You know you want to save the world. You have a heart the size of our great State o’ Maine and finite finances. Where, oh, where to begin?
The good news is that there are some terrific resources out there to help you make good decisions that suit your priorities. Before your good intentions grind to a confused halt, take a look at some of these websites.
Where to start? A really terrific site to check out is Philanthropedia, Guide to Better Giving. It is a great tool to help you focus and to understand various strategies for giving. It answers questions you may not know you have!
Sometimes you have a good idea of who you’d like to give to, but you’d like some reliable nuts-and-bolts rating information* about how they use your hard-earned donated dollars.
* Keep in mind that different sites will use different grading scales when rating nonprofits, as outlined in this TEDTalk. This one is well worth a few minutes viewing time. It presents an interesting view of nonprofits’ spending strategies.
These sites can also provide some focus when you know you want your donation to go toward a particular area of need, but need to find an organization that is a good fit.
It isn’t easy to know who to trust when unsolicited pleas for donations come your way. It might be a phone call, an email, something in your mailbox, or someone at your door. The Federal Trade Commission has a few things to say on the subject.
And let’s not forget that when we indulge our urge to be generous, we do so with the blessing of the US Tax Code. Here are some tips from the IRS. Charitable giving can really pay off !
There are so many ways to make a difference. Finding what works for you can feel overwhelming. When opening your wallet seems like the best option, these resources may serve as guides. And, let’s just say it: there is nothing like the good feeling you get when you use your head to put your money where your heart is.
Happy Giving! Eileen of the Business and Government Team.
In contrast, the following video from the Greater Good Science Center suggests that developing “cross-group relationships” is great for our health and well-being!
One of the best ways to develop more relationships and relationships with people different from us is by participating in public conversations… and we have some great invitations for you! All programs are free and open to the public.
1) On November 6th we continue a series offered in collaboration with the Maine Humanities Council on “Creating the Communities We Wish For.” These small group, neighborhood conversations feature a great facilitator (Dr. Anna Bartel), a great poem, and fabulous conversation. REGISTER HERE
· November 6th at the YMCA in Portland, 11:30am – 1:00pm
· November 20th here at the Main Branch, 11:30am – 1:00pm
· December 18th at Riverton, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
2) On November 6th we also begin our film series, in collaboration with Maine Humanities Council, entitled “Muslim Journeys.” This series is part of a national project and will include discussion facilitated by Reza Jalali. The series includes films on November 13th and 20th – all begin at 6:30pm.
3) On November 25th we offer the second of our Portland Public Conversations, in collaboration with Lift360 (formerly the Institute for Civic Leadership) – this one will focus on “Participating in Portland” and will include a resource fair – if you have a project that engages volunteers or civic participation and you’d like to share information about it, please be in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org . All are encouraged to come reflect on the value of engagement and the challenges associated with participating in our communities – November 25th 7:30am coffee/ 8:00am program start. Our final date in the series is December 9th and will focus on “Picturing Portland” – a visioning session for 2015 and beyond!
That there is significant income and wealth inequality in the United States is largely undisputed. The Census Bureau reports on the federal data and the Portland Press Herald reported earlier this month on poverty rates in Maine. Yet, much about why we have growing inequality, what it really means, and what to do about it are extremely contested issues in our communities and policy debates. Earlier this year, economist Thomas Piketty opened up conversations about the distribution of wealth and made specific recommendations for redistribution. The Choose Civility Initiative and City of Reader’s Team held a community discussion on his book, as it was an unusually “hot” non-fiction title. The Rines auditorium filled– and from that evening came a request to screen and discuss Rober Reich’s film Inequality for All.
On October 29th, in partnership with the League of Women Voters, Portland, the Maine Center for Economic Policy and the USM Economics Department, we will watch and discuss this movie — we hope all will feel welcome to join us for respectful and challenging discourse about this complex topic that shapes all our lives.
What income do you think qualifies as “poverty”? How well do our poverty guidelines capture the edge between poverty and financial security? What role does the Government play in providing a safety net or incentives for higher wages? What other questions do you ask about income and wealth inequality in our Country? Submit them through comments!
2014 Federal Poverty Guidelines
Federally facilitated marketplaces will use the 2014 guidelines to determine eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP (this is effective February 10, 2014).
- See more at: http://familiesusa.org/product/federal-poverty-guidelines#sthash.rUyD1z6p.dpuf