If you’re looking for a little altruism to start 2014, here are a handful of really great organizations to support:
Cure JM Foundation works to raise money and awareness for Juvenile Myositis, a collection of rare autoimmune conditions affecting children. Rare disorders are the hardest to raise funding for, and organizations like Cure JM provide invaluable support for families.
Curiosity Hacked (formerly Hacker Scouts), founded by our own Samantha Cook, is collecting donations to bring their outreach programs to Children’s Hospital and family centered homeless shelters, where children have no access to build their skills and create what they have only imagined.
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International continues the work of its namesake, who was murdered in 1985 while working to protect the endangered mountain gorillas of Africa. The African outpost of the organization is the Karisoke Research Center, founded by Fossey. The center works to protect the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also works to educate and support the local communities. They smartly believe that educating and helping the people of these embattled areas is one of the best ways to keep the gorillas, a prime target for poaching, safe.
DoSomething.org encourages young people ages 13-25 to get out into their communities and take action on issues that matter to them. GeekMom Laura included them in her tips for fighting Mean World Syndrome. There is a donation link at the bottom of the site, but this organization is really about helping your older kids find their voice and make an impact. It’s their world.
Lupus Research Institute focuses on another devastating autoimmune disease. Lupus affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, and according to the institute “Most are young women of childbearing age.” What sets LRI apart from other Lupus research organizations is its sole focus on the most innovative, “novel” research in the field.
One Simple Wish grants wishes to children in foster care. The founder, Danielle Gletow, was a Top Ten CNN Hero in 2013. Foster children receive the absolute basics through government funding, but they do not have access to the simple pleasures that many of us take for granted. Gletow’s organization lets you search wishlists that children have made through their social services agency and fund a specific child’s wish. It could be anything from an XBox to an outfit for job interviews. You can also purchase $40 “We Care” kits for children entering or aging out of foster care, with essentials like shampoo and a toothbrush.
Worldbuilders is running its annual fundraiser for Heifer International through February 2nd. Author Patrick Rothfuss runs a lottery with all kinds of glorious literary prizes. For every $10 you donate, your name is entered into the lottery. GeekMom Kelly wrote about last year’s fundraiser, and you can find all of the details on Patrick Rothfuss’s blog.