My wife and I don’t buy Christmas gifts for each other.

It’s neither right nor wrong, but each of us would rather hold the other’s hand, spend time together doing something interesting, rather than purchasing gifts.

We have everything we need, and more than a few things we don’t.

If you’re in the same boat, but you want to participate in the gift of giving, my friend Peter Cuthbert and his middle school students have compiled a list of charitable foundations that can benefit from your extra change.

The first thing, of course, is to check the legitimacy of any charitable group you’re donating to.  You can do that at the following sites:

Next, it’s important to note what kinds of administrative costs are associated with the organization.  Generally speaking, charities are like mutual fund companies: the lower the expenses, the greater the return for the recipients (or investors).

And to throw in my personal bias, there’s also the importance of choosing a charity that empowers people to sustain themselves.  When giving things, whether it’s money or otherwise, I think there’s always a risk of weakening the recipients…making them dependent.

Here’s the list of charities compiled by Peter and his class.  If you donate or have experience with any of these organizations, please let me know, via the comments. 

Also, if you have a great charity to add to the list, we’d all like to hear about it.

Merry Christmas!



The idea…

Why is it positive?



Gives people who can’t get loans from a bank (because they have no credit) a chance to start a small business (Mr. C)

Tabitha – Singapore

Give a family 3 piglets. Rural families can breed the pigs and sell or use for food (Mr. C)


Books for Third World

Donate books through mail for people in South Africa. Although its not an online thing like Kiva, you can still mail it to the address in the tab “The Need for Books People in South Africa can have a good education. (Michelle)

Amputee Coalition of America

Poor people who don’t have enough money to buy a fake mechanical leg need us to donate some money to the following mailboxes in the United States.Then people can walk regularly, and not have to depend on others or use a stick and walk, etc. (Michelle)

Heifer International

Gift an animal to a poor family in the developing world. Once the animal bears offspring, the recipient family then gifts the offspring and on and on the cycle goes.

Free Wheelchair Mission

Provide someone with a gift that provides them the dignity to literally get off the ground. Gift a wheelchair to someone in the developing world for only $59.20.

Heifer International

Addresses the need of millions of improvised families around the world. Heifter International works in the areas of livestock and agriculture to develop programs that alleviate hunger and poverty.

Save The Whales

Makes the ocean a better place for Whales. They also have rescue missions for whales who have washed up on shorelines. (Anna)


Acres stops illegal pet trade in Singapore and stops animal cruelty. (Anna)

Freeschools World Literacy

Education Gift Certificates from Freeschools World Literacy Gift Certificates. Donate S$22 or US$15 to send a child in Bihar, India to a FreeSchool for one year

The Girl Effect

Girls get only two cents of every aid dollar! And yet the positive impact of educating girls in poor countries is massive. Help girls help themselves.

The Hunger Site/Greater Good

Every day you can click on the Hunger Site and the other sites on the tabs across the page. Clicking on them does good things like provide food to the hungry, mammograms for poor women, books for children w/o books, purchases rainforest land to keep it rainforest or feeds animals in shelters. Then, if you shop at any of those sites, the $ goes towards the same causes. Many of the products are fair trade.

Oxfam America

When you give an Oxfam gift, you support efforts to provide lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. There are a range of gifts from manure to books but what ever you pick, your donation makes to the lives of people around the world.

Free Rice!

This website allows you to answer questions from a subject of your choice. Every question you answer correctly, the website donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme. It tries to end world hunger. (Ye Jin)

Sponsor a Child

Many orphaned and abandoned children in this world have no one to look after them. Through the support of sponsors, the SOS Children’s Villages provide these children by giving them a home and a family. This will make the world a happier place for them by providing a long term solution to their dilemma. (Ye Jin)


This is also a loaning NGO that sponsors kids and it helps them get an education. this organization is targeting any range of ages and makes a great gift to help young adults achieve a education so that they may earn a living. You can see a video of the person you are donating to by simply clicking the ‘watch video’ icon next to it.

Blue Dragon

This is an small but very active organisation, based in Hanoi, that works to help street kids and kids that have been forced into exploitative factory work. They have a great website and blog. Check them out and donate to their Christmas appeal.

Christina Noble Childrens Foundation- Child sponsorship or build a Geer.

Operates in Vietnam providing shelter for street children, healthcare and schooling for urban migrants. Provides waterpumps and village schools to rural communities. CNCF operates a school for the visually impaired, teaching life skills to children and adults born with congenital visual impairment following the use of agent orange during the Vietnam war.
In Mongolia, CNCF runs a Geer Village for street children and also provides Geers for families at risk. It’s outreach program, provide hot meals and warm clothing for Ulaanbaatar’s ‘sewer-children’.

Smile Train

Provides reconstructive surgery for children with cleft lip and cleft palates.

Jacaranda Foundation

Sponsor one of our orphaned students. $15 a month (tax-deductible in the U.S.) allows him or her to stay in school, graduate from Jacaranda primary school and Jacaranda secondary school. The children will then be able to go to college and find qualified employment in Malawi

Charity Navigator

An organization that monitors Charities’ spending – type in your favourite charity to see if they are using your donations wisely!

Crossroads Global Distribution

Crossroads Global Distribution is a non-profit corporation which takes Hong Kong’s quality superseded goods and redistributes them to people in need, locally and internationally. We seek to be a crossroads; a place where need and resource intersect.

Supply individuals and families with access to clean water for life.