The end of the year is here, but it's not too late to consider a last-minute, tax-deductible donation to a worthy organization. One of our favorites is Heifer International, a nonprofit group that provides those in need with sustainable sources of food and income.
By giving to Heifer, you can help build long-term solutions to the problem of world hunger. Founded in 1944, the organization was born when Dan West, an American relief worker during the Spanish Civil War, realized the milk rations he was distributing to hungry children wouldn't be enough. As a farmer, it occurred to him that providing the families with their own heifers would both end their hunger more effectively and give them a sense of empowerment. He was right: Heifer has been going strong for over 60 years, assisting 8.5 million people in more than 125 countries.
At www.heifer.org, you'll find many ways to give:
- The gift catalog has an array of animals and other items from which to choose, including goats, llamas, knitting supplies and more. You can purchase a whole animal, or a share of one for as little as $10.
- Event Registries work the same way as a wedding or baby registry. Well-wishers can contribute to a selected gift in honor of the occasion.
- Friends of Heifer give a predetermined amount once a month.
- Team Heifer assists you in organizing your own fundraising event, such as a bake sale, relay or bazaar (they have a whole list of event ideas). You can even create your own event Web page on the Heifer site.
- The Employee Matching Gift Program partners with employers who are willing to match the amount of gifts given by their employees. Check with yours to see if they are willing to participate.
Heifer also has entered the realm of microlending — they provide 'start-up capital' in the form of farm animals, small cash loans to purchase equipment or supplies and training to help borrowers become entrepreneurs. (Read more about microlending and its amazing success in our report on Kiva.org.)