Matt Cutts asked which charities people donate to. Here’s my list:
* The Institute for Justice gets the first check I write every year. I gripe a lot about the effectiveness of advocacy. I don’t think voting, endorsing incumbent politicians or marching with signs do anything to relieve the boot on people’s throats. That’s why the IJ gets my support. They litigate for people who’ve lost their homes to eminent domain abuse, been choked out of entrepreneurship by excessive regulation and been silenced by government censors. Rather than collecting signatures on a petition, they take cases to court that improve people’s lives. And they win, too. I haven’t found a charity that’s more effective at producing genuine freedom for unrepresented citizens than these people.
* I usually send Boston College a check, too. While Joel has pointed out that BC got plenty of money in the four years I spent there, I like giving them more. I know that adding to their capital helps them take on more students, create a wider variety of programs and attract more future Pro Bowl quarterbacks. And if college is primarily a means of signaling, this is a way of preserving the value of my signal.
* I made a donation to Wikileaks this year. After hemming and hawing over whether I should, I finally sent them a modest gift using Visa. The very next day, Visa announced that they would no longer be processing Wikileaks payments (I finally became a tipping point!). I’d encourage others to donate, but I know Wikileaks is a controversial subject. Also, I don’t know if there’s any way an American can, short of sending your bank account information to a hacker enclave in Heidelberg (and if you’re hesitant to do that I understand).
The year’s not done yet. Anyone else I should donate to? I’m taking suggestions. Preference goes to:
* Organizations with demonstrated, practical results;
* Organizations that combat censorship;
* Organizations that provide legal resources for the unrepresented;
* Organizations that do not endorse political candidates or parties;
* Anything Alec Baldwin hates.