2016 Charity Drive

EDIT: The original drive has been filled. Thanks to a super generous donation by Martin Crowley, a modified drive towards

  1. Against Malaria Foundation
  2. Give Directly
  3. Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)

PLEASE SEE MORE RECENT POSTS FOR DETAILS. 

 

Last year, Dan Colman and I organized a very successful charity drive, so I wanted to do it again, this time on a larger scale. Between now and the end of the year, I am matching charity donations up to $175,000 to the following charities which I’ve separated into 3 groups:

GROUP ONE – The first two charities are the most efficient. If you want your money to go as far as possible, these are your best bet.

1.  The Against  Malaria Foundation 

Over 1 million people – mostly children – die from malaria each year. The foundation provides insecticide-treated bed nets, which prevent deaths and many other non-fatal cases of malaria. They are inexpensive – about $2.50/bed. Rated the #1 charity by givewell.org

2.  Give Directly

Another top Givewell.org charity, they focus on giving money to those who need it most. The money appears to be very efficiently spent, recently focusing on improving many villages in Kenya and Uganda.

GROUP TWO –

The second group of charities are designed to help those involved in the prison system. The system seemed to be so fucked that any donation felt futile. I asked a friend who’s a public defender for his opinion, and he recommended donating to a Bail fund.

The basic idea is that there are a lot of people held on bail in misdemeanor cases where if they were out they could fight the case, but to get out of jail they take pleas and get criminal records. This can have all sort of collateral consequences on jobs, school, housing, etc and thus contributes to the widening socioeconomic gap in the U.S.

A fund that posts these people’s bail would have very slow attrition. According to The Bronx Freedom Fund, 97% of clients attend all scheduled court dates.  This would save lot of people from criminal records and jail time. The Massachusetts Bail Fund only posts bail that is $500 or less.  No one should have to sit in jail because they don’t have $200.

To anyone interested in donating to a Bail Fund here are two great ones:

Massachusetts Bail Fund or Just City (based out of Memphis).

The third charity in this category is Liberation Prison Yoga. They organize yoga and meditation classes for prisoners. I think these kind of programs have the power to reduce a lot of suffering in a cost effective manner. Yoga and meditation have been great for my mental health. Despite all the advantages in the world, I still have bouts with depression. I couldn’t imagine dealing with it under prison conditions.

I want to add the statistic that the market cap for the biggest for-profit prison company, Corrections Corp of America, went up 60% to $2.4 Billion in the first ~12 hours after Trump won. This terrifies me.

GROUP THREE –

Last year, Dan Colman told me that he views charity like putting on a band aid. Sometimes we simply need a bandaid, but in an ideal world, you wouldn’t be bleeding in the first place. I love the idea of trying to fix the core of certain problems. Here a few charities that I believe attempt to get to the core of certain issues.

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS): They are doing some great government-funded research on PTSD and anxiety. I definitely think that psychedelics are capable of having a positive impact on someone’s life, and that their possible link to PTSD/anxiety treatment is worth researching. To my knowledge, it appears that clinical depression research has not progressed nearly as much as other similar fields. Prozac was released 30 years ago, and medication has not changed significantly since then.

Zendo Project: another project from MAPS that has trained professionals available for those having difficult psychedelic trips. At Burning Man, they have two locations. I think that the general awareness that this safety net exists makes people more likely to have a positive experience. I think that promoting responsible psychedelic experiences is a great cause.

Open Philanthropy:  I really like this meta charity. They are trying to stop the bleeding, rather than just put band aids on. They are collaborating with givewell, which is all the support I need.

Edit: Someone from givewell reached out to me. She said “I’d also like to clarify one point in the blog post: The Open Philanthropy Project is a collaboration between GiveWell and Good Ventures. Good Ventures currently plans to cover 100% of the Open Philanthropy Project’s operating expenses, so there’s no need for donations.”

It’s going to be a very busy couple of weeks with Thanksgiving, DFS, and poker for me, but I am looking into a replacement charity.
350.org A charity trying to fight global warming. Received a 91 on charity navigator Donald Trump appointed Myron Ebell to head the Environmental Protection Agency, which is also terrifying. Ebell has called concerns over climate change silly. In 2007, he said to Vanity Fair “There has been a little bit of warming … but it’s been very modest and well within the range for natural variability, and whether it’s caused by human beings or not, it’s nothing to worry about.”

How will this work?

You will (hopefully) pick out a charity that you find satisfactory. Each charity is tax deductible in the US, and likely many other countries. If you are from a different country and have a tax question, I am happy to research it for you. Email a receipt to receiptsforcharity@gmail.com , I will update my spreadsheet and match your donation! I am going to give myself some creative liberties. For instance, if the Massachusetts Bail Fund had $50,000 and Just City had $0, I would personally donate to Just City.  Each charity has been great about responding to my calls/emails/questions in a timely manner and each one will receive at least a few thousand dollars. Everything will be in good faith, but if anyone wants to discuss specifics, feel free to email me.

I tried giving lots of choices to ensure that there is something for everyone. I have, however, read that too many choices can sometimes freeze someone into not making a decision.

I am hoping that you guys are all too smart for that, but if you find yourself stuck…

Go to Random.org ; enter numbers 1-9 . Whichever number comes out, go with it!

  1. Against Malaria
  2. Give Directly
  3. Massachusetts Bail Fund
  4. Just City
  5. Liberation Prison Yoga
  6. MAPS
  7. Zendo
  8. Open Philanthropy
  9. 350.org

Or feel free to email me receiptsforcharity@gmail.com and I will set you up with whichever charity has the least donations, or work something else out.

Thanks for the consideration.

Edit: I might be able to accept cash or chips in Vegas. I will look to see if I can find someone to accept cryptocurrencies. If there are other ways you would like to donate, send me an email and we can try to work it out.

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2016 Charity Drive

8 thoughts on “2016 Charity Drive

  1. Jeff Wilson says:

    If you’ll match a donation to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation I’ll be glad to send them some more money. Largest land conservancy group of its kind in America.

    Like

  2. Paul Helderman says:

    HI Dan,

    Great to see you’re doing this!
    Would be interested to hear why you haven’t included any non human animal charities in your top charities. “The first two charities are the most efficient”. It seems to me that if you value efficiency and want to reduce suffering, picking a charity that combats factory farming (eg. through spreading public awareness or legal advocacy) seems like a good pick. Have a look here if you’re interested: https://www.animalcharityevaluators.org/

    Paul

    Like

  3. Paul Helderman says:

    Hi Dan,

    Great inititiave!
    Would be interested to hear your views on nonhuman animal charities that combat factory farming (eg. through spreading public awareness or attempting to change legal advocacy). Some of these are proven to be highly effective (see https://www.animalcharityevaluators.org/) and noticed that none of them made the cut for your top charities.

    Paul

    Like

  4. Dan,

    I am not sure if you are interested but we could create a unique t-shirt for you and Dan Coleman that people could buy and we could donate a portion of the proceeds to one of your charities as well. Love what you are doing and thought we could help as we are poker fans at http://www.500level.com.

    We mainly create licensed sports apparel but thought this would be unique to partner on.

    500 LEVEL

    Like

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