February 12, 2017

Organizations I'm supporting this year

(updated 3/05)

I was inspired by DJ Capelis's post to discuss the nonprofits and funds I'm supporting this year and the reasons behind my choices.

A few themes -

  1. Nonprofits are an important part of society in that they bring together people who have been thinking about and working on specific problems for a long time.

    However - Nonprofits are not the answer to every problem and are not going to be able to right or even mitigate every harm. This is not the computer networking - there is no "routing around" damage here and now.

  2. A focus on legal organizations - Legal organizations (like the ACLU and EarthJustice) work through litigation, lobbying, and comment on rulemaking.

    Legal victories do not stand alone; at best they can buy space and time for public action and consensus to cement rulings or rules into the society.

  3. Allocation - Approximately half my donations are to civil organizations and half are to Environmental/Climate Change organizations

Civil Organizations
  • The American Civil Liberties Union - The ACLU is a traditional bulwark in defense of civil liberties. The organization is large and capable and there are legal fights only they can sustain.

    Of note - the ACLU is actually two organizations, a 501c4 (The American Civil Liberties Union) and a 501c3 (The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation). The 501c4 can spend on lobbying where the Foundation cannot, so I give to them.

  • Pro Publica is a news organization focused on investigative journalism and long-form stories. The series "Killing the Colorado" (river) was deeply interesting and supporting investigative journalism is important to me.
  • Brennan Center for Justice - a law-advocacy organization at NYU; has an ongoing project dedicated to Voting Rights and ballot access
  • Let America Vote - a new 501c4 organization focused on access to the ballot. I donated mainly because of the nature of the problem and the track record of its founders (Jason Kander).
  • National Immigration Law Center
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
Environmental/Climate Change Organizations

I consider climate change to be a unique, grave threat. Environmental systems have complex dynamics and momentum - delayed intervention has been and will be much more expensive than earlier intervention and may be limited to mitigation.


Posted by vsrinivas at February 12, 2017 10:35 AM