Monday, December 05, 2011

Dougmas Jar 2011

December snuck up on me. Nobody told me we were having December this year. I'm not ready! I'm starting a bit late on the Dougmas season, but here's a start.

You have to start with a Dougmas Jar. Or a Christmas Jar or a Kwanza Jar or a Channukah/Agnostica/New Years/Festivus/Whatever Jar. From December 1 through December 31 all good Dougintologists have a jar set by where you empty your pockets. Each evening when you empty your pockets you're supposed to dump your change into this jar. Then, on New Year's Day, you count up the change and send a check for that amount to your favorite charity.

Why should you put your change in a jar at home? Because fuck the Salvation Army. That's why. Lets see if I can finish this post without ranting about them.

I started decorating my jar last night. It's a bell jar that I painted all white. I intended to follow up with some red. I thought the snap line I use for making lines in construction projects would work well. It didn't. Flat surfaces only. So I'll keep working on it. I've got bottle of red and green paint, too.

I'm afraid the jar's take is gonna be pretty slight this year. I barely use cash at all anymore. That's what I tell the homeless guys anyway. And it's pretty much true. The years that the jar did really well were years when I hit a stamp vending machine and got lots of change in the form of dollar coins. But now... now I'm gonna have to make a special effort this month to use cash at Starbucks, Subway, um... and other places just to have change.

Dougintology has a short list of preferred charities.
• Solar Electric Light Fund (http://self.org)
• Trees for the Future (http://treesftf.org/)

SELF is an organization that provides loans to people in remote areas so they can buy solar equipment. The loan is paid back over several years by using what they normally would have spent on generator fuel for three years. It helps to improve their education, their productivity, their health, and many other aspects of their lives.

Trees for the Future plants trees in areas where there's enough rain to support life, but poor soil management has made it a desert. This includes areas bordering the Sahara desert and clear cut rain forest. The trees break up the soil so native plants can take root, the leaves are edible, and eventually the tree can be used as fuel. It helps make an area better able to support the population rather than helping feed a population in an area that can't support them.

For our patron saint, Douglas Adams, I include:
• Dian Fossey Gorilla Foundation (http://www.dianfossey.org/home/)
• Save the Rhino (http://www.savetherhino.org/)

You may also want to consider...
Operation Foxhole is now defunct, but The Fisher House Foundation creates Ronald McDonald style housing for wounded soldiers. While the soldier is in the hospital his family gets to stay in the Fisher Houses for free. But I think there may be some arrangement about who does the cooking in the house.

Similarly, there's a Dougintology Shitlist. We disapprove of faith based charities. Partially because they usually refuse care to people who refuse to attend their services first. Partially because they refuse care to those whose lifestyles they disapprove of. And partially because they spend the money on stuff to promote their faith or get them exempt from anti-discrimination laws.
It's not charity if you're using it as a bribe. This is not what Jesus would do.

The Christian Children's Fund made the list for refusing $17,000 raised in memory of Gary Gygax. They didn't want money donated by Dungeons and Dragons players or that was raised by selling D&D merchandise. The poor children that might be fed or provided with clean drinking water were better off hungry than fed with dirty gamer money.

Christian Charities made the list when they threatened to stop providing aid in Washington, DC completely if they were forced to obey local anti-discrimination laws. I'm not sure if they followed through on the threat, but they did stop providing support to spouses of employees when DC legalized gay marriage. They also gave all foster care duties to another organization so they'd never have to adopt out children to gay couples.

The Salvation Army isn't as bad as Christian Charities. They're pissed that they can't discriminate in their hiring practices, but they do still put care of (and proselytizing to) the needy above their own bigotry. But, where legal, they do turn away homosexuals and refuse to hire them. A good deal of the money given to them is spent in lobbying efforts to make them exempt from these laws both here and internationally. More money is spent on bibles and other material used to try to convert those who need their help.

If you have a charity you particularly like or particularly hate let the readers know about them in the comments.

2 comments:

amj523 said...

Great job keeping the Doug in Dougmas!

Wanted to add that folks can check up on non-profits they are interested in at several public non-profit ratings services. Some of the best known are guidestar.org charitynavigator.org and charitywatch.org

You can see how charity organizations spend your donations, look at how much of their income is used to run the business vs. providing help, even see exec salaries.

Some services also allow you to leave feedback about your experiences with specific non profits.

Ibid said...

Good references. I'll have to spend some time with these.