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Thursday, December 29, 2005

year end charity giving

It's the last week of December, the week that I normally splurge on last minute charity giving so that I can have a bigger tax deduction, uh, I mean help needy people.

I generally give to two types of charity. First, charities that give a hand up, not a hand out, to the poorest of the poor in the Third World. Second, freedom-oriented charities in the U.S. This year, I made an exception and also contributed to Mercy Corps right after hurricane Katrina.

So far, in the first category, I've given to Fistula Foundation, Smile Train, and Lifewater. What I like about each is that they give a special, one time type of aid that will not lead to dependency. Fistula Foundation runs a hospital in Ethiopia that performs surgery on women who have suffered fistulas during childbirth. A fistula is basically a tearing that leaves a hole between the rectum and vagina wide open. It's a gruesome, life devastating injury for a poor woman in the Third World and the surgery needed is simple and effective. The surgery literally puts women back on their feet.

Smile Train are two more "back on their feet" charity. The former funds surgeries to repair cleft palates in children and the latter funds new water wells for villages.

In the second category, so far I've only given money to Antiwar.com. Antiwar.com provides a vital service with daily commentary and news aggregation on the most important issue facing freedom lovers: war.

I'm pretty depressed about the state of freedom in America today and I wish there were other libertarian charities in the U.S. that I could support. I've given to many others in the past, but none seem worthy this year. I truly believe that war is the most important issue confronting us and I wish there was more I could do about it.

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