As has become (sort of) a tradition at the end of the year, I would like to take a moment to review my charitable giving over the past year. Here’s the chart I started last year, continued for 2013.
As you can see, the total given has gone up according to the plan I had set last year. However, there hasn’t been a lot of changes in the list of organizations/causes I supported:
- Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (German Red Cross)
- Fifty Fifty (a newspaper written by and sold to benefit the homeless in Düsseldorf)
- Förderverein Löbbecke-Museum + Aquazoo (natural science museum in Düsseldorf)
- Förderverein Wildpark (wildlife park in Düsseldorf)
- Matthäikirche (a local church)
- Theatergruppe am Goethe (drama group at my old school)
- Theaterwoche Korbach (amateur drama group festival)
- Vereinigung ehemaliger Schüler des Rethel- und Goethe-Gymnasiums (alumni organization of my old school)
- Wikimedia Foundation
A new focus
Most of these causes, were ones that I myself had benefited from earlier in my life and that I wanted to give back to. Unfortunately, this meant that a lot of my giving was going towards activities in Germany, one of the richest countries in the world. While I believe that these organization do a lot of good, there is a point to be made that my money would be better spent on causes in places that were less well off to begin with.
Hence, I’ve directed about a fourth of my 2013 budget towards Welthungerhilfe, a German organization focused on eradicating poverty and famine, by means of “helping people helping themselves” through emergency relief and education programs. I’ve researched the news about this organization thoroughly and couldn’t find anything but praise for their work.
Selecting a charity
For 2014 I also wanted to support something in the human rights fields. The two organization that immediately came to mind were Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW). Initially, they seemed pretty much the same and it was hard to pick one over the other. Wikipedia has a section comparing HRW to AI, but it’s not really that helpful.
What I did find helpful was Charity Navigator’s pages about HRW and AI. According to the information there, HRW seems to be the more efficient fund-raiser and also scores better on its financials in general. Furthermore, HRW is supported by George Soros, a man I really respect and who also supports my alma mater, Central European University in Budapest, Hungary (fun fact: if I hadn’t been out of the country at the time and thus unable to attend our graduation ceremony, I would have received my diploma from him personally).
On a personal note
In addition to all this, I’ve also earmarked a certain amount for next year to go towards Be Fund! Germany. This is the German arm (still in the process of being set up) of a charity that M is personally involved with: Be Fund India. You can read more about that on her blog. I think she is doing some tremendous work, which I’m really proud of and love to support. It also gave her an opportunity to spend some time in India. So jealous :-)