There's a very small hole in my pocket, but it's a hole nonetheless...
April 11, 2008 9:02 PM   Subscribe

I've given to international charities for years, but it's time to look closer to home...

Ok... I've pretty much given consistently to HIV/AIDS charities that were based on overseas efforts for years now. YAY ME!!!

While I'll keep doing that - I've realized after conversations with several friends that I don't do anything to help out with issues here in the United States.

With that in mind, I'm interested in sponsoring a child or family here in the US. Can anyone recommend a charity with a low overhead that will let me sponsor someone in need? Re-read the term 'low overhead' here... I don't want to give my $$$ to a charity that is more 'business' than 'charity'.

Also, it doesn't have to be HIV/AIDS related. And also also... to be just a wee bit controversial - I want nothing to do with a 'faith-based' charity. Yes, my charity comes with limitations - tis my prerogative.

Any suggestions?
posted by matty to Human Relations (8 answers total)
One thing you might consider doing is calling a local school and find out if there are any kids in need of shoes, clothing, etc. There's usually a kid in need.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:10 PM on April 11, 2008

I do what I just suggested. I never meet these kids. The most information I get is sizes, if the child is a boy or girl and if I'm lucky a first name.

I should note that I am dealing with a community that I'm familiar with and I know people on staff at the school(s).
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:12 PM on April 11, 2008

Response by poster: I have a friend that is a school-teacher here locally, so that might be a good idea. Thanks! Still looking for more suggestions...
posted by matty at 9:15 PM on April 11, 2008

Our county foster care agency has a fund for children that pays for "extras" (ha) such as trips, the prom, fees for sports. Your local agencies may have a similar fund.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:31 PM on April 11, 2008

This isn't helping just one child, but I like to give to Donors Choose. You give the money to support a specific project for a specific classroom.The website has a description of the project, an accounting of where the money goes and data on the type of school, including the % of students who get free lunch. You can also select from just local schools if you want. Some of the needs seem very basic, at least to me. I learned that many school save money by expecting the teachers to use overhead transparencies for everything. Some teachers want paper so they can photocopy handouts so the students don't have to copy them out by hand or they request a white board for a math class so more than one student at a time can share their solution with the class.) Some provide enrichment (like specific books for the library or a carpet and cushions to create a reading nook). You can also choose if you want to donate to cover the overhead for the Donors Choose organization or not.
posted by metahawk at 11:16 PM on April 11, 2008

I've sponsored a few children through Christian Children's Fund here in the U.S. They are listed as a top-rated charity by the American Institute of Philanthropy (the link explains the criteria).

I get a child's name, photo and a bit about him and the money I send every month goes to his after-school program. I also am on the mailing list for his local program and get updates about what the kids are doing. Once or twice a year, I get a note from him with info on how he is. I can also send him things directly (well, through the local program).
posted by jdl at 6:18 AM on April 12, 2008

The Body allows you to search for AIDS Service Organizations by zip code. The Carl Vogel Centre seems like it might be up your alley.
posted by heatherann at 7:24 AM on April 12, 2008

You could contact an organization that assists battered women and children, such as House of Ruth, to see what's on their wishlist (or do a monetary contribution outright). One of my husband's and my charitable projects this past holiday season was to put together gifts for a bunch of the women, which consisted of a laundry basket filled with pajamas, a robe, slippers, bath products, etc. Most organizations like this maintain a list of items they need the most.
posted by justonegirl at 10:59 AM on April 12, 2008

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