New Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus tradition

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RabbiKnife, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. RabbiKnife

    RabbiKnife Open the pod bay door, please HAL.

    As most of you know, I'm a partner in a small lawfirm. I have four other partners, (1 conservative jew, 1 nominal Jew, 1 Episcopal married to Jew and raising kids Jewish, 1 Wesleyan holiness converted to Catholic) and myself.

    This year, although we will have our normal partner holiday dinner that will veer toward the edge of gluttony and in some instances excessive wine-bidding, in which vast quantities of US prime beef will be seared, grilled, and consumed, regardless of the idol to which it has been offered previously (most likely, the god of American capitalism), we are not going to spend $75 each on bottles of very expensive wine, vodka, bourbon, movie cards, restaurant cards, cigars, or cigar paraphenalia... instead we've decided to all join together and give to a charity.

    We're going to each donate the mount that we would nominally spend on partner gifts, then the firm is going to match it out of our operating account. In that way, we'll end up with a $2500-3000 donation to a single charity.

    We've decided to not go the traditional Red Cross/UNICEF/Cancer society thing, and instead try to focus the funds on a moderate project in a place of extreme poverty.
    We are thinking about livestock, small business start up for women, or water projects, most likely in sub-Saharan Africa.

    If you have any ideas or thoughts considering a worthy project or organization, please let me know.

    Given our religious makeup, we'll obviously be avoiding overtly evangelical ministries, as worthy as they are, of course.

    I would appreciate any input or thoughts you may have.
  2. DaniH

    DaniH You're probably fine.

    Our church sponsors an orphanage in Malawi via Harvest Hope, which sounds exactly like what you're looking for. Pastor goes to visit them, as do other church members, to go volunteer there for a week or two and check how things are going, once a year or so. Very hands-on, practical, and definitely needed. Besides we get to see the progress and immediate impact of our efforts, donations, etc. Our women's ministry collects change which is then converted and sent overseas, to help the women there purchase sewing machines so they can learn a skill that helps them get and/or stay off the streets and earn a living with. There are other churches who help sponsor them also.

    Just encouraging you to pursue this, as it's 100% worthwhile, IMO. You're a very practical person, and it would be a very practical thing for you to get involved with. Your law firm could simply become a sponsor in its own right, minus the church affiliation.

    Just need a local contact of some sort, which may prove challenging ...

    Here is a website with local charities in Malawi:

    I reckon other countries have similar lists, for you to research before you make a decision. Becoming involved with a local (rather than global) charity that is willing to be accountable to you and that can disperse funds without a bunch of administrative overhead, would probably be the way to go.
  3. teddyv

    teddyv The horse is in the barn. Staff Member

  4. RabbiKnife

    RabbiKnife Open the pod bay door, please HAL.

    Sorry if I wasn't clear.

    I need to avoid overtly evangelical charities
  5. Scooby_Snax

    Scooby_Snax Rut-Roh

    The Charity Navigator is a good tool to find charity ratings. If the charity is unrated, they give direction on how to find the information needed about that charity to help make an informed decision.

    Does it mater to you if it is a large or small charity?
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  6. RabbiKnife

    RabbiKnife Open the pod bay door, please HAL.

    Not really.

    Needs to be significant enough that I can trust the funds will not go to pay for the Gulfstream and Rolls Royce.
  7. Scooby_Snax

    Scooby_Snax Rut-Roh

    There are so many non-profits it makes one wonder why they cannot pool their resources to have more impact. I'm glad I found that website because I still need to decide which charity to give to next year.
  8. hisleast

    hisleast FISHBEAT!

    Lots of domestic charities in dire need. Homeless programs, food pantries, etc.
    You could also sponsor a community garden project like the one I work on that spends its summers growing the food and donating it to the pantries. If you're lucky, you might even find one that's training its users.

    To that end, you could check out Urban Farming Guys. The founders are Christian but the charity itself doesn't flaunt it. They rolled into one of the worst zip codes in the US, bought up land and houses at $1 each, set up an urban farm, and built it with all the hopeless people there. Their story is inspirational to me as they're legitimately changing people... not just sustaining nearly-basic subsistence.

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