Give Something Now

Alexis Ohanian makes one of my favorite points on philanthropy and giving in an Ignite NYC Talk: that you don't necessarily need to wait until you're extremely rich to make some kind of contribution. I think a lot of us forget that our ability to help someone out is never really constrained by a lack of time or capital. It could be a lack of convenience, or it might be a lack of will. Neither of these are great excuses though.

So, here's a list of non-profit organizations (both technology and non-technology related) that I plan on donating either time or money to in 2014. A number of these non-profits tend to be centered in San Francisco, where I live. Come help out! And let me know if there are any I've missed.

826 Valencia: 826 National is the umbrella organization that coordinates the eight 826 chapters in the United States, but I've volunteered at their SF branch, 826 Valencia. Their mission is to help students aged 6-18 with their expository and creative writing. 826 Valencia is in the Mission and also moonlights as a pretty sweet Pirate Supply store.

Homeless Youth Alliance: The HYA provides psychiatry and drop-in services for homeless youth in SF, as well as run a needle exchange program. They are important in providing a non-judgmental and accessible service for homeless teens. They are also in danger of shutting down, so please consider them.

Glide SF:  Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco runs a very large volunteer program where people can help serve meals and bag up lunches. They need 60 volunteers a day to run their operation serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the less fortunate. I plan on volunteering for a couple of meals a month. 

Watsi: A bit like Kiva, but for patient care--you can directly help fund low-cost, high-impact medical care for patients in need. They're refreshingly transparent, and probably some of the nicest folks around in tech.

EARN: They provide matching savings accounts and incentives for low-income workers. They provide educational resources around saving and promote great financial habits to help generational socioeconomic mobility.

Project Night Night: They deliver packages of toys and blankets to homeless children in SF. These packages contain a security blanket, a book, and a stuffed animal. 

"By providing objects of reliable comfort, Project Night Night reduces trauma and advances the emotional and cognitive well-being of the children we serve." How cool is that?

Black Girls Code: This is an awesome organization that seeks to introduce programming and technology to young and pre-teen girls of color. A lot of people lament K-12 STEM education and this non-profit is actively trying to change that.

Code for America: Bit biased here--I help mentor at CfA, but a couple of my friends have gone through the one-year fellowship and have found it to be a really great experience working on public problems. Their projects and applications are open-source, allowing for other municipalities and organizations to use.