Since we are often asked to pass along requests for causes to our "friends", and many of us are friends through this medium, I thought it would be nice if we had a spot to share these requests.
Some rules. BGG itself is a cause many of us support in various ways. Let's not spam for it. Support it through donations, the BGG store, or the marketplace.
Politics gets ugly. Let's try to avoid overtly political groups, so we can continue to be friendly. I understand that several of the organizations I want to bring to your attention are connected with the U.S. military or veterans, but that is not meant to be a political statement about U.S. foreign policy, just an attempt to support veterans (and kids).
Things like "Secret Santa" exchanges, requests for assistance for other BGGer, and other BGG community related causes welcome. If we change the world for the better in small ways, it will add up to changes for the better in larger ways - right?
Please do not spam the list with repeated requests for the same cause, but feel free to post comments in support of causes you like.
The Red Cross is an international organization that provides a variety of humanitarian services to people worldwide. I've mostly interacted with them to get certifications for first aid. The link below is to the American Red Cross, but there should be a means to donate to a Red Cross in your own country.
Making sure that children have joy and hope at the holidays is so worthy a cause, that I cross service lines and support the Marines on this one. When big manly guys (and gals) are doing sweet things for little kids, it melts your heart.
Fisher Houses are places near military hospitals where the families of wounded servicemembers can stay so that they can be with their loved ones as they recover. I was lucky enough to be able to go home for my recovery - because being with my family was a very important part of it.
Donors Choose is an organization set up to match teachers with donors for classroom projects. If you want to do something to improve the lives of children, or help make a difference in education, check out what people are looking for on Donors Choose.
There are over 3,700 classrooms that need games at Donors Choose...
My mom has recently discovered this one - instead of a physical gift, she makes donations to organizations in people's names - mine go to Fisher House, but I think my sister's go to Heifer, and organization that uses donated funds to provide poor people with livestock.
Cancer research has become my my #1 type of charity for gifting (two family members have died from cancer, including my mother), and so far the best organization I've found (and it's one that I make a donation to every single month) is The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
I know you probably haven't heard of them, but there's a reason for that: 100% of all private donations go directly to cancer researchers, not to overhead like marketing and management.
They've awarded over $80million to researchers so far, and I know of people who have received these grants so I know they're legit.
If you've got any interest in donating to this cause, I strongly urge you to check them out - the web site is at http://www.jimmyv.org .
Aspiritech (the name is a combination of Asperger's, spirit, and technology.)
This is a company/not-for-profit that provides training and jobs to people on the autism spectrum (myself included). We do software testing work and have had many successful projects. (We will also do things like data entry and other non-testing jobs when required. There are many aspects of Asperger's (a form of "high functioning" autism) that make many of us very well suited to the work. These include strong attention to detail and interest and ability to do extremely repetitive tasks (amongst others.)
Anyway, in addition to "typical" employment-related support, they also offer an extensive social skills program and any on-the-job (or off-the-job) support that may be required on any given day.
Ways to help can include: financial donations, grant opportunities, and (probably most importantly) any leads or work offers.
I would also suggest that while many organizations will gladly accept donations, many worthwhile charities need volunteers. I'm sure there are members of every community that could use a helping hand. Something as small as visiting a shut-in, mowing a lawn, or shoveling a sidewalk. Through whosyourbrother.com, I found a women's shelter that was requesting art supplies. I gathered around 12 boxes of various paints, markers, crafting items, and such that were left over from church functions, scouting and personal projects.