21 September 2008

Ways to Make A Difference

I've been all fired up this week, mostly about Sarah Palin, but with no time to get on my soapbox.

So here goes, a little gentle exhortation.

Do you know about micro-lending? It's the kind of loan where $50 or $500 can make a difference in someone's life. It's not charity, because it's not an outright gift. Rather, the recipient is expected to pay back the loan, with interest. There are a handful of different organizations involved in micro-lending, one of which, the Grameen Bank, won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2006. Right now, American Express is running a competition where cardmembers get to vote on their favorite charitable project - the winner gets $1.5 million. Sure, it's tooting Amex's own horn, but I have to hand it to them, there are some good projects in there and $1.5M is real money. One of the projects in the running is Kiva - an online microlender. I've lent money via Kiva before, and I'm happy to have gotten to vote for them. If you have an American Express card, you can vote for them too.



How about Planned Parenthood? They do great work, and you were going to give them a charitable contribution anyway, right? Well, there's a stunningly subversive email going around suggesting that you make an ironic little gift to Planned Parenthood in honor of Sarah Palin. It's gotten a lot of on-line "ink", like on Daily Kos, and better, on the Huffington Post. If you read that HuffPost piece, you'll find that this idea originated back when Shrub took office in 2001, and it generated more than $1 million for Planned Parenthood. So, how about it? Here's the donation link, make the gift in honor of Sarah Palin, and have the acknowledgment be sent to her at the McCain headquarters:

McCain for President
1235 S. Clark Street
1st Floor
Arlington , VA 22202

I confess that I clicked the "in memory of" button, instead of "in honor of". Because I really hope that she's a distant memory come the 5th of November.

I'm very fond of doing things in threes. Superstitious? I don't know. Anyway - here's a third way to make a difference. Julie (who's displaced, not homeless, by the way) has a raft of ideas about how to help people displaced by Hurricane Ike. I sent a little bit to the Austin Food Bank.

Okay, stepping down now.

19 comments:

Ellie said...

That is an excellent post. Great ideas. Love the S.P.-PP stuff -- makes me feel better about the world. I love PP -- I'm in a program there -- done through the local hospital and the CT state dept of public health -- for a free pap and mammogram for women over 40 with no health insurance.

Great stuff. Thanks.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I love the idea of tweaking SP and doing some good at the same time.

Anjali said...

Just donated in honor of Sarah Palin. What a wonderful idea - thanks for the post!

Ree said...

If I wasn't clicking over at American Express for my uncle's foundation - International Medical Corps - I'd vote for Kiva. I hope they get #1 and #2 respectively!!!

Kyddryn said...

Cool ideas - I'm not normally interested in making donations for political reasons, but I can certainly understand where someone might get a kick out of that!

My (few)(very few)(pathetic, really) charity dollars are spoken for this year and I don't have an AmEx (oh, how they would laugh and laugh if I even tried), but if a lottery win comes along...

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

Mayberry said...

Excellent ideas, all! Hope PP makes a mint off Sarah P.

Life As I Know It said...

Oh, yes, I LOVE this idea. Excellent post, magpie.

Mad said...

That Planned Parenthood bit cracked me up left and right. What a great idea.

I have been lending through Kiva for a couple of years now and I swear by them. So far all of my loans have been paid in full. I just keep re-lending the original amount over and over again.

And yes, to what Julie is trying to do. On a more global scale, Haiti was devastated by Ike. A directed donation to The Red Cross could help there.

painted maypole said...

i just made my first ever campaign contribution. To Obama, of course.

Candy said...

I heard about micro-lending about 8 years ago, in relation to probably the Grameen Bank (can't remember anymore) making $50 loans to Indian women to start their own businesses. It was an inspiring thing, to hear how such a small amount of money (to us) can change the life of a woman in India. Awesome.

And I think I'm going to make my donation in Bristol's name. She's probably wishing she had told them first, before Momma.

Hip Mom's Guide said...

What a great idea for a post, Magpie. I love it!

the mama bird diaries said...

i would write more but i need to immediately click away and give money to planned parenthood.

cactus petunia said...

Whoa. I JUST made a donation to PP in memory of Sarah Palin (suggested by a friend) AND just posted about doing good and paying it forward. Let's hope this is a WORLDWIDE phenomenon!

phd in yogurtry said...

And I shall thank you in threes. Thanks for the PP in honor of Palin link. Fab. Thanks for the Kiva info. I had heard of this but didn't know what it was all about. And finally, Austin thanks you. There are still many evacuees about.

Krysta said...

oh how i love the planned parenthood idea, it's so subversive and goooood.

Maggie, Dammit said...

I love Kiva. I've loved them from the start. In fact, I just finished an article about them. I think they are the simplest, most profound way to make a huge difference in the world with very, very little personal commitment. I mean really, how many other things are like that?

womaninawindow said...

Always good to give where you can and where it'll be effective. Your soapbox is a good'un.

nutmeg said...

YES WE CAN!

MadMad said...

I'd listen to your soapboxing all day - you always have such great ideas!