January brings our annual charity program at my place of work. We commit to the charities back in October, but the money is collected and paid out this month. While we give to charities year round, this event is special because my company matches the donation up to a limit made during this annual program. A recent change in the program removed universities and schools for the charity list eligible for cash donation. The company will still match equipment donations for universities.
Our picks this year to receive our donations, plus my company match:
Defender's of Wildlife - Defenders tops the list as an organization that gets the job done. When wolves were reintroduced to the west, Defenders offered to pay ranchers for loss of livestock due to wolves. They essentially put up their money as collateral on the reintroduction. This addressed the number one "expressed" concern over the reintroduction. The program has been hugely successful. Of course, everyone predicted they would go broke, which they have not.
The Idaho Foodbank - Idaho is the 4th hungriest state in the country, with over 14% of families in the state being considered "insecure" from a food perspective (USDA). This includes 88,000 children. Enough said.
Planned Parenthood - With the nationwide push against any family planning other than abstinence, I feel compelled to fund planned parenthood for the services they provide and the advocacy they promote. I could rant on this one for awhile, but I will spare my readers.
Idaho Public Television - I view this as less of a charity and more about a service that I receive and value. We do not subscribe to cable or satellite TV. Our favorite shows are all on IPTV. Thus, I feel that I should donate for the value we receive.
EarthShare - The remainder of our matched funds go to EarthShare. EarthShare distributed funds to many different conservation and wildlife organizations (they also give to defenders of wildlife). By donating to EarthShare, we are able to impact a broad set of organizations with our similar values.
Other organizations that we tend to donate to through the year include our respective universities - Willamette and Boise State, the Yellowstone Institute, EarthWatch, KBSU (public radio), and more to the Foodbank, among others.