As part of the holiday season of giving, we like to include a list of charities that we feel do a good job. Of particular interest to us are those that involve veterans and the homeless, two groups that we feel a personal connection with.
One way to participate is to make a donation in your own name. You may get a tax deduction and depending on the group and the amount, you may also receive some form of recognition. The other way is to make a gift donation in another person’s name. This gets you a two for one: you feel good helping out, and you introduce the other person to the cause and perhaps they will become involved too.
There are so many worthy causes and so many people in need today — the list below includes only the ones we know about and feel good about. But you probably have a list of your own. The point is, let’s use the season to express some empathy for our fellows; help someone in whatever way best suits you. It feels great, and so many people need our help.
Team Rubicon. This is an organization of veterans who help out in disasters. The US military is an extraordinary organization of highly-trained, highly-disciplined individuals who are all about getting big stuff done. When people leave the military, they have this uniquely valuable skill set that can be applied perfectly to disaster situations. “Team Rubicon focuses on serving vulnerable and at-risk populations affected by disaster. While the initial damage and trauma of natural disasters will impact any population regardless of socio-economic factors, the financial burden of recovery and rebuilding has dramatic and long-lasting repercussions on many rural and urban populations lacking proper insurance and public and private resources.” Helping people help other people.
The Veterans Advocacy Group of America. The sacrifice that veterans make for the country is hard to overstate. Understandably, sometimes they need help when they leave the service. That is what this organization does. “We are dedicated to improving training and employment opportunities for our Veterans and their families. We are committed to helping our Veterans and their families find safe, comfortable housing alternatives. We develop programs that fulfill the needs of our returning Veterans and their families, and strive to be the connection point between government agencies, local corporations and organizations, and our Veterans.” Helping out people who have sacrificed for all of us.
The Los Angeles Mission. Within a few miles of where our offices are, there are over 50,000 people living on the streets in horrific conditions. We have personally had experience with the LA Mission, and have seen the work they do. It can be frustrating; homelessness is a complex problem. They do a tremendous job of helping people regain their sense of societal orientation, self worth and usefulness, by providing food, shelter and, most importantly, a path to transition from living on the streets. They deserve all the help we can give them. Good people doing a very difficult job.
Kiva. This is a global organization that makes direct tiny loans to people in need. It is mostly to women, and it is often for something as simple as help buying a cow. Giving people a lending hand to help them and their families with what, for us, is a tiny amount of money, but for them is the first step on the ladder out of crushing poverty.
Houston Humane Society. During Hurricane Harvey, the city of Houston was inundated with flood waters. This group rescued pets and with herculean effort moved them to safety. There are animal welfare groups in all localities, and we encourage their support. The HHS is being illuminated here because of its record saving the lives of countless dogs and cats that, in turn, were so important to the families that may have lost everything in the flood. We love our canines — help those who look out for our furry companions.