In the spirit of BoingBoing’s annual charitable giving guide, here’s a list of organizations that I’ve given to this year. As far as I can tell, these groups are each doing great work, and deserve every penny they can get.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
I’ve given to the EFF in the past, but in the past two months of working there, I’ve got an even deeper respect for the work they do. On so many fronts, the EFF has your back.
- Free Software Foundation
I happily renewed my membership in the Free Software Foundation this year. Few organizations are as consistent and dedicated to their ideals as the FSF is to software freedom, and their licenses have been a de facto standard in the software world for decades now.
- Creative Commons
The Creative Commons license suite is now nine years old, and the six core licenses have become part of the architecture of the web. The quantity of collaboration and creativity that this organization has enabled is staggering, and they’re doing good work now putting together the next major update to the licenses, version 4.0.
It’s easy to underestimate the impact Mozilla has had on the Web, especially now that Google Chrome has ensured they’re not the only high-quality free software browser around. It’s so important, though, that one of the major players in the browser space is run by a foundation that cares about users first. Top that off with the fact that Firefox is a great piece of software that keeps getting better, and these guys are a no-brainer.
- The Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation does so much — a top 10 website, advancing free culture and the world’s knowledge to everybody with access to the web — with so little: fewer than 100 employees, 400 servers, and a budget that’s a blip on the radar of many large companies. I know the face of Jimbo Wales causes nightmares to some, but it’s good to support these guys.
- Software Freedom Law Center
Free software licenses are a lot less effective if they don’t have any “bite”, but there aren’t many lawyers who really get the concept of software freedom. Enter the Software Freedom Law Center, run by the inimitable Eben Moglen, who consistently advance the free software cause by counseling on patents, trademarks, and copyright licenses.
The ACLU understands the importance of civil liberties, and isn’t afraid to take unpopular positions supporting them. They’ve also been working hard to protect personal freedoms for over 90 years, and know what they’re doing.
- National Lawyer’s Guild
Like the ACLU, the NLG provides legal support where civil liberties are in danger. NLG works particularly with progressive political movements, and have played an instrumental role in the Occupy movements. You can find people with NLG numbers sharpied onto their bodies at every Occupation.
- Mother Jones
Mother Jones provides good long-form, timely, investigative journalism. And because they’re reader-supported, they can focus more on what people want to read, and less about what ads look good next to. Their coverage of Occupy has been excellent, and they’ve been one of my favorite examples of print publications working on the Web.
- Southern California Public Radio
KPCC out of Pasadena is the station I grew up listening to. Next year I’m likely to give to my local station in San Francisco, but KPCC is a great public resource in Los Angeles, and one I’m proud to support.
Without a doubt, there are many deserving organizations that aren’t on this list, devoted to these issues and others, but each of us is only able to chip away at the block so much. If there are charitable organizations that you feel strongly about, please share with me!