Got money?

Dec. 30th, 2016 07:03 pm
tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
If not, you can skip the rest of this post, unless you want to pass the suggestions along to your friends who do have money.

It's almost the end of the year, so you're probably doing what I'm doing: making sure to max out your corporate gift match, if your employer has one.

If you don't know where to donate, here are the groups I donated to just now.

1. Partners In Health - providing direct health care where it's needed most and advancing social justice, on the principle that everybody should have access to the same kind of health care you would expect for yourself or for a friend or loved one. I've been a supporter for years ever since I read Tracy Kidder's book _Mountains Beyond Mountains_ (about PIH founder Paul Farmer). They have a matching fund drive on until 12/31, so anything you donate today or tomorrow will be at least doubled, or tripled if your employer matches funds!

2. TGI Justice Project (TGIJP) - a small community organization based in San Francisco that advocates for incarcerated trans women of color.

3. Scarleteen - reality-based sex education for youth. Shout-out to the amazing work of Heather Corinna and her dedicated volunteers (including [personal profile] ranyart!)

4. National Network of Abortion Funds - I've been supporting them ever since the murder of Dr. George Tiller in 2009. In the US, it's illegal for public funds (e.g. Medicaid) to be used to pay for abortions. NNAF helps make up for that by directly funding abortions as well as campaigning for legislative change. With the incoming regime being what it is, their work is more important than ever.

5. United We Dream - advocating for immigration reform in the US. (Note that if you go to the donate link from their main home page, it goes to the legislative/lobbying 501(c)(4) organization, which probably can't be matched by your employer if that's a concern for you, though you should still support them anyway. I donated to the 501(c)(3) organization so it would be matched.)

6. MPower Change - a network of grassroots groups led by Muslim Americans. (Donations are administered by Citizen Engagement Lab, so look for that organization when you request donation matches.)

7. Southern Coalition for Social Justice - a North-Carolina-based group that has several focuses, but one of them is voting rights; given that this past election outcome was largely the result of long-term efforts by Republicans to suppress Black people's right to vote, their work is important right now.
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
A few weeks ago, I agreed to be interviewed by a reporter for CNN Money (online only, there's no TV version of this as far as I know) about my financial situation -- the Transgender Law Center put me in touch with her. Of course, I would rather make the news for something other than being in massive debt, but I'm hoping this will help raise awareness of something like that. Here's the article, which goes with a slide show of me and five trans women, with each of our stories in our own words. I can't speak for any of the other five participants, but I was pleased with the level of accuracy with which Blake Ellis, the author, transcribed my words as you see them on the page.

Despite my net worth being in the negative five figures, I still try to donate to organizations I support, and (while doing my taxes for 2012) I had occasion to make a list of them. These are not the only organizations I've supported, but they are my favorites. Here they are, in case you have more money than you know what to do with and want suggestions.


I wish I'd had access to this site when I was 12 or 13. (I still thought that "oral sex" referred to kissing at that point.) In a country where whether teenagers should get accurate information about sex in school is a controversial subject, sites like this are sorely needed. Scarleteen is a labor of love by Heather Corinna, whose online presence I've been following for a while now, and her commitment and dedication to maintaining the site for minimal reward is inspiring.

The Ada Initiative

Open-source and free software communities, as well as free culture projects like Wikipedia, continue to be hostile environments for women, people in gender, sexual and romantic minorities, and lots of other people who are from groups that have outsider status. It doesn't have to be that way, and it would be better for everyone if everyone who had desire and energy to contribute was able to participate in building the future without fear of humiliation. The Ada Initiative is the only group I know of that is specifically working to make that vision a reality. I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting online with both of the founders, Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora, so I have particular confidence in TAI's effectiveness.

National Network of Abortion Funds

Incredibly, getting an abortion in the US in 2013 is still highly dependent on one's income, and we still are a nation where being forced to give birth to a baby because of inability to pay around $500 (or in many locations, thousands of dollars when travel costs are factored in) is far from unheard of. The National Network of Abortion Funds focuses specifically on funding abortions for people who can't afford them, as well as changing unjust laws like the Hyde Amendment. They are sometimes good (not perfect!) at using language in their publicity that acknowledges that people who get pregnant and need abortions aren't always women. Stacey Burns, the online communications manager for NNAF, friended me on Facebook after I did a birthday wish for NNAF a few years back, and through reading her posts, I've gotten a good sense for the kind of activism that NNAF represents, and that it's something I want to support.

All Hands Volunteers

In the summer of 2010, I went to Léogâne, Haiti for six weeks to help with earthquake relief. All Hands Volunteers was the group I volunteered with. I ended up leaving Haiti after four weeks instead of six -- turns out heavy labor in extreme heat wasn't the thing I was best at (and after years and years of sitting at a desk 40+ hours a week -- who'd have guessed?) While I was there, though, I saw firsthand that All Hands is a group that's very effective at getting a lot of work done with a small group of very committed volunteers. Since then, they've initiated disaster relief projects in the Philippines as well as post-Sandy relief in Staten Island and Long Island. Some of the volunteers I met while working with All Hands were among the most inspiring people I've ever met.

Lyon-Martin Health Services

I'm biased -- Lyon-Martin, in San Francisco, is where I get my primary health care. It's a place where I can feel confident that I won't be treated awkwardly or be forced to educate about being a man with a transsexual body, and it's also a place where trans women, queer cis women, and genderqueer people can feel confident of the same. They operate on a shoestring and were close to shutting down not long ago. You should give not just if you want to support respectful health care in the Bay Area, but also if you want to make sure that the informed-consent model for trans health care spreads further.

Partners in Health

Years ago, I read _Mountains Beyond Mountains_ by Tracy Kidder (on the recommendation of a LiveJournal friend!), a biography of Paul Farmer -- who, along with Ophelia Dahl, founded Partners in Health -- and it has affected my thoughts, if not yet my actions, ever since. Paul Farmer's belief in and work towards providing the same health care to poor people that (say) a Silicon Valley software engineer like me would expect for themself or for their friends and family is challenging and is a source of hope. I also appreciate that while PIH is non-sectarian, it's inspired by liberation theology; _Mountains Beyond Mountains_ quotes Farmer as saying that he knew there had to be something to religion, because rich people hated it and poor people derived strength from it. I like that. And PIH gets stuff done (plus, Ophelia Dahl graduated from my alma mater, Wellesley, reminding me that not everyone from my school becomes an investment banker).

Transgender, Gender-Variant and Intersex Justice Project

There are big-name organizations that call themselves "LGBT" when the "T" really stands for transmisogyny and the B is silent, but the TGI Justice Project is the real thing. Just as PIH focuses on providing health care where it's needed the most, TGIJP focuses on the needs of that subset of the "LGBTIQ" cohort who need justice the most: trans women of color who are or have been incarcerated or who are targeted by the criminal justice system.

Having written this list, now I'm looking forward to having my debts paid off so I can support all of these organizations more thoroughly! If you particularly want to support organizations whose work is of a global nature, Partners in Health and All Hands Volunteers are your best bets on this list. Most of my favorites are US-centric, though, since I believe in helping with the needs that I'm most familiar with (since who else is going to but the people who are affected?)

tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
So there's this idea that if we increase taxes on the rich, then rich people will stop working so hard (that the rich work hard is already questionable, but let's go with it) and, I don't know, stop producing all the social goods that rich people produce.

I mean, I think it would be great if just increasing taxes, by, say, 2% on household income above $500,000/year would make some of those high earners say, "Goshdarnit, it's not worth it for me to earn this much money if the government is just going to take it away. I better get a job teaching in an inner-city elementary school instead, brb." But somehow, I don't think that's going to happen.

Is it *really* that easy to stop people from being greedy? I'm not sure greed would deserve its deadly-sin status if it was that easy to eradicate.

And while I'm at it, what's up with accusations of "class warfare"? Rich people have been waging war on everyone else since, oh, whenever it was that some people started being rich. (In fact, that's how you get rich in the first place.) The rest of it is just class self-defense.


tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

December 2018

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