It’s the holiday season, and you know what that means: latkes with mistletoe sprinkles, the great debate over “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and this column’s traditional recommendations for donations. Republicans are on the move, and so are Covid and climate change—give now, before things get even worse!
1. National Advocates for Pregnant Women. Did you know that more than 1,600 women have been arrested—most of them low-income, and disproportionately minorities—for everything from smoking pot to attempting suicide while pregnant, as well as for having or attempting an abortion? There are even women in prison for having miscarriages and stillbirths. Women are still being coerced into undergoing C-sections and other medical procedures. NAPW is the premier organization fighting these flagrant injustices. If you believe that you should not lose your constitutional rights when you become pregnant, send NAPW some love.
2. National Diaper Bank Network. Around one in three families struggle to provide their little ones with enough diapers to keep them clean and dry. Lack of sufficient diapers affects caregivers, too: Research shows mothers suffer shame and depression over not being able to meet this basic need. That food stamps, WIC, and other federal programs cannot be used to pay for diapers is shocking. The NDBN wants to change all that—and also provide for menstrual supplies, the lack of which is unhealthy and humiliating in about a hundred ways.
3. Brooklyn College Immigrant Student Success Office. College is tough for many students, but immigrant students, including DACA recipients, face special challenges. Despite budget cuts, Brooklyn College is setting up an office to help with mentoring and urgent needs. Whether you’re a current or former Brooklynite like me or just care about public education, you can make a difference by giving to the college’s Immigrant Student Emergency Fund. (Click “other” and add the comment “ISSO Immigrant Student Emergency Fund.”)
4. Texas Abortion Funds. Enraged about that Texas near-ban on abortion? Local groups are helping women figure out their options, organizing early procedures, arranging travel, and offering other assistance. With a single click, this link lets you donate to 10 of them, including the Frontera Fund, which works in the Rio Grande Valley, and Jane’s Due Process, which helps teenagers negotiate the many legal obstacles to getting care.
After you’ve given to them, donate to South Texans for Reproductive Justice, which distributes free emergency contraception.
5. Movement Voter Project. Do not—I repeat, do not—donate to the Democratic National Committee. It will take your money and give it to fancy consultants and last-minute TV ads; little goes to the state parties, which need the money on an ongoing basis. Instead, says my Nation colleague Micah Sifry, give to the Movement Voter Project, which funds grassroots organizing among youth and people of color in purplish states like Georgia and Pennsylvania. MVP doesn’t parachute in at election time and wonder where the voters are—it’s in the community for the long haul.
6. Canadian Harambee Education Society. This secular humanist group sends hundreds of rural Kenyan and Tanzanian girls to high school and provides the support they need to thrive. Too often, families without means prioritize educating their sons, while girls are consigned to early marriage or helping at home. For $600, you can sponsor a girl for a year; or donate what you can, and your gift will be combined with others’.
7. Hope for Haiti. Between earthquakes and hurricanes, poverty, political turmoil, and violence of all kinds, Haiti could use a helping hand. Hope for Haiti has worked for 30 years in health care, education, and disaster relief and comes recommended by both writer Roxane Gay and The Nation’s own Haiti correspondent, Amy Wilentz. The US has a lot to answer for in Haiti, so please be generous. (Am I guilt-tripping you? Whatever works!)
8. Afghan Women Skills Development Center. With the Taliban in charge, organizations that help Afghan women have pretty much vanished from public life. The Afghan Women Skills Development Center in Kabul is an exception. It’s a shelter for abused and homeless women, currently housing 40, with more sure to come. The immediate challenge is to get them through the winter. The journalist and humanitarian Ann Jones, who reported from Afghanistan for The Nation for years, has volunteered to collect and forward checks. Make yours out to Mahbouba Seraj and mail it to Ann at 30 Hamilton Road, Arlington, MA 02474.
9. The Edward Said Library. Nation readers were early supporters of the Edward Said Library in Gaza, a wonderful oasis of peace and books (in both English and Arabic) in a place with too little of either. Great news: Besides the two branches in Gaza, there’s a new one in East Jerusalem. Whatever your views on Israel/Palestine, I hope we can all agree that libraries are essential! You can fill the shelves and keep the lights on by donating to the Middle East Children’s Alliance.
10. African American Policy Forum. Founded by Kimberlé Crenshaw, one of the originators of the concept of intersectionality, and Vassar professor Luke Charles Harris, this innovative think tank focuses on human rights, women’s rights, and anti-racism. The aim is to change discourse and policy—on police violence against Black girls and women, the critical race theory panic, the disproportionate expulsion of Black girls from school, and more. If these issues are getting more attention these days, the AAPF deserves some of the credit.
11. Give Directly. What if there was a way to cut out the middlemen and just give money to poor people to spend as they think best? Give Directly makes that possible. A small amount can make a huge difference to a struggling family—and the research, including Give Directly’s follow-ups in Africa and the US, shows recipients don’t spend their windfall on cigarettes and gin but on food, health care, housing, educating their kids, paying bills, and starting businesses. If you like the idea of a universal basic income, consider this a step in that direction.