What are some charities that ALL congresspeople would endorse?
March 25, 2010 12:11 PM   Subscribe

What are some good charities/organizations that are nonpartisan, that both the most bleeding-heart liberal and bible-thumping fundamentalist conservative would feel comfortable supporting?

I'm not looking for a "charity of the moment" like Haitian relief (not that I believe them to be undeserving), but for an institution with more history and accountability, specifically located in or significantly serving the United States.

For purposes of this question, "good" would mean a charity that scores high on http://www.charitynavigator.org/ and/or members of MetaFilter find worthwhile.

All I can think of is the Red Cross, Children's Miracle Network, and possibly Habitat for Humanity. I'm not sure if the first two are too close in theme to the health care reform hubbub.

(I wasn't sure what category to throw this in, so "grab bag" it is.)
posted by JeremiahBritt to Grab Bag (32 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Make a Wish Foundation?

Meals on Wheels?
posted by xingcat at 12:13 PM on March 25, 2010


I would assume that various disease societies like the American Cancer Society would be fairly bi-partisan.
posted by Hiker at 12:16 PM on March 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well rather than focusing on a national organization, there are local nonprofits in your area that could use your money better and still have the history and accountability that you're looking for. Perhaps ask around or just keep an eye out for those (can't really suggest any since I don't know the city you're in).
posted by astapasta24 at 12:21 PM on March 25, 2010


I know some people think they are too Christian or whatever, but I'm kind of partial to Habitat for Humanity.
posted by Doohickie at 12:25 PM on March 25, 2010


Medecins San Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:25 PM on March 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Little Star Foundation, dedicated to improving the quality of life of kids with cancer.

I think even though it's tangentially related to health care, I can't imagine any objections to organizations that research diseases or help sick kids.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:31 PM on March 25, 2010


The Salvation Army - Christians who actually act like Christians.
posted by tommyD at 12:34 PM on March 25, 2010


DonorsChoose

Girl Scouts of the USA

NARSAD (mental illness research)

KaBOOM! (playgrounds)
posted by lakeroon at 12:36 PM on March 25, 2010


Clarification, please: Are you asking about what passes for far-left and far-right among members of Congress, or among Americans in general? Because the latter is a lot more extreme, on both ends, than the former, and, if you mean the latter, I don't think there's an answer to your question. For example:

Far-right criticism of Habitat for Humanity: by giving houses to poor people, they discourage hard work and destroy free enterprise.
Far-left criticism of Habitat for Humanity: by giving houses to poor people, they contribute to sprawl and encourage overpopulation.
posted by box at 12:37 PM on March 25, 2010


Sorry, one more: the National Inclusion Project
posted by lakeroon at 12:39 PM on March 25, 2010


Well rather than focusing on a national organization, there are local nonprofits in your area that could use your money better and still have the history and accountability that you're looking for. Perhaps ask around or just keep an eye out for those (can't really suggest any since I don't know the city you're in).

This. There are many national organizations who do good work and are politically/religiously neutral - but huge nonprofits are rarely as effective as small, direct service sorts of nonprofits.

This of course doesn't apply so much to things like disease research and that sort of thing. But if you're talking about services for the poor, for kids, for the elderly - more of your dollar will go to actually helping people if you keep it local. Orgs like the United Way burn so much money in admin and marketing that I can't fathom how anyone still donates to them.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:41 PM on March 25, 2010


Heifer International is also a popular choice.
posted by JMOZ at 12:46 PM on March 25, 2010


Sorry about being unclear. I am specifically looking for national charities that would appeal to all members of congress. This is for a stupid project in my head which probably won't ever come to fruition, but will be fun to attempt.

I am trying to solicit chili recipes from congresspeople, both sides of the spectrum and in between.

If I get enough, I'd like to work with the representatives/their staffers and a charity to make a Congressional Chili Cook-Off For [charity name] book. Each page would have a recipe, picture, mini-bio of the congressperson, and a one paragraph quote. Names of chilies and quotes could be as cute/smarmy as they please ("Rainbow chili" for a supporter of gay rights, "Tax-free chili", etc.) but the book would be otherwise free of rhetoric.

I realize that the logistics of such a project are hellish, but since I enjoy both thought experiments and chili, I see no harm in figuring out the best way to do the impossible.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 12:53 PM on March 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


If it's a thought experiment, I think it might be chatfilter.
posted by box at 12:54 PM on March 25, 2010


I still think my question is valid, since I am going to attempt to get this off the ground (sent some emails today to get recipes) and I have a real question with definite answers, but if it is too iffy I understand.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 12:56 PM on March 25, 2010


United Way? There's a lot under their umbrella.
posted by KAS at 1:08 PM on March 25, 2010


Agreed, I know far lefties and righties who like Heifer International - http://www.heifer.org/# - as it is helping those in need through helping them help themselves.
posted by pointystick at 1:09 PM on March 25, 2010


i don't think the salvation army fits.

"The Salvation Army's position is that because it is a church, Section VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly guarantees its right to discriminate on the basis of its religious beliefs in its hiring. To reinforce its position, it threatened to close all soup kitchens in New York City when the city government proposed legislation that would require all organizations doing business with it to provide equal benefits to unmarried domestic partners." via wiki

any organization that fights for their right to discriminate probably won't fall under the umbrella of "everyone loves them"
posted by nadawi at 1:13 PM on March 25, 2010


The Red Cross?

Maybe Médecins Sans Frontières, but I can see some right-wing nutjobs hating on them.
posted by atbash at 1:19 PM on March 25, 2010


That should have been Médecins Sans Frontières.
posted by atbash at 1:22 PM on March 25, 2010


There's a vegan/sexual-politics-of-meat kind of argument to be made against Heifer, but I don't think it's one that any members of Congress would advance.
posted by box at 1:23 PM on March 25, 2010


Literacy organizations generally have broad support:
ProLiteracy
First Book
Reading is Fundamental
posted by susanvance at 1:30 PM on March 25, 2010


Operation Smile
posted by msali at 1:33 PM on March 25, 2010


Smile Train. Extra bonus: the organization's overhead is paid for by an anonymous donor, so 100% of contributions go to fixing little kids with cleft lips and palates.
posted by ambrosia at 1:51 PM on March 25, 2010


Humane Society. Who doesn't want to help the puppies?
posted by ninjakins at 1:56 PM on March 25, 2010


Goodwill Industries and Modest Needs for orgs that do work in the US. Mercy Corps and CARE for international relief.
posted by phoenixy at 1:59 PM on March 25, 2010


The Salvation Army - Christians who actually act like Christians.

If your definition of Christian behaviour includes anti-gay bigotry, yes. They made a rather public stance a few years ago of denying rights to same-sex domestic partners and not bringing on workers who openly identify as gay, and I've not seen any news that they've reversed the position since then.
posted by FatherDagon at 3:05 PM on March 25, 2010




The number of favourites for this response is an indication of the respect for MSF. I think EndsOfInvention's suggestion deserves a Best Answer
posted by Neiltupper at 9:32 PM on March 25, 2010


The Salvation Army - Christians who actually act like Christians.

They also require their employees to take some kind of Christian loyalty oath.
posted by callmejay at 6:46 AM on March 26, 2010


Thanks everyone. If this works out, I'll definitely post it to projects.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 7:29 AM on March 26, 2010


The beef I have with the Salvation Army is that their ubiquitous red buckets near christmas aren't necessarily for charity. The local SA churches who put the buckets out can use that money for general funds, and aren't required to use that money for charity. That seems like a shady repurposing of someone's holiday cheer towards keeping their church lights on.
posted by garlic at 8:11 AM on March 26, 2010


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