year end giving guide 2011

Each year i like to put together a list of orgs that i believe in, trust and respect for your year end giving and tax planning considerations. Additionally, this year i am also making some gift giving recomendations as well. I am connected to them in varying degrees (and I disclose that with each one) but these recommendations are based on my belief that they are an excellent organization worthy of consideration for your charitable donation or a great way to buy a gift in a more meaningful way this season.

511 – 511 is an incubator of good. We value experimentation, innovation, social enterprise and creativity. They work in Santa Ana to unleash potential and equip leaders to impact themselves, their community and the world. They are the parent organization to Laundry Love Santa Ana, SCS and Community Movie Night. All of their initiatives focus on coalition building and cross cultural/cross socioeconomic relationship building.

Your donations to them would be put to good use. Additionally they have a small online store you could look at for Christmas gifts this year as well.

(Disc. I am the *unpaid volunteer* director of this organization)

Hands Together – Hands Together is a provider of early education services and family support services in Santa Ana. Through their 3 early childhood development and educational programs they are able to help improve children’s health, overall development, educational outcomes and ultimately, their success in life. Additionally, through their parent workforce development program, they help parents gain the skills needed to provide a stable income to better provide for the needs of the family.

They are efficiently run and a great place to entrust with your year end donation. Additionally, their parent participants create some amazing handmade gifts and you can also contact them about catering (they make some excellent tamales!).

(disc: they hired my company to develop their website and provide some ongoing strategy and design services for their social enterprise program. My wife volunteers with them once a week. I bought tamales from them for Laundry Love Santa Ana’s Christmas Party this year)

Krochet Kids – Krochet Kids creates sustainable economic development programs that support holistic growth of individuals and communities within developing nations. Also, they make some kick ass hats.

They are a fantastic source for stylish gifts.

(disc: none)

Illumination Foundation–  IF combines housing and social services with healthcare and behavioral mental health services to reduce the impacts of homelessness and reduce people’s vulnerability to future homelessness. They offer a low-entry threshold to advance health and housing stability for the most vulnerable members of our community, with a focus on families with children and those with medical or mental health conditions.

They are one of a very few end to end homeless services agencies in the nation and are one of a select few agencies I’ve met that have really collaborated effectively. Its a great organization to consider for your year end donation.

(disc: they have collaborated with one of my initiatives, Laundry Love Santa Ana, and I have a friend on the board)

Ember Arts – Their business exists to renew hope. They partner with women in Uganda, East Africa to create beautiful jewelry using recycled paper and plastic.  Through this connection to the American market their Ugandan partners are able to rebuild their lives and families, and rekindle their hopes and dreams, after a devastating civil war.

Another fantastic source of gifts.

(disc: none)

Renewing Hearts – A community based organization providing high quality mental health services on a “pay what you can” basis. This model allows even the poorest members of the community to receive the same level of care that more affluent folks do. They hope to scale their model to other communities as well.

A great place to donate to.

(disc: I am on the board and family members started and handle daily management of the center.)

Mind Research – Their instructional programs and education initiatives are revolutionizing math education in America. They offer a research-proven tool for teaching and learning mathematics through non-language based, visual instructional software. Ask your kids if they know Jiji!

A donation here is an investment in our nations future.

(disc: I am on an advisory council focused on diversification of their support base)

And there you have it. Those are my recommendations for year end giving and shopping this season. Have recommendations of your own? I’d love to hear them in the comments!