Almost done with my 2017 wrap up. To be honest, all of these are blog posts that have been in my “do soon” pile anyway, and I realized bringing them all together at the end of the year together a lot of sense.

This is the list of organizations I’ve donated to in 2017, either via monetary donation or volunteering. When trying to decide if I want to send them money, I check a few things: first and most important: is it a cause I care about and are they trying to solve it in a way I approve? Second, do they produce results? And finally, what percentage of their donation income goes to the problem they’re trying to solve, as opposed to marketing and solicitation of more donations? That latter one blacklists a surprisingly high number of organizations for me, and it’s always worth checking out.

I added ACLU and EFF to my list this year because, well, they are fighting fights that became a lot more important in 2017 to me. We also added Humane Society of Silicon Valley after adopting our new kittens from them. The rest, given the interests I talk about here, probably shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

  • ACLU: The American Civil Liberties Union continues to fight for everyone’s rights.
  • Audubon: The National Audubon Society is one the the most important organizations for working to protect birds and their habitats.
  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology: one of the organizations that studies birds, and also manages and runs the Ebird site.
  • EFF: The Electronic Freedom Foundation is another organization fighting to maintain our rights in an environment that seems intent on rolling them back.
  • Humane Society Silicon Valley: The local chapter of the Humane Society, working to give unwanted pets a chance at a good life.
  • International Bird Rescue: When birds are found injured or are involved in human-caused disasters like oil spills, it’s often IBR that rescues, rehabilitates and releases them back into the wild. This is an organization that if it was closer to where I live, I’d be volunteering for them.
  • Marine Mammal Center: What IBR does for birds, the Marine Mammal Center does for animals, including otters, seals, sea lions and elephant seals. Again, if they were close enough for me to visit regularly, they’d be an organization I would volunteer for.
  • Mickaboo Avian Rescue: You’re probably aware that dogs and cats have rescue groups to take on and find homes for unwanted and abused animals. Birds need that, too, And Mickaboo is the organization here in Northern California.
  • The Nature Conservancy: This is an organization who’s purpose is to identify those important natural areas and find ways to protect them from development and abuse. They have been active in preserving a number of areas that matter to me, including Carrizo Plain National Monument and some of the winter habitat for Cranes and Geese in the Central Valley.
  • Peninsula Open Space Trust: When Nature Conservancy is doing on a global basis, POST is doing more locally. In the last year they’ve bought two parcels of land in Coyote Valley to help preserve it from development and preserve transit corridors for wildlife. If you ever look around the Bay Area and stop to think about how much open and greens pace there is in this area, this is one of the groups that’s been fundamental in making that happen. There’s a really good chance one of the places you go out and walk/hike in on a regular basis was preserved through POST.
  • San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory: this is a conservation and study organization working to understand and preserve the important birds and habitats in the Bay Area. They have ongoing research along the bay shores and have been studying Snowy Plover populations in the area, to name just two or their initiatives. This is an organization I’m an active volunteer with.
  • Santa Clara Valley Audubon: This is the county chapter of the Audubon society, and it’s probably not a surprise it’s the one I’m most active with. I’m currently a member of their social media and outreach committee, I’ve just taking on chairing the birdathon committee, and in February I’m leading my first trip for them out to (of course) Merced National Wildlife Refuge, which you’re welcome to join us for even if you’re not a member.

If you’re looking for places to give, I can recommend all of them as doing good and important work and not spending excessive amounts of your donation to generate more donations. Most of them have significant impact to the areas and livability of Silicon Valley, and if you live int this region, I hope you’ll decide to get involved with them as well.