Where did Revanche’s most commenting winnings go?

As regular readers may recall, Revanche won the “most commenting” award for 2020.  The reward is to get the previous month’s amazon earnings donated to a favorite charity.  This year, we bumped up the donation to a round $50 (we’re not making much from Amazon these days…)

What did Revanche choose:

I’d love for it to go to the Navajo Water Project.

What is the Navajo Water Project?

It is a non-profit dedicated to bringing clean running water and solar power to Navajo families in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.   They note that 1 in 3 Navajo still don’t have a sink or toilet.  $4500 brings running water and solar power to a Navajo family.  $90 provides a sink and faucet.  $250 a solar panel.  $52 pipes and fittings.

Searching online, it appears that the Navajo Water Project is a program of the DIGDEEP Right to Water project.  Guidestar information is here.  Charity Navigator seems to think highly of it.

If you feel like giving a donation, here’s the link!

Holiday Donations!

So, a lot of people need your dollars this year.  The federal government isn’t doing its job.  One thing that you can do even if you don’t have money to donate is call your senators and tell them to stop letting Mitch McConnell take Covid relief hostage to allowing firms to put their workers in danger without fear of lawsuit.  Because that’s what is happening– Mitch McConnell won’t even allow a relief bill to go to the floor unless companies are legally allowed to be negligent.  And if that gets passed, there will be a race to the bottom because only negligent companies will be able to compete.  People need relief and they need workplace safety.   We cannot have a bill that forces negligence on companies.

So, with that in mind, if you have dollars, people need them.  I think the best place for those dollars this year is anything that provides children with basic necessities.  So– donate to a foodbank, either your local bank or a state spinoff of Feeding America, or Feeding America itself.  Kids need food most of all.  Money is the best gift because they can use it to buy in bulk, but your unexpired cans, dry goods, diapers, toiletries, etc. are also useful.

A lot of people are having more troubles with anxiety, family problems from too much proximity, and so on.  There are a number of different crisis hotlines you can donate to.  The suicide prevention hotline, the crisis text line, and for LGBTQ folks, the Trevor project.  For victims of abuse, there’s the domestic abuse hotline, but you may want to look up a women’s shelter near you to donate to, either cash or in-kind.

If there is a non-profit for refugees near you, check out their webpage.  I bought some things off an amazon list for the one in our nearest city.

As state and local budgets get cut, you may want to donate to libraries.  I donated to the state library that’s letting me get free e-books, though I do that every year.  They have a lot of programs for kids in the city in which they are located, which has been having spotty schooling, and I want them to be able to keep that up.

If you’re on twitter, a lot of folks have been spreading the word about smaller projects– when they look legit and the donation is in-kind (like, on their list are things that probably don’t have a ton of resale value but are things that people need), I will often buy something off the amazon list of one of these projects.  It’s not that I don’t believe people with gofundmes are deserving, it’s that I don’t know if the person running the gofundme is actually legitimate or a scammer.  So I bought some reasonably priced kitchenware off one of these lists.

Here are some charitable donations pages from previous years.

Grumpy Nation, what charities would you like to highlight? Post in the comments below!

Where did Debbie M’s donation go?

Debbie M won our “most commenting of 2019″ contest.  That means she got to pick where we donated our previous month’s blog earnings to.  How much did we donate?  We topped it up so that we could give $50.

Where did she pick?  Rainforest Foundation, Inc.

According to Debbie M:

They work with indigenous communities to help them continue preserving rainforest habitat. This protects the environment, fights climate change, and protects human rights. They explain all this better themselves: https://rainforestfoundation.org/what-we-do/

Here’s their Charity Navigator site.

Ask the grumpies: Should universities take Koch or Epstein money?

SLAC prof asks:

Is taking money from Jeffrey Epstein worse than taking money from the Koch foundation?  Which is worse?  Clearly we shouldn’t take money from the KKK.  Is it ok to take anyone’s money if there aren’t strings, or is there a line?  Who gets to decide the line?  Does Koch money ever truly have no strings?  Should personal morals be irrelevant when an institution takes money?

Oh wow, this is a hard one.  We’re really not ethicists and don’t have enough expertise to have an opinion on non-obvious cases.  That said… here are some thoughts.

First off, personally I think it’s fine to take money that doesn’t have strings attached (including naming rights!!) from the estate of someone who is dead.  So if you’re an institution that has a morally horrific but extremely wealthy graduate and he just gives you a couple million in his will but it’s completely unrestricted, go ahead and take it without advertising it.  Put it towards something completely antithetical to what he would have wanted (sexual assault prevention training for freshmen with a focus on how not to assualt) or spend it on something boring (utility bills) freeing up that fungible money for other things.  If he says you have to name something after him or hire someone specific etc., then don’t take the money (and advertise you didn’t take it).

If the bad person or group is still alive, don’t take money with strings attached.  No naming rights.  No final approval of tenure track hires.

When there aren’t strings it gets much more complicated.  Yes, one shouldn’t take KKK money (unless it’s used for training frats how not to do blackface or to pay for programs etc. that benefit black students and faculty– I’m a big fan of F-U uses of bad guys’ money).  But if Koch money is offered for something that isn’t evil (no strings scholarships)?  And they do fund things that aren’t evil along with their massive funding of evil… I’m not sure.  I mean, I’d like to encourage them to spend more money on not-evil and less money on evil.  But I don’t want them to get credit for the not-evil stuff as if it makes up for the evil stuff because it really doesn’t.

This is hard.

What do you think, Grumpy Nation?  Should institutes of higher education accept money from bad people and bad organizations?  Under what circumstances?

Where Leah’s donation went

Leah won our “most commenting of 2017″ contest .  That means she got to pick where we donated our previous month’s blog earnings to.  How much did we donate?  We topped it up so that we could give $50.

Where did she pick?  Advancement Project

According to its website:

Advancement Project works in deep partnership with organized communities of color to dismantle and reform the unjust and inequitable policies that undermine the promise of democracy through the development of community-based solutions to racial justice issues.

Here’s their charity navigator page—  looks pretty good.

 

Where Chacha’s donation went and why you should donate too

Chacha won our “most commenting of 2015″ contest (even though she wasn’t aware she’d entered, she had, oh, she had).  That means she got to pick where we donated our last month’s blog earnings to.  How much did we donate?  Well, we topped it up so that we could give $100.  That seems like a nice number.

Where did she pick?  Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood is a non-profit that provides women’s health care and reproductive information world-wide.  They do cancer screenings and reproductive health for men and women, as well as pre-natal care and access to family planning.  They are a force for good in this world, allowing women control over their own bodies, helping families (including low income families who don’t have other options) plan the family size that is best for them, and providing health care to those who would not otherwise be able to afford it.

Unfortunately they are under attack in the US.  The only reason that we can think of is that the Patriarchy wants to keep women down.  They want poor people to remain poor.  They want women to remain permanently pregnant.  The want rich white men in control always and forever.  It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but is there any other explanation about why there’s so much push to cut government funding for non-abortion services?  (Abortion services already do not receive government funding.)

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Because of this lack of government funding, Planned Parenthood has had to scale back considerably.  In much of the country, women now have to drive hours, possibly across states, to use their services.  That means that a lot of women are no longer able to get access to safe, affordable birth control, cancer screenings, or, yes, abortions.  That means more unwanted babies being born in bad circumstances.  More women dying of preventable diseases.  More back-alley abortions.  Real people are being hurt.

What can you do?  Well, your donations won’t make up for the government cut-backs, but every dollar still helps.  Donate.

And write your government officials.  Tell them you want funding restored.  Healthcare for women is important for everyone.  It’s important for this country.

Join ChaCha in helping this important organization.  And thank you.