When I gathered my W-2 forms for this year's tax season, I also mustered some documents for tax deductions and thought about the organizations that I donated money to in the last year. I wondered if a lot of people in my age group ever donate, and why or why they don't. I also looked up articles on the pros and cons of donating anonymously, such as this one. I've long admired people like Warren Buffet, Bill & Melinda Gates, and Chuck Feeney, who have committed themselves to donating a large percentage of their money over their lifetime. I think it's very important that these people attach their names to such charitable acts and encourage other wealthy people to do the same. A little money can go a long way. On the other hand, there are the also the kind of rich people who donate money but make me roll my eyes...you know, the ones who donate fuck tons of money to organizations and institutions just so they can have their name plastered somewhere on a building, or so they can appear to be charitable.
Anyway, I just wanted to share the list of places I donate to at least once a year. I make sure I have a personal connection to them, believe in their cause, and trust their intentions with the money. I usually decide to donate when I think of something that I appreciate they've done. For example, I really did use Wikipedia often in college to research stuff when writing papers. I appreciated the purple gloves I often switched out of in chemistry labs during my time in Davis. I appreciate ACLU's fight for our civil liberties. I appreciate so much all the services Planned Parenthood provides, even if I don't use them all.
I still have school loans to pay off, so I only give about $20-35 - even when I was a poor freelancer! I hope this inspires you to donate to organizations you believe in!
Since 2009: ACLU, Planned Parenthood, UC Davis College of Letters & Science
Since 2013: Wikipedia/Wikimedia, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Since 2016: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
*I must say, though, the ACLU wastes a lot of paper by frequently sending me envelopes asking for money, which is a big turn off.