The Christmas Way of Living

The giving doesn’t end just because Christmas is over. I tend to give more in December, but financially, it can be easier to give throughout the year. Here are some of the organizations I supported in 2010:

The Trevor Project

Dan Savage is a hero of mine. He started the It Gets Better Project, a series of videos from LGBT adults telling LGBT youth that there is hope, that life does get better. As a man in San Francisco’s inspiring video says, “Little did I know that I’d move to San Francisco, the most beautiful city in the world, where there’s gay people everywhere, where straight people love us and accept us, and where I have a fabulous life.”

Both SF’s video and Tim Gunn’s video brought tears to my eyes and encouraged me to donate to The Trevor Project — a 24 hour resource for suicidal gay teens.

Valentino Achak Deng Foundation

I’ve given money every year to Valentino’s organization but I’m bringing it up again because the donor event I attended this past August showed that Valentino’s foundation is making real progress. They have built the first high school in southern Sudan, a region with 8 million people (see pictures of the school on the website), and are currently working on a library and dormitories.

When was the last time you heard something this positive about Africa? That’s what I thought. Give here.

Alemany Farm

As well as giving to global organizations like Heifer International, this year I also donated to a local agricultural non-profit: Alemany Farm in San Francisco.

Alemany isn’t where you’d imagine a farm would be: it’s right next to a major freeway and literally next door to the Alemany Housing Projects, but the farm’s location is exactly what makes it so important. It’s a model of urban agriculture, it helps teach city school kids about growing food and it gives away half of the fruits and vegetables it grows to those who live in the housing project next door.

Non-Profits that Make My Life Better

Although I love supporting organizations that target big, global issues, I also believe in supporting the organizations that make my own life better. While the following organizations may not be saving lives, educating people in war-torn Sudan, or supplying low income residents with fresh produce, they make a difference to me.

This American Life – makes my commute more bearable, it both educates and entertains me, and it’s free. To show my appreciation, I donate to the show each year.

Film Noir Foundation –  starts my year off on the right foot by hosting the Noir City film festival. The Film Noir Foundation also helps studios restore old films so that others may enjoy them. 

CUESAruns the Ferry Building farmers markets. I’m often at more than one market a week and as I’ve said many times here, it’s often the best part of my week. I may feel grumpy leaving the house early on a Saturday morning but by the time I’m home, I feel 100% better.


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