Black Friday and Cyber Monday are officially over, but a newer, lesser known post-Thanksgiving tradition is ramping up. Today is Giving Tuesday, a 24-hour period devoted to charitable giving following the frenzy of holiday shopping.
A team at the 92nd Street Y, a New York City cultural center, came up with the idea and launched the first Giving Tuesday in 2012. Using the hashtag #GivingTuesday, the effort harnesses social media to encourage people to give money, time, or in-kind donations to charities of their choosing.
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Charitable donations are already on the rise following Trump's election victory, with progressive organizations reporting a considerable uptick in giving. The ACLU announced it received $7.2 million in the five days after the election. Planned parenthood got almost 80,000 donations in the week after the election, and investigative journalism organization ProPublica saw a surge of support after John Oliver mentioned its work on his HBO show.
But election aside, the holiday season is always a popular time to support the causes you believe in. Here are a selection of well-vetted charities to donate to today, or any time of the year.
Support grassroots environmental activism: 350.org
350.org seeks to build a global climate movement that holds leaders accountable for following through on aggressive climate change mitigation efforts. The organization's name refers to the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, in parts per million. The planet is currently at 400 parts per million.
Fight one of the world's most deadly diseases: Against Malaria Foundation
The #1 recommended charity from giving guide GiveWell, the AMF provides funding for the production and distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, which can protect people in developing countries from malaria. According to GiveWell, the charity offers strong evidence of the success and cost-effectiveness of its methods and approach, and stands out for its commitment to transparency and self-evaluation. The website estimates the cost pf purchasing and distributing one of AMF's nets at just $4.68, so even a small donation can make a big difference.
Help those impacted by the refugee crisis: American Refugee Committee
The ARC bases their work on what refugees in communities around the world tell the group they need. Their work spans many areas, including emergency response services, helping refugees find shelter, providing healthcare, delivering clean water in camps, and conducting formal and informal education programs. The organization has been around since 1979, and currently has programs in 11 countries. Charitable giving guide Charity Navigator gives the ARC the highest rating (95.47 out of 100) of all the groups currently working in Syria.
Fund health research: Foundation for the National Institutes of Health
The FNIH raises funds and manages relationships with institutions to support the work of the National Institutes of Health, the country's premier medical research agency. The foundation began its work in 1996, and is devoted to accelerating biomedical research and investing in strategies that can help fight disease around the world. The FNIH also administers education and training programs for medical researchers, as well as support initiatives for patients. Charity Navigator gives the organization its highest possible rating of 100 — a distinction given to less than one percent of the thousands of groups evaluated.
Fight wrongful imprisonment: Equal Justice Initiative
EJI provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted of crimes, given unfair sentences, or been victims of abuse in jails and prisons. The nonprofit, which was founded in 1989 by public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson, also works to challenge the death penalty, help formerly incarcerated people reenter society, publishes research and reports, and assists policy makers who pursue criminal justice reform. The organization has the best possible rating (100) from Charity Navigator.
Support the arts: Fractured Atlas
A national organization founded in 1998, Fractured Atlas helps artists and arts groups of all disciplines by providing access to funding, healthcare, education, and more. It doesn't curate or discriminate based on the actual art produced — instead the nonprofit aims to help with what they call the "unsexy stuff that helps make art happen." It currently has 3,926 active fiscally sponsored projects, including the Philadelphia Rhythm Festival and all-male dance group Project 44. Charity Navigator gives the organization a score of 95.47.
Simply give cash: GiveDirectly
The #4 top charity recommended by GiveWell, GiveDirectly directly transfers money to poor individuals in Kenya and Uganda, and lets them decide for themselves how they'd like to use the funds. Research has suggested that people who received cash do not spend it in irresponsible ways, and instead generally make investments in things like agriculture, home repair, and education. GiveWell highlights GiveDirectly because it has a strong method for getting a high proportion of cash donated to its intended targets, and is committed to measuring the impact of the transfers and making that information public.
Support efforts to promote health among impoverished people: MAP International
The health and relief organization aims to save lives and advance the health of those living in the world's poorest communities. Since it was founded in 1954, MAP has given over $5 billion worth of medicines and supplies to over 100 countries. The group also works on disaster relief, providing humanitarian assistance and aid in the immediate aftermath of crises. Though it is a Christian group, its services are offered to all people. Charity Navigator gives it the highest possible rating of 100.
Support our troops: Navy SEAL Foundation
The organization's mission is to support current and former US Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen, Naval Special Warfare personnel, and their families. The foundation does work in three main areas: education and motivation, history and heritage, and health and welfare — which includes tragedy assistance. The nonprofit was established in 2000, and also has a score of 100 from Charity Navigator.
Give kids in public schools some extra help: NEA foundation
The public charity believes every student deserves a great public education, and aims to advance student achievement by investing in public education. Since 1998, the NEA Foundation has provided nearly 4,000 grants to schools and educators (totaling $8.5 million), and invested $10 million to support district-level initiatives to close achievement gaps.
That mission stands in contrast to the philosophy of Betsy DeVos, who Donald Trump has tapped as his pick for education secretary. DeVos supports school vouchers that allow students to use public funds to attend private schools. Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, called her "the most ideological, anti-public education nominee" in the history of the Department of Education. "In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America," he wrote. The NEA has a score of 100 from Charity Navigator.
Support women's reproductive health: Planned Parenthood
The largest reproductive healthcare nonprofit in the US, Planned Parenthood turned 100 years old in October 2016. The organization operates approximately 650 health centers around the country, providing sexual and reproductive health care to 2.5 million men and women annually. Part of Planned Parenthood's operating budget comes from federal funds, a subsidy that Donald Trump and Mike Pence have both vowed to eliminate.
Protect endangered species: Wildlife Conservation Network
WCN works to support endangered animal species by preserving their natural habitats and supporting environmental conservation work. The organization currently operates programs in 37 countries. Charitable giving guide Charity Navigator gives the organization its highest possible score of 100 based on WCN's financial responsibility, accountability and transparency.