RALPH NADER’S END-OF-YEAR GIFT IDEAS…

December 27th, 2017

So, I figure that most Americans—like myself—are tapped out, but if you have a few dollars left over and you want to alleviate a bit of that guilt for spending all that money on really stupid corporate shit, Ralph Nader has a few ideas for worthy organizations that could use your help.

Nader, in For Year End Charitable Giving—Some Favorites, writes:

Here are some of my favorite, frugal, effective non-profit citizen action organizations that you may wish to favor with your tax-deductible generosity.

1. Veterans For Peace: Composed of veterans from World War II to the present, VFP takes strong stands, including peaceful demonstrations and marches, for peace and against a militarized, aggressive foreign policy and wars of choice. (My pick for January, JH)

2. Public Employees For Environmental Responsibility: A group of U.S. Forest Service professionals started this remarkable group, which has since spread to civil servants in other federal agencies such as the EPA and the Department of the Interior. PEER’s staff is knowledgeable, organized and relentless in protecting federal employees’ right to bring their conscience to work and speak out against unlawful or reckless devastation of our environmental resources and health. (My pick for February, JH)

3. Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest: This lean, dedicated and productive group works tirelessly to find solutions in one of the poorest regions of America through the application of practical science. They teach how to preserve forests, protect drinking water sources, how to cook without electricity or gas, how to grow their own food and build a home without visiting a big box store. (My pick for March, JH)

4. Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance: OREPA opposes the nuclear arms race, seeks enforceable treaties abolishing nuclear weapons (the latter is agreeable to numerous retired cabinet secretaries in both Republican and Democratic administrations) and monitors government arms contracts, radiation hazards and facilities such as the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Their newsletter is a must-read. (My pick for April, JH)

5. The Pension Rights Center: The only national civic organization dedicated to reforming pension policies, unfair regulations and protecting and promoting retirement security. They help individual retirees and propose major retirement programs for all Americans. (My pick for May, JH)

6. North American Students of Cooperation: NASCO works to start and expand consumer and housing cooperatives, especially for young people in colleges and universities. NASCO provides “on-the-ground training for over 79 cooperative organizations…. Living in a co-op means learning that cooperation is not only an alternative solution but also a way to empower our local leaders and communities.” NASCO will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Their fortune is bright and promising. (My pick for June, JH)

7. Organization for Competitive Markets: Don’t let the name Organization for Competitive Markets mislead you. OCM is a ferocious, detail-oriented champion of small family farms in our country against giant agribusinesses squeezing farmers from both the supplying and buying their crops. OCM’s newsletter is unyielding in showing how preserving family farms is also good for consumers and the struggle against monopolization from industry giants like Monsanto. (My pick for July, JH)

8. Center for Auto Safety: Without this watchdog group holding accountable the auto industry and its federal regulators, tens of millions of cars would not have been recalled over the past four decades. It has been the guardian angel of American motorists and consumers in other respects as well. (My pick for August, JH)

9. Indian Law Resource Center: Based in Montana, ILRC generates justice and safety for Indigenous Peoples. Under its brilliant executive director, Robert T. Coulter, the Center seems to be everywhere, protecting American Indian and Alaska Native families, fending off the Trump Administration’s move to undermine long-standing trust relationships, keeping indigenous lands in community ownership and supporting sustainable development in Central and South America. (My pick for September, JH)

10. Whirlwind Wheelchair: Whirlwind helps people in less developed countries construct sturdy, inexpensive wheelchairs from local materials, building self-reliance and addressing the critical needs of safe mobility. Founder Ralf Hotchkiss has invented many improvements in wheelchairs for free public application. (My pick for October, JH)

11. The Salvation Army: And, of course, the old reliable Salvation Army—quick to the scene of natural disasters anywhere in the world with hands-on assistance, unbureaucratic and frugal. On a daily basis it helps the poor, the destitute and the hungry. Over 140 years old, with 15,409 congregations in 127 countries, 1,150,666 million members and many thrift stores, the Salvation Army is consistently rated near the top of the most popular charities/non-profits in America. As incorruptible as humans can possibly be. (My pick for November, JH)

I’ve given donations to all these organizations over the years. Consider their selfless work, in the age of Wall Street profit-glutted greed, and support their activities for the New Year.

Like I said, I’m tapped out, but, out of respect for Ralph, I’m designating each of these organizations for a donation each month, starting with Veterans for Peace in January.

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