“Resist impulse decisions to donate.” That’s one of the pithy bits of advice on charitable giving that the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) sends out along with a list of the worst charities in order to keep the generously inclined from getting scammed. EW begs to differ: Impulse donations are awesome. Then again we are the kind of folks who pull over at a green light to give dollars to the people holding signs that say “made some bad decisions” or who have cute dogs with them. But it’s all in whom you give to.
If you want to make some last minute donations — as gifts, as tax deductions or on impulse because it’s a good cause — we’re here to give you some suggestions that are local groups who will put your hard-earned cash to good use and good deeds. The online guide to charities, Guide Star (guidestar.org) lists more than 1,700 nonprofits in Eugene alone. Not all the groups in this guide are tax deductible — check on Guide Star or the Oregon DOJ’s charity database (wkly.ws/1ei) if you want that write-off — but all are worth the money.
When budget cuts hit, it seems like the arts are always first on the chopping block and that’s just plain wrong. When we asked around town for suggestions for what groups to give to, MECCA (Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts, materials-exchange.org) came up repeatedly. MECCA, a recycled art supply store, keeps “junk” out of the waste stream and helps you turn it into art, and it offers workshops to help you in your artistic assemblage.
Gertie the Bookmobile (bookstothepeople.org) recently earned nonprofit status, so making donations to keep Lane County in free (to the homeless and seniors) and inexpensive books is now tax deductible.
Give money to Eugene Storefront Art Project (ESAP, eugenestorefrontartproject.org) or become a member for as little as $15; it will give you the chance to help beautify the now-dwindling empty downtown storefronts and that brings benefits to everyone.
Give the gift of clean air, clean water and clean living. Spunky little Beyond Toxics (beyondtoxics.org, 465-8860) fights for social justice, clean air and getting poisonous chemicals out of our lives and our children’s bodies.
Oregon Clean Water Action Project works with Willamette Riverkeeper to monitor our waterways and keep our creeks, streams and rivers clean. Keep an eye on our news section for periodic pollution updates from OCWAP and tax-deductibly donate at www.oregoncleanwater.org
Eat local! Willamette Farm and Food Coalition (www.lanefood.org) helps farmers using all that clean local land and water to support the development of a secure and sustainable food system in Lane County.
Lumber costs money, but trees that are vertical are priceless. Cascadia Wildlands saves forests, birds, wolves and other wild things, and lately, along with Beyond Toxics, has begun work to fight the polluting coal trains that are aimed toward Eugene. Visit www.cascwild.org or call 434-1463 to donate, volunteer or for more information. And if you want to save wolves, along with coyotes, cougars and other predators, then feed the beast by giving to Predator Defense (www.predatordefense.org or 937-4261).
Save Parvin Butte is the effort to stop the scenic Dexter-area butte from being razed into a small pile of rubble. It’s a great example of a small group of people teaming up to fight big business for the sake of small towns and wildlife, saveparvinbutte.org
A local group with international effects, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), wins victories around the world for clean air, clean water and a healthy environment. Looking for global impact? Your gift will empower grassroots leaders in more than 70 countries to build a sustainable, just future. Call 687-8454 or visitelaw.org to donate, volunteer or join the ELAW Host Family Program.
The Cascadia Forest Defenders (forestdefensenow.com) aren’t a tax write-off either, but you can’t put a price on their efforts to protect Oregon’s forests. Besides, where would EW be if we didn’t have tree sitters, sawmill protesters and tar sands blockaders to write articles about? Speaking of news …
Save the Journalists
The Register-Guard’s news staff is disappearing at an alarming rate, and even though they might sometimes disdain our sassy little red boxes, we love the R-G (and love to snark them, too) for their locally owned and operated daily news coverage. Support local news: Subscribe to the R-G on paper, or if you read it online (registerguard.com) send some money to show them that you value local news. Businesses can help schoolkids read the paper and support the R-G’s Newspaper in Education program at wkly.ws/1eh
KLCC (klcc.org) wakes us up with the dulcet tones of reporters like Rachael McDonald, and listening to Eric Alan’s soothing voice and eclectic musical choices entertains us as we work and drive. Send them some love to support local programming, even if it’s not radiothon time and you don’t get a tote bag. The pledge line is (800) 922-3682.
Save the Other Beasts
One of the best ways to save a puppy or kitten is by preventing future unwanted beasties. Willamette Animal Guild (wagwag.org or 345-3566) provides low-cost spay/neuter services, as does the City of Eugene Spay and Neuter Clinic (wkly.ws/2f or 682-3643), which also offers shots, deworming and discount microchipping.
West Coast Dog and Cat Rescue (westcoastdogandcat.org or 225-4955) steps up to find homes for abused, handicapped, neglected, abandoned or aged pets, no matter how long it takes. Overburdened and also in need of help, Greenhill Humane Society (www.green-hill.org or 689-1503) and First Avenue Shelter (wkly.ws/1ej) couldn’t survive without groups like WCDC.
Luv-A-Bull (luvabullpitbullrescue.com) has a been helping Lane County’s good-natured pit bulls find homes and shed their bad-dog reputations with its lovely sanctuary filled with happy pitties in pink tutus and cute dog coats. The group also kicked off the area’s efforts to save tiny Los Angeles pups from doggie-death row. Wiggly Tails (wkly.ws/1ek) is one of those groups focusing on small dogs (usually under 15 pounds) from high kill shelters in LA; the group also takes in locally surrendered dogs and is in need of more foster homes.
It’s not just dogs and cats that need rescue; Red Barn Rabbit Rescue (redbarnrabbitrescue.org) in Creswell saves and rehomes bunnies in need (insert bunny-hugger joke here) and a lot of our local ponies get saved and find new homes through the tireless efforts of Strawberry Mountain Rescue and Rehab Center (strawberrymountainmustangs.com) north of Roseburg.
Homeless and Human Rights
Someone needs to defend penniless nonprofits, and Civil Liberties Defense Center (cldc.org or 687-9180) gives support not only to local groups and protesters but also to the everyday person whose rights have been trampled and can’t otherwise afford an attorney.
The Egan Warming Center (eganwarmingcenter.com or 689-6747), administered by St. Vincent de Paul, has been working to keep the homeless from freezing to death on the streets of Eugene as its namesake, veteran Thomas Egan, did in 2008. Give a warm sleeping bag, cash or a couple nights helping out to keep folks from freezing on these cold nights.
Eugene SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep, eugenesleeps.org) got off to a rousing start with a protest at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza. Support this Occupy Eugene offshoot with a donation or by getting involved with the effort to help the homeless have somewhere to sleep safely.
Give to good causes and to all a good night …