A Guide to Grassroots Charities | The Nation


A Guide to Grassroots Charities

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There's abundant compassion but a great deal of confusion about the best places to send charitable donations to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Here's a list of progressive, grassroots organizations in Louisiana and elsewhere around the country. These groups are already on the ground and are poised to deliver aid to those who need it most.

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Adam Howard
Adam Howard is the former Assistant Web Editor of The Nation and currently the News Editor of The Grio.

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With the revelation last night/this morning that veteran Democratic Senators Christopher Dodd(CT) and Byron Dorgan (ND) are not seeking re-electionthis year, the mainstream press is going wild with speculation that theseretirements herald doom for the Democrats in this year's midtermelections. This is despite that fact that they are almost a year awayand that six, count 'em (Bunning, Brownback, LeMieux, Bond,Gregg, and Voinovich) six, GOP senators are retiring this year as well asseveral other Republicans in the House.Still, a narrative is forming (and we all know how powerful politicalnarratives can be) and if Obama and the Democrats don'tget in front of this soon it could become a self-fulfillingprophesy--the pundits have decided it's 1994 all over again.

For those youngsters out there who may not remember, in November of '94Congressional approval was at an all-time low and President Clinton's approval numbers weremired in the low 40s after his failure to pass healthcare reform. The result was a Republican landslide that dominated Congress until 2006. But2010 can be different and in some ways it already is. The public clearlyhas a lot more good will in the bank for Obama, he remains close to orat 50 percent approval in most public opinion polls--despite roughly six months of consistently bad press. Healthcare reform will likely be passed by the end of this month, albeit a comprised bill, but a political and strategic victory nonetheless. In addition if the Democrats get aggressive on immigration, education and climate change (which are all on the legislative agenda for this year) and continue to rack up victories it'll be easier to contrast themselves with "TheParty of No". Naturally there needs to be significant movement on jobstoo by the White House and Democrats in Congress, my hunch is that 10percent number hovers like a shadow over anything the party in powerdoes.

True, losing Dorgan (as JohnNichols writes) is a significant blow. He was a strong progressivein an undeniably right-leaning state and it will be exceedingly difficultfor any other Democrat to replace him. ChrisDodd, on the other hand, despite having many virtues, was totally tainted by scandal(even Michael Moore went after him in Capitalism: A LoveStory) and was likely to lose his re-election campaign. Hisdeparture, while perhaps bittersweet, clears theway for Connecticut's popular Democratic attorney general, RichardBlumenthal, to capture his seat. It seems unlikely to me that aprogressive state like Connecticut would send a Republican to representtheir state alongside nominal Independent Joe Lieberman.


Permit me to borrow one our president's most famous turns ofphrase--Carrie Prejean's story could "only happen in America." Most ofus who don't consume a daily diet of shows like Access Hollywoodand TMZ would normally not have heard of Miss Prejean, but now that she'sbecome a regular on Fox News, an author and poster child for "Palinized" conservative women everywhere--she's almost unavoidable. Most recently she appeared on Larry King Live, where she repeatedly snapped at the septuagenarian host for being "inappropriate."



For the uninitiated, a quick recap:



Carrie Prejean was competing the Donald Trump-funded Miss USA pageant, and was representing California. Apparently she was well ahead in points when she reached the question-and-answer segment. Openly gay blogger Perez Hilton, serving as a judge, asked her about her position on same-sex marriage. To which she replied (emphasis mine):



ACORN is one of the oldest and most successful organizations serving low-income communities in the United States, especially African-American communities, and it has a strong, longstanding base in New Orleans that will enable those affected to speak in their own names and hold politicians at all levels accountable over the long term.


Reprieve is a nonprofit run by Billy Sothern, an attorney who lives in New Orleans and represents indigent people facing the death penalty. Tax-deductible donations can be made online.

Community Labor United

Community Labor United is a coalition of progressive organizations in New Orleans formed in 1998. Their mission is to build organizational unity and support efforts that address poverty, racism and education. CLU organized in the areas hardest hit by the hurricane. Contact: Curtis Muhammad.

Charity Hospital

Charity Hospital is a public hospital in New Orleans serving low-income people. It was among the last to be evacuated, while private hospitals were able to pay for transport and care for their patients days earlier.

Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence

LCADV is a network of twenty domestic violence programs and shelters throughout the state. Four shelters and two nonresidential programs are completely closed, and two or three may be completely destroyed. Donations will be used to assist battered victims from the following parishes in Louisiana: Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Bernard and Plaquemines. To make a credit card donation, call (225) 752-1296. Or fax a voided check with the amount of your donation to (225) 751-8927.


The NAACP is setting up command centers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as part of its disaster relief efforts. NAACP units across the nation have begun collecting resources that will be placed on trucks and sent directly into the disaster areas. Also, the NAACP has established a disaster relief fund that can accept monetary donations to aid in the relief effort.

Modest Needs

Modest Needs has launched an initiative designed to ease the financial burden placed on those who have opened their homes to friends, family members and others displaced by Katrina.

Louisiana Environmental Action Network

LEAN members have provided airdrops of food, water and medical supplies to the trapped residents of St. Bernard, Washington and Plaquemine parishes. LEAN is raising funds to give local people, working with local government leaders, immediate assistance.

Baton Rouge Area Foundation

Since 1964, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation has helped local philanthropists create a lasting legacy of community development. The Hurricane Katrina Displaced Residents Fund will benefit those individuals evacuated to Baton Rouge. The Hurricane Katrina New Orleans Recovery Fund will focus on rebuilding infrastructure.

National Youth Advocacy Coalition/National Center for Lesbian Rights

In partnership with many organizations around the country, NYAC and its partners, including NCLR, have launched the Hurricane Katrina LGBT Relief Fund to ensure that LGBT youth and families receive the critical support they need to regain stability in their lives.

National Network of Abortion Funds

The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) has established an emergency fund to provide abortion care for women and girls affected by the hurricane.


AmeriCares is providing medical relief to aid Hurricane Katrina survivors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Operation USA

Operation USA can provide medical supplies and cash grants to smaller local clinics that are not Red Cross affiliates.

Louisiana Welfare Rights Organization

Located in New Orleans, WRO is one of the oldest welfare-rights advocacy organizations in the area. Among the services provided are job training and low-income housing. Donations should be sent through the Direct Action Welfare Group.

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is sponsoring a food and clothing drive for hurricane victims.
Contact: (718) 254-8800

Lewis Temple CME Church

272 Medgar Evers Street
Grambling, LA 71245
Contact: Rev. Dr. Ricky Helton (318) 247-3793

S.H.A.P.E. Community Center

3815 Live Oak
Houston, Texas 77004
Contact: Deloyd Parker (713) 521-0641

St. Luke Community Life Center

6211 East Grand Street
Dallas, TX 75223

Mohammad Mosque 65

2600 Plank Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70805
Contact: Minister Andrew Muhammad (225) 923-1400 or (225) 357-3079

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