Happy #GiveBig Tuesday, the day when greater Seattle goes on a frenzy of charitable giving. This post is for those of you who care about sustainability issues, you really do, but you are just so busy thinking about work and family and all kinds of obligations that it’s hard to find time for gardening or DIY-ing or hanging wet laundry or cooking dry beans from the bulk food section.
For people like you, charitable giving is one way you can advocate for your green beliefs. And today is a great day to do some giving.The Seattle Foundation runs this annual day of online giving, where you can contribute easily to as many nonprofits as you like (anonymously, if you desire) and have many of your donations matched. Nonprofits also receive a percentage of a “stretch pool” of donations based on how much money they are each able to drum up.
My Top 3 Green Nonprofits for Giving Big
There are many environmental advocacy groups out there, as well as foundations that give to parks and greening projects. All of those are lovely things, but the three nonprofits I list here have the power to make really significant changes for the better in terms of ecological sustainability as well as social justice. They do so by “stacking functions,” as a permaculturist would say. That means they do more than one thing at a time. Or they are involved in educating or supporting education somehow, which is also key in sending ripple effects out into the universe. Teach a man to fish, right? Anyway, here’s the list:
- Food Lifeline is an organization in Western Washington state that feeds hungry people by finding and delivering food that might otherwise go to waste. This addresses so many sustainability problems at once! First of all, food waste is waste – garbage that may end up emitting methane in a landfill if it is not composted. Second, growing all that wasted food taxes and depletes our soil and in many cases uses fossil fuels through farm equipment or fertilizer. To invest so much in it and then let it rot is such a shame. Then of course there’s the moral issue of letting people go hungry while all this food rots or expires on store shelves. It’s a cruelty of capitalism that our government has not bothered to redress.Redistributing food the way Food Lifeline does is a big job. It’s bigger than any one food bank or church can handle. I feel great about contributing to this organization because they do something I or my community can’t do alone, that the government is not doing, and that helps so many needy people in addition to the Earth. Feeding hungry kids helps them do better in school and keep a more peaceful and hopeful outlook. Environmental justice is social justice. Donations are matched up to $75K by an anonymous donor today.
- Tiny Trees Preschool is also on the list this year. This is the all-outdoor preschool program that is starting in Fall of 2016 in several public parks in Seattle. Taking a page from the forest kindergartens of Europe, it is bringing affordable outdoor and environmental education to kids who might otherwise be suffering through some inappropriate early literacy curriculum or might not be able to afford preschool at all. My kid will be going there in September, so I’ll be supporting them with lots of tuition dollars!
- Sustainable Northeast Seattle is just such a cool organization. It is part of a movement to make communities sustainable and resilient by building networks of people who can share resources and expertise in all the skills a community needs to provide for itself. I attended their free Hands-On Skills Fair in February and learned how to cultivate mushrooms. I also got some free seeds from their seed exchange and talked to the folks who run the group’s Tool Library. They were teaching all kinds of skills, from sewing to electronics repair to permaculture gardening. I don’t know if it sounds crazy or not, but I think there’s a decent chance that we’ll face some oil shocks or environmental disasters in the coming decades that will make it necessary for us to live a much more local existence, and hands-on skills are something we should all be learning.
Well, there are of course tons of other nonprofits worthy of our support, but those are my top 3 picks for this year. What are you interested in supporting? Happy giving, and good luck with all your daily obligations this week!