Change Gangs: Virtual Giving Circles just completed our 3rd quarterly donation of the year. Below I’ll share with you the charities we chose.
But first… All these hurricanes! If you’re like me, your heart is breaking for Puerto Rico right now. It seems we have had a spate of emergencies around the world. Between hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes, there is a lot of need. As you are considering your donations, consider this advice I wrote for Hurricane Harvey. It actually applies to all types of donations you might make to help out in case of a natural disaster: https://changegangs.com/hurricane-harvey-donation-tips/
People For Pets
The Pets Giving Circle had a tie vote. Half our donation went to Island Dogs which is making a dent in the pet overpopulation problem in Puerto Rico by implementing a spay and neuter program and shipping dogs off the island to rescues and adoptive homes in the States. Their spay and neuter program has neutered more than 4,000 dogs and cats since 2007 on the NE coast of Puerto Rico. Many of these animals have their ear marked to indicate they’ve been fixed and then are released back on the streets. They’ve had such success reducing the stray dog population in this area that they expanded and now have a spay and neuter program on the SW coast of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico sustained serious damage in the most recent hurricane, and I’m sure their need has just skyrocketed. I’m so glad we were able to help out in some way.
The other half of the Pets Giving Circle donation went to NoCo Friends of Ferals. They work to address the problem of feral cat overpopulation in Colorado through monthly trap-neuter-return (TNR) clinics. Every month, they trap feral and stray cats, neuter or spay them, vaccinate them, treat them for medical conditions, then either return them to their colonies or place them in foster care if they are adoptable. TNR is evidence-based and is the most efficient and humane way to decrease feral cat numbers and stop the mass euthanasia of these cats in shelters.
Cat colonies are often located in poor and or rural areas. These two 60 something women are traipsing around trailer parks tracking down colonies and cajoling people into helping them. They’ll go into a trailer parks and try to connect with the care takers (people in the area who feed the cats) who can give more information on how many cats are there and where they live. They’ll go 2 or 3 months in a row to get about 80% of the cats. Otherwise, it’s not going to make an impact on the birth rate. So they’ll visit 5 or 6 times and trap 50 or 60 cats. As of July 20, 2016, NCFF has trapped, altered and vaccinated 6297 cats, found homes for 760 kittens and strays.
The Poverty Busters Giving Circle last donated to Give Directly organization in December 2012 shortly after they were founded. At the time they were granting $1,000 (USD) to qualifying households (aka extremely poor in Kenya) over a 1-2 year period. They launched on the basis of several scientific studies that showed that direct transfers of cash was a more efficient and more effective way to provide aid. When cash is provided directly, the charity doesn’t need a large staff or a large variety of programs. Instead the money comes in and goes directly to the people who need it. While there used to be some concern that people who received cash transfers would blow it on alcohol or stop working, the reality is that they used it to increase their earnings, their assets, and their psychological well-being.
They studied their results rigorously and have concluded that not only is it more effective, but it inspired them to create a bold vision for a new model. Give Directly is launching the largest basic income experiment in history in which thousands of recipients will receive enough money to live on for 12 years while they rigorously study the impact.
Basic income is a specific type of cash transfer. In its fullest form, it’s unconditional (recipients don’t have to work or do anything else to be eligible); universal, with all members of society receiving’ enough to cover basic needs; and guaranteed for the recipients’ lifetimes.
Because basic income has never been implemented or even sufficiently tested, there’s a lot we still don’t know. But if it works, basic income could change social protection and aid policies that affect poor people all over the world. According to Give Directly, it would take $80 billion in cash transfers to move everyone above this poverty line, while the world spends almost twice that in global aid every year.
Their basic income experiment will shed light on how cash transfers impact economic status (income, assets, standard of living), time use (work, education, leisure, community involvement), risk-taking (migrating, starting businesses), gender relations (especially female empowerment), and aspirations and outlook on life.
At a minimum, we’ll help some of the poorest families on the planet significantly improve their lives. At best, if their theories are right, we help create an entirely new way to end extreme poverty.
Veterans Giving Circle
The Veterans Giving Circle donated to Team Rubicon which is an international non‐profit disaster response organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy disaster response teams, free of charge to communities affected by disasters across the country. Team Rubicon can work under the direction of a governmental entity or agency (based on requested function) and integrate fully into an existing Incident Command System structure to perform disaster response functions.
Through continued service, Team Rubicon seeks to provide veterans with three things they lose after leaving the military: a purpose, gained through disaster relief; community, built by serving with others; and self-worth, from recognizing the impact one individual can make. Coupled with leadership development and other opportunities, Team Rubicon looks to help veterans transition from military to civilian life. 33,000 veterans have joined as members of Team Rubicon. Of those, 47% reported learning and developing new skills since joining TR; 32% have leveraged the skills learned in TR for current or new employment opportunities; and 87% would help a fellow TR member in need under most circumstances.
In 2016, they responded to 38 national or international disasters. They sent 6 flood water rescue teams and 89 volunteers to Texas when Hurricane Harvey hit and helped rescue 73 people and 43 pets. Team Rubicon will begin mobilizing volunteers to Rockport, TX, where over 1,500 homes sustained damaged from Harvey. Since they have had an influx of volunteer and financial support, they are identifying additional areas of operation and a long-term recovery phase.
In the case of Puerto Rico, they have deployed a recon team and a medical team. They are actively evaluating how they can be of best assistance without adding to the chaos that is currently happening on the ground.