Washington and Lincoln -- Soon upon us is the end of the year and time for thinking about responsible citizenship through charitable giving. Here are four of my favorite charities that will do wonders with donations.
Veterans Education Success (VES).
This charity was started by a former Senate staffer, Carrie Wofford, a few years ago to help veterans avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous post-secondary schools and predatory loan providers. VES now has dozens of veterans organizations that work closely with it to advise veterans and to protect taxpayers from misuse of GI Bill funds. As a veteran myself, I know the importance of VES's work.
Bikes for the World.
This Washington-area charity was led for many years by Keith Oberg (no relation that we know of). It collects used bicycles, repairs and refurbishes them, and ships them to impoverished areas around the world. It works closely with knowledgeable people in many countries to learn exactly what is needed for the local populations.
This charity, long and capably led by Harry Rhodes in Chicago, takes vacant lots in run-down urban areas, converts them to organic agriculture, and trains local residents in how to grow healthy food and market it successfully. It has a remarkable record in changing lives.
Double Up Bucks.
This is an effort currently led by Vanessa Wielenga of the University of Nebraska Extension Service. It makes SNAP recipients' resources go further when they buy healthy, local food in Nebraska. In so doing, it helps grow local and regional food markets. Donors get a double bang for their own bucks in that they are helping needy citizens as well as helping local farmers.
Think about these four charities in the days ahead. Click on their titles for donation information.