The Nonprofit News Goes from Bad To Worse

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This week's massive Ponzi scheme by Bernard Madoff has made a tough economy even tougher for a number of charities and Jewish philanthropies. At least foundations have closed their doors and major losses have been reported by foundations established Steven Spielberg, Elie Wiesel, and Sen. Frank R. Launtenberg.

Lucy Bernholz, who blogs at Philanthropy 2173 and is well known for her analysis of philthanthropic sector and buzz word predictions says in a post titled, "No I Didn't Predict the Madoff Ripoff"

" ...as I watch the heartbreakingly sad (and infuriating) demise of several foundations and major charitable budgets in the wake of the great Madoff Ripoff,
I'm kicking myself for not having predicted something like this.
Surely, rising economies hide all kinds of scandals which only get
exposed as the tide inevitably pulls out. I've taken a fair bit of heat
for writing that logic dictates that charitable giving will drop in the wake of our economic woes - I'm only feeling more certain that I'm right. And hoping that more shoes like this don't drop in the coming months."

Most nonprofits, if not all, are feeling the pain from the recession
with slowed annual holiday giving, budget cuts at best, and staff
layoffs at worst. Nonprofit and advocacy organizations are headed for extraordinarily difficult times and many groups are planning to try to remain effective.

The Foundation Center has pulled together a site with aggregated data and map that displays the distribution of the most recent support by U.S.
foundations to aid those affected by the downturn. Drill down to see
the details.
It's part of the Foundation Center's aggregated page of articles, podcasts, data, and resources that Focus on the Financial Crisis.

My email is overflowing is with requests for donations or requests to mention a campaign or donation service. So, I thought I'd create list of some of the charities that I know do great work:

Specific Charities

1. Idealware: Founder by Laura Quinn, Idealware writes reviews of software and technology for the nonprofit. In a style similar to Consumer Reports, the site is known for the high quality reporting. Board member Michael Stein is offering match donations $1 for $1 up to $1,000.

2. WiserEarth: WiserEarth is an online community space that connects organizations and individuals who are working environmental, poverty reduction, and social justice issues. The community has put together a drive for $5,000 to fuel it into 2009.

3. Social Actions: The organization's goal is to makes it easy for people to find
and share opportunities to give or volunteer for social causes using social networking strategies. They are trying to raise $20,009 in $20.09 micro gifts to support their efforts. I'm a supporter and here's why.

4. FreeGeek: This organization is a computer recycler that takes your old equipment and recycles it responsibly and rebuilds computers for low income families from the parts. Here's more about why this organization is so special.

5. Idealist: This is an interactive site where people and organizations can
exchange resources and ideas, locate opportunities and supporters, and lists jobs and volunteer opportunities in the nonprofit sector.

6. World Bicycle Relief: Is an organization that provides bicycles to people in countries all over the world to help them get increased access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities.

Donation Services

Some online nonprofits including Redefine Christmas, Changing the Present, and Just Give have launched a campaign to encourage consumers to give to charity in a creative way. Check their web sites for details. Robert Tolmach has more at Huffington Post

And if you are doing some holiday shopping, why not shop with a purpose? We-Care.com is a shopping site that can help you do just that.

Beth Kanter, BlogHer CE for Nonprofits and Social Change writes Beth's Blog.

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