Tuesday, October 7, 2008

21 New Charities for TisBest

We received hundreds of charity nominations over the past year.  Here is the list of 21 that we just added to TisBest, and our thoughts about each.  

If you want to nominate a charity for TisBest, please send email to charitymanager@tisbest.org.  We review the nominations each summer and we add new charities in the fall.   We look for charities that have revenues over $3 million and demonstrated widespread endorsement, fiscal responsibility, ingenuity and success within their areas of operation.  
Name, Address,
Statement of Purpose
Why We Chose Them
American Humane Association
63 Inverness Drive East
Englewood, CO 80112

Protecting children and animals from abuse and neglect since 1877.
We heard from a lot of people about American Humane Association.  American Humane Association was founded in 1877 and is unique in that its constituency includes both animals and children.  In general American Human tries to ensure that humans do not subject powerless living things to neglect or abuse.  American Human maintains an office in Los Angeles and among other duties provides oversight to ensure animals are not abused in the entertainment industry, including guidelines, set inspections, etc. 
American Jewish World Service
45 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018

Inspiring Jews to become global citizens by drawing on Judaism’s religious and cultural traditions to inspire a more just world, both within and outside the Jewish community.
TisBest featured a good number of Christian aid organizations, but we really did not have good representatives for Jewish Aid Organizations.  American Jewish World Service is a standout and widely recognized as responsible, effective and well run.
American Refugee Committee International
430 Oak Grove Street
Suite 204
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Helping refugees of war and conflict survive and rebuild their lives.
Perhaps there is no one more indisputably deserving of charitable aid than refugees – typically women and children – fleeing war, violence, drought or other calamity.  We chose ARC because it has a solid track record of helping refugees, both with handouts and with guidance towards rebuilding a life of dignity. 
American Rivers
1101 14th Street NW
Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20005

Fighting for healthy rivers from Maine to California. 
We feature a good number of general environmental organizations, but for some people rivers are the spiritual center of the universe.  You know those people – sun-wrinkled faces, teva tan lines on their feet, kayaks on top of the Subaru and a big smile on their faces.  We added American Rivers for them.  American Rivers is the only national organization dedicated to rivers.
1700 N. Moore St, St 2000
Arlington, VA 22209

Supporting "social entrepreneurs", towards a world where everyone is a changemaker with the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem and drive change.
Ashoka supports social entrepreneurs and TisBest is a social entrepreneur.  The connection is easy to see.  Check out the various arenas that Ashoka affiliates have succeeded in– it is quite amazing really.  Ashoka also has a subsidiary organization called Youth Venture – and the kids in Youth Venture uses TisBest Charity Gift Cards for fundraising.   
Catholic Relief Services
228 W. Lexington St.
Baltimore, MD 21201-3413

Alleviating human suffering, ensuring dignity and strengthening local organizations through programs in agriculture, HIV/AIDS, health, education, peace building, civil rights and micro-finance.
If you are Catholic, or even if you are not, this organization is impressive in the reach and delivery of mission services.  CRS spent over a half billion dollars in 2007, supporting programs in more than 100 countries, towards the Catholic ideal of supporting the poor and suffering of the world. 
Direct Relief International
27 S. La Patera Lane
Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Delivering non-sectarian health services to rural, impoverished, disaster-stricken and war-torn areas of the globe.
Direct Relief International delivers simple humanitarian and health care services to poor and struggling people around the globe.  In 2007 Direct Relief delivered health care support in 59 countries, including to support poor people in the United States.  DRI takes pride in its evaluation procedures, which include pre-grant analysis, mid-program assessment trips and detailed post-program debriefing. 
Ducks Unlimited
One Waterfowl Way
Memphis, Tennessee 38120

Conserving, restoring and managing wetlands and other waterfowl habitat so that the skies are filled with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.
For a lot of people who don’t have hunters in their family, Ducks Unlimited is an odd choice.  In fact, Ducks Unlimited is a very important contributor to wetlands conservation in North America; and of course wetlands are the building block for healthy ecosystems – and so almost accidentally Ducks Unlimited provides tremendous support for healthy ecosystems in America.
Epilepsy Foundation
8301 Professional Place, East
Landover, MD 20785

A national volunteer agency dedicated to the welfare of people in the United States living with epilepsy, seeking both a cure and improved quality of life for those with seizure disorders. 
Epilepsy touches the family of Erik Marks, TisBest’s Executive Director.  And so adding Epilepsy Foundation to TisBest was an easy decision to make on a personal level.  Several TisBest customers requested Epilepsy Foundation as well. 
FINCA International
1101 14th St NW
11th Floor
Washington, DC 20005

Making microloans to the world’s lowest income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living. 
We have all read a lot about microlending in recent years (at least before the headlines turned to subprime lending).  FINCA was a pioneer in microlending, beginning in 1984 when John Hatch introduced the “Village Banking” method.  Today FINCA reaches half a million families in 21 countries.
Friends of the Earth
1717 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

Committed people fighting daily for a healthy and just world. 
Friends of the Earth takes a no-nonsense, no glitz approach to environmental conservation.  Sometimes criticized for their methods, FOE has fervent backers who believe strongly in the organization.
GLAAD – Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
5455 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 1500
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
We received numerous requests that we add a charity working in the areas of gender identity and sexual orientation in the community.  We chose GLAAD for their consistent and widely admired efforts to change minds through media cooperation and positive reinforcement. 
Greenpeace Fund
702 H St NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20001

Halting environmental destruction and promoting a safe environment for future generations with a focus on ancient forests, global warming, toxic chemicals, oceans, genetic engineering and nuclear risk. 
Greenpeace is the poster child of environmental protection organizations.  We know them for fighting whaling, but they focus as well on many other areas of environmental protection.
Heifer Project International
One World Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72202

Fighting world hunger with livestock and agricultural training.
There must be a whole lot of Heifer International fans out there judging from the number of emails we received.  We are happy to add Heifer International and support their work using sustainable agriculture as a route to ending hunger.
Humane Society of the
United States
2100 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20037

Working for a humane world in which animals are free from abuse and valued.
We remember as kids going to a Humane Society shelter to adopt a new kitten or dog.  Humane Society is more than that, providing disaster relief for animals (recall Hurricane Katrina), wildlife rehabilitation and animal sanctuaries. 
Hunger Project
Five Union Square, W
New York, NY 10003

Fighting hunger by mobilizing villages, empowering women and forging partnerships with local government.
We had not heard of the Hunger Project before someone recommended it to us.  We admire the Hunger Project for clearly stating their goal of eliminating hunger, setting out a strategy for the goal and then getting down to implementation and delivering on the strategy.  No smoke and mirrors here.
New York Road Runners Foundation
845 Third Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10022

Building physical health and emotional well-being through running programs for underserved populations of both children and adults.
To be honest, when we got a lot of emails from NYRR members, we were dubious – we certainly didn’t want to feature a jogging charity on TisBest.  But we looked into it and NYRR Foundation is a good organization.  They set up community programs around New York that use running as a tool to teach about healthy living, goal setting, self esteem and discipline.  America could use more kids growing up with those qualities, so NYRR Foundation, welcome to TisBest!
Soldiers Angels
1792 E. Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104

Provides care packages, outreach and other comfort to soldiers and military families with the goal that no soldier feels unloved.
We received numerous requests for military charities.  We chose Soldiers Angels because it is heartfully run by uncompensated volunteers dedicated to fulfilling its slogan that, “May no soldier go unloved.”  It was founded in 2003 by Patti Patton-Bader, and “ordinary mother” of two American soldiers.  Examples of programs include homemade baked goods, blankets, handmade canes for wounded soldiers, calling cards and virtual baby showers. 
United Jewish Communities
111 Eighth Ave
Suite 11E
New York, NY 10011

Enhancing the well-being of Jews around the world with a focus on the core values of chesed (compassion), Torah (Jewish learning), tikkun olam (world repair) and tzdakah (social justice).
United Jewish Communities is a hub of information, opportunities and service to the Jewish community.  UJC works through “Federations” which it describes as “the one place that belongs to every Jew, the place where philanthropy, volunteerism and shared commitment come together to make a difference, to repair the world.”    We are pleased to support such programs through TisBest.
USO (United Service Organizations)
2111 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

Enhancing the quality of life for military personnel and their families by providing access to USO centers and programs around the world.
We received numerous requests for military charities.  The USO was an obvious choice because is the largest and oldest organizations supporting our troops abroad.  The USO operates family centers, canteens, libraries, game rooms and other facilities providing support and refuge for American military abroad. 
Young Life
420 N. Cascade Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Bringing the message of Jesus Christ to adolescents and helping them grow in their faith and as citizens of the community. 
Young Life started in 1938 as a youth leader’s project in a local Texas Church.  Today Young Life reaches over a half million children in the United States and also operates 597 ministries abroad in 58 different countries.  Here in Seattle, the Young Life programs are admired and we have heard many anecdotes about Young Life being a key contributor to the lives of many of our admired citizens.  

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