In Invest in Humanity 2016 I introduced my project to “invest” an initial $60,000, by supporting groups/organizations all around the country, with a singular goal: to improve humanity. It’s still going strong, in fact we’ve now given about 75% of the budget—almost $47,000—to 118 different organizations. You can read a bit more and see the current list of organizations and causes we’ve supported at InvestInHumanity2016.com.
Will you join me, and Invest in Humanity, too?
I started this project as an experiment, and with the hope that I could inspire at least a few others to follow me, and invest in humanity along with me. It’s going to take a little bit from a lot of us to make a dent in really improving and furthering humanity. So now I’d like to put out a call to do just that: Will you choose to invest in bettering humanity? I’d love to see people join me at both ends of the scale spectrum:
If you can make one small donation to just one organization which helps/benefits people in other areas or circumstances, every bit helps.
If, however, you have the resources to do something bigger and grander… perhaps even similar to what I’ve been doing, I’d be happy to talk to you about how it’s worked and help you along, or even do much of the work for you. Feel free to reach out to me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With all of your help, we can and we will build a society that is collectively better than any of us could be individually.
This being Thanksgiving Day, I thought I’d share something I’ve been working on for the past few weeks.
Just after the election, I wrote about the initial constructive steps I decided to take to combat the racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, and hate which dominated the 2016 election cycle. Although I initially wrote that post (and on Facebook rather than this blog) and took actions immediately due to my disappointment at the present state of the election, I knew that I wanted to do something bigger. Over the course of a couple of days of thinking it through, I formulated a plan and decided to call it Invest in Humanity 2016.
To that end, I set aside $60,000 (inclusive of my initial donations) to “invest” in causes far and wide which work to advance humanity. However, I also realize that the problems faced by different groups and the challenges known by people of different life experiences are not universal… so I knew I wanted to do something a bit unique to reach people I would not have reached by myself. I recruited several fairly diverse groups of friends (which I called “teams”), with their diverse experiences and gave each team an individual donation budget to manage. Each team has been fully responsible for finding causes they want to support, vetting them, and deciding how to support them and how much support they’d like to give. I’ve taken care of the bookkeeping and of course provided the funds. I’ve provided only very broad guidance rather than any rules or requirements for causes to support.
The teams have been busy! As of right now, we have supported 39 different organizations with a total of $21,850 in donations—but we’re just getting started.
The organizations we’ve supported so far include:
- ACLU Nationwide
- Alliance for Multicultural Community Services
- Amaanah Refugee Services
- American Humanist Association
- Border Network for Human Rights
- Center for Reproductive Rights
- Family Promise of Knoxville
- Food Bank of Northern Nevada
- Gender Diversity
- Girls on the Run
- Houston Food Bank
- International Refugee Assistance Project
- Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)
- Knox Area Rescue Ministries
- Literacy Advance of Houston
- Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
- National Immigrant Justice Center
- National Organization for Women
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Our Center
- Planned Parenthood
- Reno Works c/o Volunteers of America
- Reproductive Health Access Project
- Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- The FAYCO Foundation
- The Love Kitchen
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Reno Initiative for Shelter and Equality
- The Trevor Project
- The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
- Trans LifeLine
- Transgender Allies Group
- Transgender Law Center
- UNR Resettlement and Placement
- YMCA of Greater Houston
I’ve set up a small (and currently very simple) web site related to this effort at InvestInHumanity2016.com. If you’re interested in investing in humanity as well, please reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you. If you represent a charity or other cause (registered or not) and could use our support, please reach out as well!
If you are a regular reader, you might remember Helping fellow man… Kiva and my loan to Shawqat Al Kahwaji, a Palestinian electrician in Gaza.
Recently Shawqat has made two repayments on his loan, and he’s well on his way to having it repaid. Awesome!
While poking around on Kiva, I noticed that there are a bunch of new businesses listed and in need, so I chose a few more to lend to. Here’s what I chose:
- $100 of a $1625 loan to Fana Mihkalova Atansova, a grocer in Sliven, Bulgaria, who will use it to buy a new refrigerator
- $50 of a $800 loan to Mom Prak, a mototaxi driver in Dangkar District, Cambodia, who will use it to convert his mototaxi into a “tuk tuk”, a form of autorickshaw
- $50 of a $650 loan to Kurte Kristof, a musician in Sliven, Bulgaria, who will use it to produce a CD (hopefully I can buy a copy!)
Please join me in saying good luck to these businesses on the other side of the world!
A few months ago, I found out about a non-profit called Kiva that allows basically random strangers via the Internet to lend money to businesses and individuals in third-world countries. Kiva relies on donations to cover their administrative costs, so every dollar you give them goes to the business you are funding. They do not pay interest, so there are no capital gains to be had. When I found Kiva, they had just gotten quite a bit of press, so they had no more businesses in need of funding available on their site. I signed up for their newsletter and updates and have been checking back with them fairly often since then.
In the past month, they have signed up with a few new partners in new countries in order to increase their reach. This morning, they sent out an email announcing that they had listed a number of new businesses on their site… and luckily I got to it pretty quickly. They raised an incredible amount of money in only a few hours, and now they have no more businesses in need once again.
I managed to get in before all the businesses were funded, so I’ve now funded $150 of a $500 loan to Shawqat Al Kahwaji, a Palestinian electrician in Gaza. I’m excited to read about his progress over the coming months. Good luck, Shawqat!
Kiva rocks. You can make a difference in the world, you can help a fellow man get his business and his life off the ground and feed his family and help his community.
If you’re interested in being a part of this awesome new idea, go read about the existing businesses, sign up, and wait for new businesses to be listed (and act quickly once they are!).