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Today is the last day of the year, and, as such, it is the last opportunity to reduce your tax bill by donating to some worthwhile causes. Donate tomorrow and you likely won’t see any tax benefits until 2016.
Here are some great charitable organizations I have supported this year, and I would encourage you to do the same.
- Free Press is grassroots organization is ramping up to oppose the Comcast–Time Warner Cable merger and to promote Net Neutrality. As a media scholar, I can’t see any benefits that consumers and Internet users would see if we allow Comcast to acquire Time Warner Cable or if we don’t protect and promote an open Internet.
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been protecting your rights on the Internet even before there was an Internet. I’m really excited about their role in deploying a new Certificate Authority to make encrypting the web much easier.
- Transportation Alternatives has been instrumental in making the streets of New York more favorable for bicyclists and pedestrians. Please donate to make the bike lobby—not this one—all the more powerful.
- The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative hosted an Epic Bicycle Ride this summer. Donate to these guys so they can someday realize a waterfront bicycle path. You could also donate to the East Coast Greenway to build a continuous path from Florida to Maine, a portion of which I rode in November from Brooklyn to New Haven.
- Second to Wikipedia, the Internet Archive is one of the Internet resources I most frequently use for preparing lectures. Not only can you find old webpages, there there a treasure trove of old radio programs.
- Light Industry is my favorite microcinema in New York City. Not only do they keep experimental film alive in New York City, they are conveniently located to me in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. While it is a bit frustrating that they don’t schedule film screenings on a regular basis, I imagine this ensures that they schedule something if it is worthwhile and logistically feasible.
- Now that I moved to the other side of the Newtown Creek, I subsist mostly of take-out and the buffet at the Faculty lounge. But in my previous life, I used to get really excited about the greenmarket season to eat like an artisanal hipster. Grow NYC runs a bunch of programs that support community farmers to promote the city’s Greenmarkets. Donate $100 and get a cookbook.
In addition to feeling good about donating to these causes, some wealthy people are offering matching donations. This serves two purposes: it rallies would-be donors, and I would imagine, it reduces their own substantial tax bill. These matching donations are also great for these charitable organizations. For example, your one-dollar donation to Free Press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation mean they receive two dollars in support. And, in the case of Transportation Alternatives and the Internet Archive, they are due to receive $2 for every dollar they raise from individual donors. That means that your one-dollar donation yields three dollars in support.
But you should really give more than one dollar. Much more.