past, I have strongly focused on U.S. groups, mostly because it's what I'm most familiar with. But considering that the vast majority of people on the planet are non-Americans, I want to put at least one-third towards international causes-- hopefully 50% or more in future years as I become more educated about international issues and organizations.
Finally, I made a list of important issues to me and then started matching them up with organizations that I liked. This took a lot of research, but I finally have a rough plan that I'm happy with.
So, without further ado...
- $450 to multi-purpose social justice funders ($300 for the national Resist, Inc; $150 for the Chicago-area Crossroads Fund)
- $120 to support The New Standard's independent journalism ($10 monthly deductions)
- $100 to the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives
- $100 to the Center for Community Change which helps support low-income community organizing
- $100 to the Common Ground Collective for ongoing Katrina relief
- $200 to support workers rights and student activism ($100 to the Coalition for Immokalee Workers and $100 to United Students Against Sweatshops)
- $30 to buy StreetWise from homeless vendors, approximately once per week
- $200 political (to be decided on as November comes nearer, will likely be directed (at least in part) through a PAC that reflects my views)
- $200 during the holidays for donations of my family's choice (the destination of my sister's $50 varies each year, but the other three are predictable: $50 to Wellstone Action for Dad, $50 to a domestic violence shelter for Mom, $50 to breast cancer research for boyfriend)
- $500 (25%) not yet allocated
- $480 to Oxfam ($40 monthly deductions), which works on an incredible number of issues including hunger and poverty, fair trade, global debt relief, indigenous/minority rights and women's issues, microcredit, workers' rights, disaster relief, and more
- $100 to La Base fund which makes loans to democratic workplaces in Argentina
- $100 to MADRE, an organization focusing on women's human rights internationally
- $70 to Doctors Without Borders
- $200 (25%) not yet allocated
Now it's time to start carrying out this plan, and I feel confident that I can do it, despite the fact that I've never reached my giving goals before. I'm going to set up my Oxfam recurring deduction right away, and then draw up a rough schedule to start knocking one or two $100 donations off my list each month.
Let me know if you have any thoughts about my plan, information (good or bad) about the groups I've listed, or ideas for other groups that I (or others) might be interested in giving to! And I highly encourage you to try this for yourself. It is very thought-provoking, helps you clarify and weigh your values, prompts you to learn a lot about what people and organizations are doing to address the issues you care about, and (hopefully) leads to greater follow-through on good intentions.
All the credit goes to Claire, of course; please check out her original post on this subject.