Saturday, December 22, 2007

Secular charity

One other issue that comes up this time of year is charitable giving, whether it be due to Christmas or the fact that the tax year is coming to a close. If I may be so bold, I'd like to suggest a few secular charities that are worthy of your support, and that my wife and I support:


I Support the Public Library of Science

PLoS. These people tirelessly support open-access of scientific research, both in their own journals and as public policy. That is, they support a model of publishing scientific results where all journals are open and available to scientists and the public at large without charge. Scientific publishing costs money and advocacy costs money, and they get this partly through donations and partly through charging the folks who are publishing their papers. Donate here. (Donate enough, and get this nifty coffee mug that will be the envy of your peers).


Southern Poverty Law Center
. My wife introduced me to these folks nearly 10 years ago. They're fantastic. They publicize hate-mongers and holocaust deniers. Nothing like shining a big light on big liars to get them to go back under the rocks the crawled out from. They also sue hate crime perpetrators out of existence. For example, when an Aryan Nations group attacked a mother and son and ran them off the road, the Souther Poverty Law Center helped the mother and son sue the group into bankruptcy. They do excellent education work as well. Support them here.


Medecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders). These folks started out as a group of Red Cross medical doctors who were upset with the policy of the Red Cross not to publicize what they see (the Red Cross policy is intended to secure access in situations where governments might be embarrassed of what is going on there). In addition to providing medical support in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, Medecins sans Frontières provide news agencies with information about the situation (for example, they've provided considerable information to news agencies about the crisis in Darfur). They're often the last group to leave an area that has become "too dangerous even for aid organizations". They do fantastic work. Donate here.


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